--> Getting It Right: Introducing Dion...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Introducing Dion...

If you were listening on Monday to CBC radio man Rick Cluf’s interview with embattled Federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion, you are forgiven if you spewed your breakfast over the breakfast table.

To back up a bit, each Monday morning I sit on a political panel at the CBC Vancouver studios. My partners in radio crime are two former BC environment ministers: Moe Sihota, a long-time NDP activist and the controversial Rafe Mair, a mentor for any aspiring radio hack in the skills of not pulling punches and having the facts on hand to back up an argument.

Because of this panel, I am fortunate to meet a wide range of other Early Edition guests, ranging from social activists, to labour leaders and, yes, to the odd politician stumping for votes. We sit and have our coffee in the “green room” waiting for our time at the microphone.

Meeting politicians of different stripes is something I greatly enjoy. Because we are all in the same industry, we generally have more in common with each other than not, if one can get past the diametrically opposing views on how to govern our nation.

However, once in awhile, a politician comes along that bucks the camaraderie that defines the political realm and actually buys into the spin being pushed by his staff and party.

And unfortunately, that dangerous slippery slope to ridiculous has claimed Stephane Dion.

It all started well enough during the late November leadership. Stephane Dion looked a political marvel with his ability to skate past his far more popular rivals and claim the Liberal crown. His intellectually folksy ways seemed democratic and non-threatening. Initially voters were willing to overlook the failed environmental policy of his time in office because of the approachable aura that surrounded him.

Those days have clearly passed.

Dion now travels with a full-size entourage, larger than any I’ve seen from a Leader of the Opposition.

And, as he told Rick Cluf more than once, Dion feels he is the most influential Leader of the Opposition in Canadian history. Given that he’s only been in the job four months, that is quite an accomplishment. Don’t worry about his “common man” backpack, Dion clearly has the ego required for the role.

I’m not sure what he is trying to achieve. I would have thought that his polling numbers alone would be enough to have him revisit his failing strategy of reminding Canadians of the dismal environmental record of the Liberals. To reinforce the good work of the Conservatives – even by saying it is all his doing – is a political tactic of the desperate.

Arrogance and desperation. What a lovely combination on a Monday morning.

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