Like Jeff, I agree that if there is no election (shrug), Dion is probably well served with a tour, speaking with Canadians. Not the mundane barbecue circuit, speaking to the choir, but a real effort to throw out some policy, try to rehabilate Dion's image. There is just no question, if the Liberals are too win, then Dion must improve his stature.
Where I jump off the "good idea" train is the cross-country aspect. I think the best approach is a tactical one. If you asked Liberals what region of the country needs the most attention, which one offers the biggest challenges for Dion personally, which one is critical for the long term future of the Liberal Party, the obvious response is Quebec. Dion touring the entire country is great on the one hand, but given the challenges of such a diverse land, I think he could get more mileage with a targeted tour, in the province were he is weakest.
Forget Ontario, a few visits by Dion will have a negligible effect. As a recall, last summer Dion spent the majority of his time in Ontario, primarily as a function of ridings, but to me, that was always a head scratcher. If Dion doesn't set foot in Ontario this summer, the Liberals won't suffer, it isn't a slap in the face, it's really not even on the radar. No, Dion needs to go where Dion needs to do work, and that means Quebec, Quebec, Quebec.
Dion on the radio, Dion on any station that will have him, Dion in every riding (with Coderre and Pablo in tow), Dion on a bus touring every nook, as though McCain in New Hampshire. Town halls, Q and A's, meeting with editorial boards, you name it, grind, grind, grind. A concentrated effort has more potential for buzz, rather than getting lost around the country, while people are on holidays, politics a distant concern. A focused tour, specifically in Quebec, sends a message, an effort that is unlikely to be ignored, Dion could maximize his exposure, during a season that is never kind to opposition leaders.
Dion has one asset in most of the country, Canadians don't really know him, whatever impressions are superficial, they can be altered. It is the polar opposition in Quebec, Dion confronts a unattractive legacy, in many quarters a "rat", in others just not well liked. Send a message that the Liberals haven't written off a Dion led Liberal Party in Quebec, start making strides to get off the persistent "bottom". Act with urgency, address the primary weakness, in the province that needs it. There are 90 000 former Quebec Liberals out there who have left the party in the last few years, job one is winning them back Liberals, re-establishing some semblance of the "big red machine". Nothing ventured, nothing gained, it is simply unacceptable to proceed with resignation, it is simply stupid to act relatively passive, while others look to fill the void, establishing a permanent presence that might forever change the playing field.
If Stephane Dion doesn't spend two minutes in Ontario this summer I will applaud him. I don't want to see him in P.E.I, or Alberta, I want to see him addressing the elephant in the room, in a focused and positive way. If I am forced to endure more abstaining and bow to the greater minds that preach patience, then at the least, I want to see a game plan moving forward. That game plan starts with Quebec and ends with Quebec.