I agree with and support the decision of Stephane Dion to stay on as Liberal leader through the leadership race and convention in May. Having an experienced, steady hand at the helm while the campaign is on is a good thing, and I look forward to Watching Stephane, Gerard Kennedy, and the rest of the new Liberal shadow cabinet take on the Conservatives in the House beginning next week.
It seems, though, at least so far, that leadership is beginning to overshadow all else. The party, and Stephane, have been very low profile of late, and that, I feel, is an unfortunate mistake.
For example, we know what the BQ want from the upcoming throne speech:
The Bloc Québécois is prepared to vote against the Conservative government's throne speech next week if it doesn't address key issues such as helping workers and reversing government cuts in funding to arts groups and non-profit economic development groups.
However, Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe said he was also prepared to negotiate with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority government, pointing out that the Bloc had been successful in the past in obtaining changes to throne speeches in exchange for its support.
"Two visions are confronting each other," he said. "The Conservatives got the majority in Canada, but the Bloc Québécois got the majority in Quebec. Stephen Harper should therefore respect the democratic choice of Quebecers by showing openness, making compromises and respecting the values and interests of Quebec."
And we know what the NDP wants from the throne speech:
NDP leader Jack Layton emerged from a late-afternoon discussion Wednesday with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to say he will be looking for help for the hard-hit sectors of the Canadian economy in next week's Throne Speech.But what about the Liberals? What do we want to be in the throne speech? What's the price for our potential support? Or will we vote now out of principal as the official opposition, and leave it to the NDP or BQ to prop them up (my preferred strategy)?
"When it comes to showing some sign in the general language of the Speech from the Throne that the government is going to pay attention to some of these key strategic sectors, that's vital," Mr. Layton said after his first face-to-face discussion with Mr. Harper since last month's election.
"It's manufacturing, it's auto, it's forestry. And it's the people who have been thrown out of work."
I had to go back nearly two weeks to find comments about “no more free rides” for the Conservatives and a call for sped-up infrastructure spending. Nothing specific, however on the throne speech.
We can't afford to allow leadership preoccupation to let us disappear from the national debate. We need to be active, visible and vocal in and out of the House advocating for the issues and the ideas that we campaigned on. Letting the NDP and BQ hog the opposition limelight would be a serious mistake. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers