With discussion of Stephane Dion as a possible Liberal leadership candidate seeming to explode across the blogsphere Wednesday I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of his writings over the years to get more of a sense of the man.
The portrait that emerges is one of a man who combines passion with reason and substance, one who welcomes the cut and thrust of debate and won't stand for intellectual dishonesty.
During his nearly eight years as Jean Chretien's Intergovernmental Affairs Minister, Dion was quite the prolific letter writer. The most well known were his vigorous back and forth with Bernard Landy and Lucien Bouchard passionately and unapologetically making a strong case for Canada and giving no quarter to separtist lies, deceit and half-truths. There were also some very interesting points on the mythical fiscal imbalance, a topic I'll no doubt tackle in more depth as Stephen Harper takes-on his new job as headwaiter to the provinces.
The full list of his open letters while Minister are online here, but I've linked to a few of the ones that stood-out to me below. You might want to get them off the web site before it's purged by the incoming administration.
- August 11, 1997: Letter to Premier Lucien Bouchard concerning his position on a unilateral declaration of independence
The letter that started it all. Paul Wells recently briefly touched on its impetus in this column (scroll down to the second to last paragraph). Finally, the federalist camp stopped pussyfooting around with the separtists and combined passion with much needed logic and a dose of the facts.
- November 19, 1997: Letter to Mr. Jacques Brassard in response to his Ministerial statement on the territorial integrity of Quebec
At last the previously verbotten question is brought into the sovereignty debate: If Canada is divisible, is not Quebec? When Gilles Duceppe answered this question with an emphatic Non during the recent Montreal debates and none of the leaders on stage challenged him I wanted to scream.
- August 25, 1998: Letter to Premier Lucien Bouchard on the need to respect the Supreme Court's decision in its entirety
Dion reminds Bouchard he can't pick the parts of the Supreme Court decision on the legality of a unilateral secession he likes and ignore the parts he doesn't. Hmm, just paying attention to the parts of a report you like and ignoring the parts you don't, sound familiar at all?
Before it was called the fiscal imbalance the debate was over equalization, and here Dion soundly smacks this load of crap down. I wish someone on the national scene during this campaign had the moxie to do the same.
- April 6, 2001: Some reflections on the concept of Nation
Tackling the issue of is Quebec a nation, what does nation mean, and what does that mean for Quebec within Canada.
- October 11, 2002: An artificial consensus
A few years later they're calling it the fiscal imbalance, and Dion eloquently and methodically explains why it's simply hooey.
Once again cutting the myth of the fiscal imbalance to shreds.
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