Sunday, May 03, 2009

Stephane Dion can be a Liberal elder statesman

Speaking with several Liberal friends from Quebec over the course of the convention, I've been hearing that it's very likely Stephane Dion will run for re-election in his St. Laurent-Cartierville riding. It's not official yet, but I'm told nominations are slated to be opened in Quebec shortly, and Dion is more likely than not to opt to stay around.

I was asked to keep this low-key until official, but since La Presse seems to have reported it, it would seem the cat is out of the bag.

I really hope Stephane does run again. The LPC needs him, his voice and his concious. We actually gained seats in Quebec in the last election, showing Stephane is more of an asset there than many would care to admit. He was one of our strongest cabinet ministers under both Jean Chretien and Paul Martin. And, should the Liberals be lucky enough to form the next government, I know he would be a real asset in a Michael Ignatieff cabinet. Who better to lead he charge on cap and trade as Mi's environment minister then the man so respected in the domestic and global environmental community?

And let me just take this moment to observe that Jane Taber is completly full of crap on so many levels its a wonder she manages to walk upright. This section today in her gossip column or whatever the heck she calls it, really pisses me off, and shows just how out of touch with reality Jane is:

La Presse columnist Vincent Marissal is reporting today that former
Liberal leader Stéphane Dion will run again in the next election, creating
an interesting puzzle for new leader Michael Ignatieff. Whispers are that
there are some younger Liberals who had their eye on Mr. Dion's Montreal
riding; those quasi-safe Liberal ridings rarely open up. So there could be a
fight. As well, it's always awkward dealing with former leaders - what
job do you give them? How much influence should they have? And after Mr.
Dion's disastrous speech last night at the convention, there doesn't seem to
be a lot of goodwill around for him. Still, former Conservative prime
minister Joe Clark and former Alliance leader Stockwell Day have both
demonstrated how former leaders can make valuable contributions to a caucus
and federal cabinet.

First of all, Jane, I'm confident that Stephane's riding meets the minimums set out for incumbents to avoid a nomination race, so if Stephane wants to run again, there will be no nomination race. And besides, even if there were, Stephane's personal popularity in that riding is very high. And no one would be stupid enough to try to unseat him. Even Jean Lapierre was quickly warned off when he contemplated it as Paul Martin's Quebec organizer. And just how safe the seat would be without Stephane is debatable.

Second, I'm sure Michael will have no problem finding a key position for Stephane on the team. Michael is a smart man, who knows what an asset Dion is and the strengths he brings to the team. That's not an issue.

Third, your statement that there isn't much goodwill for Stephane in the LPC and that his speech was "disastrous" is complete horseshit, and evidence you should really stick to writing about Laureen Harper's cats. I don't know what you could see from your snarky perch on media row, but down on the floor, where the Liberals were, I saw a lot of emotion, respect and much goodwill for Stephane.

Yes, we Liberals may be disappointed with his term as leader. Ok, strike the may be. We are. But don't dare for a second mistake that for a lack of respect, and affection, for the man, and for what he has done for Canada and for the Liberal Party. While he didn't have the royal jelly to be leader, Stephane is an honourable, intelligent, decent man who has fought, sweat and bled for his party and his country all his political career. There was a lot of love for Stephane in that hall, and there's a lot of love and respect for Stephane in the Liberal Party.

On that, Jane Taber couldn't possibly be more wrong. Next convention I hope the Globe sends an actual journalist.

Anyway, rant done. I'm at YVR, having a few glasses of wine in the lounge (thanks to a pass from generous former blogger Bob the Red) before taking the red-eye back to YYZ. And once home, I plan to sleep much of Monday. After that, though, I'll be back with some convention big picture thoughts, and some commentary about the constitutional plenary, including OMOV and more.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


Woman at Mile 0 said...

Totally agree on the Jane Taber thing Jeff. That was more kind than I could have been though.

sassy said...

bravo BCer!

Constant Vigilance said...

Taber for Senator!

tedhsu said...

I would note that Stéphane needed a long long time to exit the convention hall at the end of the convention. Such was the line-up of people waiting to greet him.

RuralSandi said...

Sorry folks, but his speech was terrible, long and he did not thank his supporters.

Also, to put him in as Environment Minister right now would be a disaster. Not because of his knowledge and passion about it, etc., but because the opposition parties would make mincemeat out of him again. He does not need to be put down like that again.

I think he would be good in something (and has good experience) in Internal Affairs. Rona Ambrose sure as hell is doing much there.

Dion needs a breather from a rough couple of years, why do it to him again.

C-Nuck said...

Taber it the mark with her comments.

Dion was expected to seek employment outside of the Commons. His presence over the past 4 months has been sporadic.

It is abso;utely true that a number of people (including younger candidates) have been looking at the riding.

Aurelia said...

I completely agree--everywhere I saw Dion we all told him we loved him, and showed it. she really needs to check her sources, obviously some ambitious little jerk spun her and she believed it!

Unknown said...

"The LPC needs him, his voice and his concious."

By 'concious', do you mean his conscience, or his consciousness?

Just wondering.

lyrical said...

CPAC has posted Stéphane Dion's convention lecture. Funny, they edited out the "teary-eyed" shots of audience members that were in the original live broadcast.

He did thank a lot of people right at the beginning of his lecture.