Monday, May 28, 2007

Dion Hitting His Stride?

Watching Dion spar with Harper today in Question Period, I thought Dion looked particularly impressive. Speaking with easy, compassion and conviction, Dion appears to be finally hitting his stride.

Partisanship aside, Dion had largely been an ineffective, uninspiring trainwreck most of the time in parliament. Even Liberal MP's often looked strained in their applause, conveying nothing in the way of genuine inspiration. Dion has his strengths, but none of them appeared to manifest themselves within this forum.

People can discount performance in parliament, but I believe it is critical for any realistic chance at winning an election. One of the main reasons, much of the media takes its cues, positive or negative, through the perceptions offered in QP. I don't think it accident that the majority of media soundbites selected Liberals, other than the leader, for their stories- Dion wasn't good copy. If Dion is ever to confront the leadership gap, he must give the impression that he is worthy and a viable alternative to Harper. The ability to be effective in parliament isn't an absolute necessity, but it does represent a relevant disadvantage.

Watching Dion today, I was struck by just how far he has come. Dion looked great, in total command. Maybe Dion did just need some time afterall.

19 comments:

sassy said...

Steve,

I missed Dion in the house today but I did just see him on CBC's The Hour this evening, and he does seem a lot more comfortable in his skin than he did a few months ago.

Steve V said...

You can watch it here, if interested.

knb said...

Maybe Dion did just need some time afterall.

That's his story, his history, so stay tuned.

I would agree. He was angry, but sanguine and called Harper out and called him on his lies.

Harper being the coward/bully that he is, skirted.

Steve, the Dion book really shows the measure of the man. He's a fascinating man and I think we've only seen a bit of him.

Sassy, that was a repeat. I agree, he seemed quite comfortable, but that was in Feb. or March. So, we know that is there. He needs to harness it. I was glad to see that interview again and I hope his people did too.

sassy said...

Steve v - Thanks for the link, I did watch. Dion was good.

Why can't Harper ever make a comment (this time it was something to the effect about 4 months since the last question) without including a dig? That is simply poor behaviour.

TVO, The Agenda this evening - (no re-run this time knb ;), the topic was Minority Politics. I don't think the video is available yet but when it is - worth the watch.

Steve V said...

"Why can't Harper ever make a comment (this time it was something to the effect about 4 months since the last question) without including a dig?"

Harper thinks he's clever, but the act is wearing thin. What public servant wasted his entire day scanning the H of C hansards, to find the last time Dion asked an environment question?

Woman at Mile 0 said...

I am so impressed by the improvement in his English. He has obviously been working very hard on this. It's very refreshing.

Steve V said...

Christine

Agreed, it seems much more natural.

In_The_Centre said...

He has come very far but he has a long ways to go, especially on the fundraising circuit. The party is still having trouble selling tickets for his events, and when we do sell out, it’s often due to tickets being marked down to the 50's or below.

However, time is Dion's best friend and given that we won’t probably go to the polls until spring 08, I can see the party only getting stronger.

Having a summer season with no concerns of an impending election is the best gift the Liberals could have asked for.

-ITC

Tomm said...

Steve,

Dion looked fine today and he has looked worse, but hitting his stride is a little rosy at this point.

Something that bothers me about Dion's speech writer is the words he puts into Dion's mouth. He accuses the Prime Minister of lying. He accuses the Prime Minister of blackmail. He is not treating the House with very much respect. He has long since left the high road and for any LPC supporter to pretend that the Official Opposition are "good guys" is laughable. They have long been down in the gutter slinging mud.

What makes it worse is the whining that it's not them but the CPC being the ugly ones.

Have a good think about this and watch QP in the house and notice the accusations from the LPC benches and the general ugliness coming from the LPC questions.

The non-LPC public is unhappy with all mud slinging. But for the LPC to sling mud at the CPC about maintaining LPC's own initatied policies is beyond the pale.

The media should begin doing its job and quit interviewing people like Denis Coderre and Ralph Goodale when they are this disengenuous.

Tomm

Gayle said...

Tomm, that is a bit of the pot calling the kettle, is it not?

Harper IS lying. He could have answered the question the first time, but did he? No, nor the second, nor the third, nor the fourth... He and his party set the tone in QP a long time ago, and it would be a bit rich for them to start complaining now. Do you perhaps forget their outright lies about the Arar affair, or the fact they accused a liberal MP of appointing her ex-husband?

I get it - Harper is starting to look bad, and rather than criticize him, you criticize the media. I have seen enough liberals do that when the shoe was on the other foot.

There are certainly some media outlets that are biased - the Sun for example freely admits its bias. However, I think most of the media are interested in a good juicy story. A few months ago it was the internal liberal rebellion. Now, perhaps it is the fact that Harper really has not accomplished a thing. The media do not have to make him look bad - he manages that all by himself. The media, like all Canadians, can see that Harper has not struck a chord with the voters, and that he cannot get a majority.

Dion, on the other hand, is starting to look good. He started at a pretty low point (for some justified reasons and some not so justified reasons), so he does not have to do much to look good.

Steve V said...

Tomm


"He is not treating the House with very much respect."

You're kidding right? Harper has lowered the bar with his hyper-partisan slurs, so much so he has disgraced the office of PM. Harper has set the tone.

Anonymous said...

Harper and the CPC are just so predictable aren't they? Dion must be doing better because Harper is putting out more attack ads - how pathetic can it get.

It's not election time Harper - pay attention.

I think it's going to backfire big time.

Harper/CPC are giving themselves away - when things look good for Dion - attack.

How childish.

lept said...

Hate to pee on the Dion love fest here but in today's 'Le Devoir' we find that only thirteen percent of Francophone Quebeckers trust Monsieur Plan B.

Gayle said...

Oh no! The world is over! The liberals should all simply convert to conservatives, for lept has a link that proves, without any doubt, that Dion is no good.

Anyway...

knb said...

Gayle, you know Dion is doing well when you see this.

lept said...

Actually, Gayle, I had been hoping for an alternative to the Bloc: I am quite simply tired of voting for such a self-contradictory option on the federal level.
I had been hoping that the Liberal Party was serious about renewal.

ed king said...

KNB,

Senate reform!? Sounds to me like they're trying to save the furniture!

Steve V said...

Lept, thanks for the link. Two things scare me- Dion's very weak numbers and Harper's high satisfaction.

lept said...

And - god forbid that I should say this - Dion's passivity in the face of another set of attack ads!
He HAS to do something if we don't want the conservatives in full power.
Even Monsieur Plan B is better that the alternative...