Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Globe on Dion: The most courageous Canadian politician of his generation

In an editorial this morning the Globe and Mail sizes up the Liberal leadership field and endorses Stephane Dion.

You can read the full editorial here, but I’d like to share a few excerpts:

On Ignatieff and the nation

…barely more than a year after he arrived on the political scene, Mr. Ignatieff was right in the thick of things, helping to incite a divisive debate over whether Quebec is a "nation." He said he had little choice in the matter, that he was simply responding to a desire from some federalists in Quebec. That is an inadequate explanation. Leaders are expected to shape the agenda, not be prisoners of it.

His ruminations on "officializing" special recognition for Quebec did more than change the dynamic of the Liberal leadership race. Without the lifeline thrown by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday, they threatened to damage the Liberal Party and the country. While Mr. Ignatieff is an impressive individual, this is hardly the stuff of impressive leadership.

On Kennedy, the one for next time

He has infused the campaign with badly needed energy…However, it is difficult to overlook his struggle with the French language, and a sometimes superficial grasp of important issues. His woefully poor showing in Quebec is a serious, perhaps fatal, flaw. Still, this race has served him well. He is a man to watch, but not this time.

On Rae, whom they seem to really like

Because of Mr. Ignatieff's controversial musings on the nation debate, the Lebanon crisis and, allied with that, the allegation of a war crime, Mr. Rae's campaign was transformed. His deportment up to then had left some wondering whether a fire still burns in his belly, but Mr. Ignatieff's stumbles galvanized Mr. Rae. His experience leading a government, and his ability to answer a question without incident, suddenly became an asset…A Rae-Harper contest would provide stark choices and great political theatre.

On Stephane, and why he’s the man

He withstood the basest personal attacks, and, in battle, never flinched. In fact, he is arguably the most courageous Canadian politician of his generation.

What he lacks in charisma he makes up for in common sense. He possesses a remarkably clear-eyed view of the possibilities. That he has been the most lucid on the crucial unity file is unsurprising, but he has also presented a compelling vision of a 21st-century environmental economy. If a leader is going to exercise mastery over any files, those are among the most important.

But Mr. Dion has mastered more than that. Through the campaign, he has shown that he has mastered the art of politics. He has gained a love of the game, perhaps from watching the likes of Mr. Chr├ętien close up. While he has been burdened with an image as a stiff academic, he has added humour, passion and humility to his defining attributes of intelligence and principle.

There is no perfect choice for Liberal delegates, but St├ęphane Dion comes the closest to deserving their support for leader

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Alison said...


Anonymous said...

Good for Dion.

It’s too bad there is no surprise factor, aka. "buzz", in this endorsement though. A reading of articles and editorials over the last 3 weeks would have indicated to readers that the Globe was going to do what they did today.

In regards to Ignatieff, I find the relationship between the candidate and the paper to be similar to bitter wife who has entered into a divorce because she thought the man was the perfect one. Humorous.

I’m just glad they didn’t endorse Rae. I would have cancelled my subscription.

Anonymous said...

It is a great articles on Dion, and I love the cartoon-like picture - that's a keeper.

You'll think I'm way off the wall here, but his early debates with his father were like the life Ralph Nader had - he was brought up to debate just the same and his seriousnes reminds me of Mackenzie King. King wasn't Mr. Personality and he did dobble in the occult (a strange man) by very intelligent. Mackenzie King sat on my grandfather's veranda a couple of times when visiting GG Vincent Massey (Massey lived across the road from my grandparents, in the country). King was serious, quiet and strange, but after talking to him those couple of times my grandfather became a Liberal (the whole rural/farmer area here was always quite Conservative. After that time King brought in old age pensions among alot of other things. That seriousness and quiet intellect of Dion reminds me of Mackenzie King.


Dion would be my second choice. I really don't see him beating out Harper.

Yappa said...

We should all keep in mind that the Globe (with the exception of one or two columnists) is no friend of the Liberal party and tends to support the Conservatives.

I must admit though that there is a large dollop of sour grapes in my reaction and I'd probably think they were more credible had they had endorsed Bob Rae. ;-)

Anonymous said...

The article is another plus for Gerard. For the first time in a G & M article he is mentioned before Rae. The part that you selectively missed about Gerard...

"Gerard Kennedy is the kind of talent the Liberals need to attract to rebuild the federal party. He is a strong communicator (at least in English) and an impressive organizer, and he stands unequivocally for change and renewal. He has infused the campaign with badly needed energy. His record as director of the largest food bank in the country and as education minister in Ontario shows that he possesses abilities to match his ambitions."

...should not be discounted.

Anonymous said...

Altho the Globe's got that Conservative image, in fact ever since the NaPo has gone hard-right the G&M has cut a little closer to the middle a tad, and it has a little bit of balance. the Star is obviously Liberal, the Suns are tail-gate party right, and the NaPo is far right. The Suns are almost comical, actually.
Good for Dion. He's a very credible candidate and would be a strong leader, I think. I feel Rae would bring a bit more experience and human-touch, along with a non-Quebec element that the rest of Canada is definitely ready for. And I think no one is better capable of taking on Harpor in the bearpit or top peaks where ever he chooses to take the fight.

Jeff said...

Sandi, I was confused at first until I found the Star article, I think that's the one you're referring to. It was an interesting piece too, I'll throw up a link in another post.

Yappa, I'm not sure it's fair to call the Globe a Con paper. Centerist, to be sure. They did endorse the Cons in January, but very reluctantly. Anyway, take heart, they said nothing bad that I could see about Rae. I'd have to think he's their second choice.

Peter, I didn't want to quote everything, and perhaps I was a tad selective in what I did quote. Editor's prerogative. :) They did indeed like Gerard though, dubbing him "the one for next time" as many, myself included, have over the course of the campaign. And maybe this time, he's my #2 at this point.

Burl, I like Bob's political acumen and skills. I like a number of his policies. Despite the polling though, I'm still not convinced his baggage won't be a lead weight. If he wins I hope to be proven wrong, and I'd be fighting on his side to help overcome it.

Anonymous said...

How does "the most courageous Canadian politician of his generation" cave in on the Quebec nation question like Dion did?

Anonymous said...

Hey, why do the press have to mention Kennedy - Justin Trudeau has spoken and nothing else matters, so everyone seems to think.

Perhaps if the media stopped hanging off Justin Trudeau and wrote an article on their own about Kennedy - more would be interested besides the media and those that are living in the past.