"I had heard a rumour of it a couple of weeks ago, and I thought, `Oh surely, it can't be true — nobody would make that decision,'" says Toronto MP and leadership candidate Ken Dryden.
"I'm really surprised. I can't imagine the sense of it."
Dryden said it's a mistake to have someone from another country delivering a speech meant to set the tone for a convention wrapping up a nine-month effort to put the party back in touch with Canadians...
Bob Richardson, a senior organizer for Michael Ignatieff's campaign, adds that Dean is irrelevant to Canadians.
"I'll be vacuuming," he quipped...
Gerard Kennedy, the former Ontario provincial cabinet minister vying for the federal Liberals' top job, approved of the speaker selection.
"As chairman of the Democratic National Committee, with his mandate for reform and renewal of a progressive party, it is fitting that Dean should deliver the keynote at the convention, which for many Liberals is very much about reform and renewal of our own party," Kennedy said.
Unity means everything, which is why Dean's selection is confusing. Whether or not you support the decision, I think everyone can agree stories about "splits" within the Liberal ranks isn't the kind of press the keynote speaker should bring. Afterall, the keynote speaker is largely irrelevant in the grand scheme, so it is curious that the Liberal brass would pick someone who is controversial and effectively distract from the real purpose. I love Dean, but articles like today only further my view that his selection wasn't well thought out and the optics are bad.