Well, it's super-duper delegate selection weekend. The excitement is, well…it's super weekend. It will be interesting, anyway, and at least brings us one step closer to the end of this marathon process, when we can finally reunite as Liberals and focus once more on taking down the Conservatives.
As people will be going to the polls this weekend, or their mailboxes, I felt it was appropriate to re-run my endorsement post of Stephane Dion that I wrote back in May, just after the LPC(O) convention, when I decided to give him my support.
Over the four months since (seems like so much longer) my reasons and convictions for supporting him haven't changed; if anything, they have only been strengthened as I have watched his impressive performance on the campaign trail and learned more about his policy propoals. I believe now, more than ever, that he's the right person to unite the Liberal Party and lead us to victory against Stephen Harper, Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton.
Also, he's a dog man. I know Harper's a cat fancier and that's fine, I guess. But isn't it time we had a dog running around 24 Sussex again? And look how cute the puppy is!
I wish a fine super weekend to all, and I wish good luck to all the candidates and their campaigns. No matter whom you support, I hope all Liberals will come out and make their voices heard.
P.S. I still don't have a button. :)
BCer's pick: Stephane Dion
After a lot of careful thought and consideration of all the candidates, their pros and cons and the political landscape I’ve finally made my decision: I think Stephane Dion is the right person to be the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
This wasn’t an easy decision, as it is such a quality field of candidates.
I’ve liked Stephane for a while, and I think I was one of the earlier people in blogland to float his name as someone who should run.
He wasn’t seen as a serious candidate at that point and I’m glad to see that has changed, and in a big way. When I went to his hospitality suite Saturday night ready to put on a Dion button the room was packed and they were out of buttons, they’d been surprised by the demand. MP Bryan Wilfert was able to find me a sticker; hopefully I can find a button soon.
In January when I floated his name the only reservations I had about Stephane were these: does he have the “royal jelly” to inspire and excite, and can he make the transition from loyal lieutenant to leader. Watching his performance over the past few weeks, and this weekend, I can now say the answer to both questions is a definite yes.
You could see him change during his speech Friday night. He started off a bit nervously, the English a bit awkward, but as he got going you could see the passion building as he talked about the need to add a third pillar, environmental sustainability, to the Liberal pillars of social justice and fiscal management and the audience buying-in to that vision.
Stephane is committed to the party, and wasn’t part of any of the Chretien/Martin feuding. He was a loyal minister for Jean Chretien, tackling the difficult unity file, taking on the separatists and steering through the Clarity Act. When called on by Paul Martin he worked hard to help salvage Liberal fortunes in Quebec in 2004, and did a great job in the environmental portfolio. He's succeeded in every file he's been given, and I think now he's ready to get the filing cabinet.
What about Quebec?
The big question people seem to have about Stephane is can he win in Quebec? Don't they hate him there because of the Clarity Act stuff? I think he can be successful for us in Quebec. I'm not a Quebec expert, but here's my theory.
Do some people not like him in Quebec? Sure. It's the same people that didn't like Jean Chretien. It's the soft-nationalist/separatist elite, and I don't see them voting Liberal anyway. Paul Martin and Jean Lapierre tried to go after that vote and it didn't work; recognizing that in the 2004 campaign they called in Dion to shore-up our federalist base.
We're never going to sweep Quebec. The BQ isn't going anywhere; the Tories are back and aren't leaving either. But they're both going after the same soft nationalist piece of the pie. Let them fight over it, because we can have the federalist piece of the pie for ourselves. Let's be that strong federalist voice again, that passionate defender of Quebec's proud place in a strong and united Canada, that unapologetic defender of Canada. And who better to do it than the champion of plan b, the guy that stood toe to toe with the separatists and wouldn't blink?
The right person at the right time
I think Stephane Dion is the leader the Liberal Party needs right now. He's unscathed by the party infighting and any ethical issues and has always been there when needed, he has experience in government on both domestic and international files and his intelligence and honesty would be a breath of fresh air. He refuses to back down in a debate, but he does it not with confrontation and smears, but with intellect and wit. I'd love to see him wipe the floor with Stephan Harper in a debate, and you could charge admission to see him joust with Gilles Duceppe.
Also, I think his message of adding a third pillar, environmental sustainability, to the Liberal pillars of social justice and fiscal management really resonates with Canadians. The environment is going to be THE issue for the 21st Century. It also brings our party back to the Centre/Left, where I'm more comfortable and where, as I've blogged in the past, I think we need to be.
For these reasons and more, I'll be supporting Stephane Dion for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada.
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