Friday, August 18, 2006

Beers with Stephane

I dashed downtown after work yesterday to attend an informal youth get-together (being still young at heart, if not in hair) with Stephane Dion. It was good to have the chance to meet him formally and in person, and to ask him a few questions in a more informal setting. Thanks to the youth team for making me welcome.

I’d say 40 or so people stopped by the pub over two hours, pretty good for very short notice. It was a good mix of supporters, those committed to other candidates and the undecided. Jason was there, and it was nice to meet fellow bloggers Justin Tetreault and John "The Experience" Lennard in person.

He covered a range of topics during an informal q&a period before we got up to mix and mingle. I thought he handled himself well, including fielding some tough questions from some of the more skeptical people in the room. They might not all have agreed with him, but I think they respected his depth of thinking on the issues, and his honesty.

For the record, Stephane made clear there was no deal with David Orchard. He said David asked for nothing, and if he had asked Stephane would have said no. They share some common ideas about environmental policy, c’est tout. David, like many Canadians, sees the qualities in Stephane to be a great leader, and more people are joining the team every day.

Anyway, many topics were covered, but as a Westerner I was particularly pleased with his answer on the softwood lumber file. In a nutshell, he said it’s a bad deal, and we shouldn’t support a bad deal. If the industry says they really need the deal, and they’re willing to forego the $1 billion, than we should accept their judgment, hold our noses and pass it. But he said if the industry is firmly against it then we have to vote no, whether Harper wants to make it a confidence vote or not. He said while hopefully we can avoid an election, if the industry isn’t onboard he’ll vote no.

I’m sure softwood will be a big topic at the upcoming Liberal caucus meetings at widely disclosed locations in Vancouver, but more on that later.


Lest I be considered a cheerleader, here are links to very hard-hitting pieces on Stephane’s dog Kyoto from Bowie and Stephane’s knapsack from Maclean’s.

*Fox News definition, not dictionary definition

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Sinestra said...

That photo of M. Dion and Kyoto is just adorable. Makes me want to hug them!

Why is Kyoto not running for leader?

Anonymous said...

I like the photo too. It shows a warm and fuzzy side. Nothing wrong with a politician having sentiment and feeling, eh? Love the name of the dog too.

Harper needs a dog to lighten him up. His personality would match a pit-bull.