Sunday, December 03, 2006

Stéphane Dion

The Liberal Party of Canada held its leadership convention and elected Stéphane Dion as its new leader (and presumably, the next Prime Minister of Canada; the last Liberal leader who didn’t immediately become Prime Minister or didn’t become Prime Minister as a result of a subsequent election was in the 1880’s!).  This wasn’t a huge surprise as there were indications that Dion would slip in between the two front runners, the evil Michael Ignatieff (Harvard professor and supporter of torture, the Iraq war, and George Bush), and the hopeless bungler Bob Rae (former failure as socialist premier of Ontario who left the socialists in favor of the Liberals because the socialists took too sane – i.e., pro-Palestinian – a position on the Middle East).  It has been fairly clear that Ignatieff was sent by the Americans to break up Canada, something that was confirmed when Ignatieff, out of the blue, introduced Quebec nationalism into the campaign (immediately picked up by the Conservatives, who have much the same agenda).  Dion, on the other hand, is the principle intellectual opponent of Quebec separatism in Canadian politics, having demolished the separatist position by turning their own arguments against them (if Quebec can separate from Canada, why can’t federalist parts of Quebec separate from Quebec?).

The best candidate would have been Gerard Kennedy, who will make a fine Prime Minister one day, but was never given a chance by the mainstream media (the media barons are terrified of the guy, as he expressly fights the influence of stupid American ideas in Canadian politics; btw, why do all the stupidest ideas in the world come out of the United States?).  He and Dion concocted an Axis of Anti-Evil, in which the one more likely to win would get the support of the other.  The problem with the two front runners was that they had no second or subsequent ballot support; anyone who didn’t really like them, really hated them.  Kennedy’s supporters were very loyal, and almost all went over to Dion.

While Dion wouldn’t be my first choice (he was a so-so environment minister, though his dog is named Kyoto!), he’s a good man (not to mention extremely smart and the kind of policy wonk that it is good to see in politics), and you don’t have to hold your nose to vote for him just to remove the Conservatives.  The Toronto Liberal establishment really wanted either Ignatieff or Rae, and the party was bailed out by the grass-roots Liberals from across the country (the recent massive Toronto establishment mistakes were their support for losers John Turner and Paul Martin).  Dion represents a return to the Trudeau-Chrétien line of moderate-left positions, with a clear emphasis on the environment, just what Canadians appear to want.  

The mainstream press has been consistent in counting out the Liberals, despite the fact that the Liberals are now leading in the polls, and despite the facts that:

  1. the party has not had a leader for months; and
  2. it has not put up any real opposition to Conservative policies.

With every dead Canadian soldier in Afghanistan the Conservatives are losing about a quarter percentage point in relative support to the Liberals, meaning we are drawing ever closer to another Liberal government.  Dion ran on a campaign supporting just social policy and environmental sanity, the two biggest problems, besides Afghanistan, for the Conservatives. To appease the knuckle-draggers, the Conservatives are also going to reopen the same-sex marriage debate, another losing issue for them (former mayor of London, Ontario, and famous homophobe and Christian fruitcake, Dianne Haskett, just returned from working for Elizabeth Dole in Washington to lose in a London area by-election to both the winning Liberal candidate, and, in a new development, to the revitalized – i. e., de-conservatived - Green Party candidate; apparently even the people in the most conservative area of Ontario don’t want to be regarded as hillbillies!).  Just in the past couple weeks, Conservative leader Harper has managed to piss off all European leaders, the leaders of China, and the Canadian business establishment.  His obeisance to the Americans is also becoming noticeable (this cartoon might as well have been about Canadian politics, with Bush being the standing figure).  All Dion has to do is keep his foot out of his mouth, and the natural order of Canadian politics will be restored.