Monday, January 30, 2006

Dion the pundit darling

If the next Liberal leader was going to be selected by newspaper columnists Stephane Dion would be looking like a frontrunner. Unfortunately, newspaper columnists tend not to be Liberal Party members, and therefore don't have a vote.

But if the pundit class has any influence on the masses (and that's debatable) then it could prove telling. I do think pundits have some influence with political party members, particularly the ones who would be active volunters on a leadership campaign. Dion, who is said to be mulling-over entering the race, has been encouraged to throw his chapeau in the ring by the likes of Paul Wells, Andrew Coyne, Colby Cosh and even, in a roundabout way, Rex Murphy.

And you can now add Toronto Star columnist Chantal Hebert to the list. In an excellent column today that echoes a lot of what I feel about the Chretien vs. Martin and Lapierre approaches to Quebec and the utter failure of the latter, Hebert wonders if Dion may not be the tonic to cure what ails the Liberals in Quebec. As I blogged last week, she also sees sees Quebec as the place the next government will be decided.

Chantal Hebert

"If the Liberals are to move them past those episodes, they may have to look beyond Cauchon, perhaps to the brainy Stéphane Dion, to help them get there.
If this is to be a Liberal year when talking heads matter more than political animals, a rare time when participating in the race could be as important as winning it, Dion would be a good fit for this campaign."

Paul Wells

"Many will protest that Dion is unpopular in Quebec. These will include prominent former supporters of Paul Martin, who was polling lower in Quebec than Don Cherry by the time he was done. Many will protest that Dion is awkward and geeky. Excellent point; we've just come through a campaign that proved only matinée idols win, after all.
Some will protest that Coyne and Cosh aren't Liberals and they don't know what's good for Liberals. Hands up, everyone who thinks the Liberals have spent the past three years showing they know what's good for Liberals."

Andrew Coyne

"There are a number of interesting names being tossed about, any one of whom would potentially make a fine leader, and it should be interesting to see how they stand up under the rigours of the campaign. But I certainly want him to run."

Colby Cosh

"He is Stephane Dion, and--why, look! He's a bilingual Quebecker! I wouldn't dream of proposing him as a leading candidate for the Liberal succession, but editors and columnists might find it unexpectedly rewarding if they decided to, say, take him 20% as seriously as Michael bleedin' Ignatieff."

Rex Murphy

"Stéphane Dion, the most underutilized talent in the Liberal Party, was superb on election night, as he almost always is. The Liberals should do a lot more than they appear to do to hold on to Stéphane Dion."

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Tarkwell Robotico said...

Dion is an unashamed propagandist for the Kyoto Krowd who'd rather host international summits than advance the cause of environmental stewardship by a single foot.

Please pick him. I'll be happy to pick him apart.

Note to Paul Wells: I've met Harper. I've met Dion. Dion is NO Stephen Harper.


Edward Hollett said...

Dion-a-mania grows.

It will be really interesting to see what happens.

Jeff said...

I've met Harper. I've met Dion. Dion is NO Stephen Harper.

Well, praise the good lord for that mon ami!

Arnone and Co. said...

Excellent post BCer in TO. We have added your link to our blog,

Dion might become our 5th candidate for the Next Face of the Liberal party of Canada after McKenna, Ignatieff, Tobin and Dryden.

There seems to be enough momentum behind Dion and he could be a star on the rise.

Anonymous said...

Dion is an unashamed propagandist for the Kyoto Krowd who'd rather host international summits than advance the cause of environmental stewardship by a single foot.


Dumbest lie ever told. Ask anyone actually working towards environmental stewardship about Dion. He is very well respected.

Jeff said...

I don't really follow environmental issues, but my reading from a political POV is that Dion wanted to do more but was constrained by a PM that while, wanting to pay lip service to Kyoto, didn't want to piss off the Alberta oil crowd.

Simon said...

Stephane Dion is a smart and principled man. A good professor, with a huge ego, and a very bad temper. He is indelibly linked to Jean Chretien's centralist and confrontational government. He goes on and on about separatists, and has issued countless apocalyptic warnings about the aftermath of a YES vote. For all of the above reasons he is much disliked by most French-speaking Quebecers. I'm not surprised all those conservative-leaning MSM stars are pushing Dion's candidacy.
He would be a disaster for the Liberal Party, and probably Canada too. As would the choice of Ignatieff, for exactly the same reasons.

Tarkwell Robotico said...


want a lie?

asking Joe Public to "trust" the opinions of environmental lobbyists/activists.

that's a lie that we don't swallow anymore.

give us some action. give us some progress.

then you can wag your finger at me all you like.