Liberal Leader Stephane Dion says he will travel to Bali, Indonesia, next month for the United Nations climate change summit to ensure that the Harper government doesn't push the world in the wrong direction in the fight against global warming.
"I will do everything possible to make sure this conference works well," Dion said. "I don't have a mandate to negotiate, but I know a lot of people [from other foreign delegations] and I take the cause of climate change to heart."
Dion said he has asked the government to accommodate him as part of the official Canadian delegation, but he has not received an answer yet. He did not say, however, how he would pay for his trip if the government refuses.
Might I suggest a "Send Dion To Bali" fundraiser on the Liberal website?
This decision is an aggressive move, because clearly the stakes are raised when you have the Leader of the Opposition attending, as opposed to the environmental critic. Dion does have clout with this crowd, a measure of credibility despite what the naysayers argue. Great public relations to have Dion speaking with delegations, undermining the Conservative spin, and ultimately defending Canada's good name on the international stage. Dion will emerge as the spokesman for the gathering anti-Conservative delegation that will be attending, which now includes Quebec, the other opposition critics and the environmentalists.
If Dion is questioned on his decision, if there is a hint of trying to embarrass the government on the international stage, Dion can claim the moral high ground, arguing the matter as urgent. In a sense, this bold move could act as a springboard, which allows Dion to re-take some lost ground, on his supposed strong suit. I don't see much downside, but plenty of potential from a political perspective. Couple that with the obligation to articulate to the world that the Canadian majority is not represented within the Conservatives policies, and you have a win/win. I like this move, no matter the angle.