Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Dropping the ball on Vimy

I attended a Liberal rally tonight in Toronto with Stephane Dion and a huge crowd of enthusiastic Liberals, and I'll get to a report on that in the next post. First, I wanted to touch on the news that Dion won't be going to Vimy next weekend for the remembrance ceremonies.

Given the anger I expressed last week at Harper's callous refusal to invite the opposition leaders in the first place, I'd be remiss not to comment on Dion's not going, and sending Michael Ignatieff instead. Let me say strongly I think this is an unfortunate mistake, and I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment expressed by Ted and Michael.

I mentioned tonight's rally because I thought it was going to be a wine and cheese/mixer type thing, and if I'd had a chance to talk to Dion I was planning to ask him why he wasn't going. I don't know what other commitment they have himbooked for that weekend, but I hope it's darned important.

There's nothing wrong with sending Ignatieff. He's the deputy leader. I also appreciate and respect his personal family connection. But Dion should be there too. Not sending him is a symbolic mistake. The leader should be there, paying his respects. This is above politics. It's where he needs to be. Leaders lead.

Harper was seriously wrong not to invite the leaders in the first place. We were right to call them on it, and I stand by everything I wrote on the topic last week. He had to back down, and do the right thing. With our decision now not to send Dion though, we're doing the wrong thing too. I hope that we, too, will see the error of our ways

Stephane, pack your bags for France.

P.S. The line of attack exhibited in this article today is foolish, given the fact he's decided not to go. I don't know what we hope to accomplish here. Fife is right, it's politicking all around and a pox on all their houses indeed.

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Steve V said...

Great post Jeff!

Dan said...

Dion better go or he better be building a zero-emissions car that also reduces patient wait-times.

Rank & File Liberal said...

He's a great man. Smart, decent, genuine (or used to be).

But he is politically tone deaf and colourblind at the same time.

I sure as hell hope this doesn't have anything to do with the fact that Quebecers opposed our involvement in World War II. But it is probably more indirect than that: having come from Quebec maybe he doesn't have a clue or care how big a deal this is for "the rest of" Canada.

Jason Hickman said...

FWIW, Steve Janke has a different take on the whole when-or-if-they-were-invited story.

But you know, you're right: at the end of the day this shouldn't be a political issue for ANYONE. One of the things Martin did get right during his tenure was inviting the oppo leaders of the day to go along with his trip; I have some sort of hazy recollection that politics reared its ugly head in that one too, or with respect to some similar event, untill everyone calmed down and got their priorities straight.

I am surprised that Dion wouldn't / couldn't re-arrange his schedule, even if his is the right version of events. But at the end of the day, the Libs, as well as the other parties, will be represnted by someone.

Ti-Guy said...

I sure as hell hope this doesn't have anything to do with the fact that Quebecers opposed our involvement in World War II.

I'm sure it doesn't. French Canadians opposed the imperial conflict of WW1, but have come to see WW2 as a necessary conflict. We've always opposed conscription and probably always will.

Maybe Mr. Empire-lite is just better at this type of thing and wanted to go more than Dion did.

Jeff said...

Thanks Steve.

Rank, I'm sure it's not a Quebec thing. He has lots of advisors from across the country. I think it's a mistake in political judgment.

Jason, I think Janke is off on his timeline, I may go over and comment a rebuttal, but anyway, at the end of the day, everybody's wrong here. Harper did mess up by not inviting earlier, Dion messed up by not going. Anyone trying to make political hay here is foolish.

canuckistanian said...

agreed. although, he probably wants to avoid those ridiculous smears of "citoyen dion" ;-).

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