Saturday, December 02, 2006

Canadian Politics: The Liberal Leadership Convention

Stéphane Dion is the new leader of theFederal Liberal party.

Good choice.

I have to admit my original choice was Bob Rae, and not just for his electability. I like what he stood for, and I liked how he handled himself. It was unfortunate that he was knocked out in the third ballot, but these things happen (possibly because he went skinny dipping with Rick Mercer). I believe that, in getting Stéphane Dion, we have the better of two remaining choices.

Dion had several advantages over Michael Ignatieff, not the least of which was the ability to know when to keep his mouth shut. Michael Ignatieff's mouthing off is the reason that the whole "Quebecois as nation" thing got raised in Parliament.

Now, I'm not saying that Ignatieff isn't a smart man, or that he might not make good decisions, but the man has no political experience and that made him a major risk. You do not want someone who has never faced down a press scrum or represented your country in a meeting with other leaders (national, provincial or otherwise) taking the helm at a time when the yahoo we have running the country is doing his best to make us a respected world-wide as the USA.

(Sorry to any American readers, but right now, your country's image on the international scene is crap. Hopefully with the Democratic Party in charge of the House and Senate, things will improve)

We need someone with some experience, with a good head on his shoulders, who knows how to talk to the press and to other leaders. And as for smarts, here's a sum-up of Stéphane Dion from the CBC article I linked to at the beginning of this post:

Married with one daughter, Dion, 51, earned a BA and MA in political science from Laval University before obtaining a doctorate from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris.

He was recruited by Jean Chrétien to run in the 1996 federal election and was elected in the Quebec riding of Saint-Laurent-Cartierville.

Dion held the post of minister for intergovernmental affairs for seven years but was dropped from cabinet in December 2003, when Paul Martin was sworn in as prime minister. The move was viewed as punishment for his close ties with Chrétien and unpopularity with several prominent Quebec Liberals.

Martin later brought him back into cabinet as environment minister after the Liberals won a minority government in the June 2004 election. In this role, Dion earned high praise for his work chairing the UN Climate Change summit in Montreal in 2005.

He looks to be a well-qualified, well rounded individual, and he has a vision of a Canada with a sustainable economy that will act as a world leader on environmental and human rights issues.

Let's hope he can do it. The Conservatives are really annoying the hell out of me (see previous post).


Anonymous said...

I hope you are right about Mr. Dion, but with a heavy French accent (not the greatest quality to have outside of Quebec) and disapproval among French liberals (not the greatest quality to have inside of Quebec), he might have a hard time winning an election. And that's what we want him to do, right? I sincerely hope the Liberals have not just bought themselves a Conservative majority government beginning in 2007.

Erik Buchanan said...

I hope so, too.

That said, I don't think we'll see a conservative majority any time soon. Everyone is a little too annoyed about Kyoto right now.

And the heavy French accent didn't do Uncle Jean any harm.

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