Monday, May 05, 2008

Don't Spread Yourself Too Thin Stephane

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.


northwestern_lad said...

"Dion on a bus touring every nook, as though McCain in New Hampshire"

Can the Liberal Party afford the bus??? Can they afford the diesel fuel to run it??? ;)

JimmE said...

Well thought out, & good idea.

Steve V said...


A bus is cheaper than an airplane ;)

northwestern_lad said...

Steve... touche :)

but wouldn't a hybrid car be better... what a better visual it would be to see Stephane running around the province in a prius with his backpack in the back seat.... ;)

Antonio said...

he can certainly try...

although, I would suggest Dion tour the province with some other people, and I am not talking about Captain Celine.

Dion needs to tour Quebec with Denis Coderre, with Michael Ignatieff, with Lise Bacon. They need to run around the province and say "trust us, it is not as bad as the sovereigntists make it out to be".

just like Jean Lapierre sat there as Dion and Pierre Pettigrew saved the 2004 election in Quebec, maybe it is time Dion just take in what people on the ground are saying and let the others talk for him.

While everyone is in Quebec, if someone finds "Le Gerard", they should try sending him along as well. They have summer-long French programmes here he may like.

Alex Plante said...

Pensez donc à Liza Frulla également. C'est la personnalité libérale la plus populaire au Québec.

Steve V said...


The Hills Times article says Coderre is slated to tour every Quebec riding this summer, Dion should be there side by side. I'm not suggesting a Liberal wave, but at the very least a sense of commitment, and you would also quell any idle media chat, looking for problems in Quebec. I honestly think it would generate a lot of interest.

As for Kennedy, the man is doomed in Quebec because he didn't play Harper's "nation" game? I thought Quebecers were more sophisticated than that. Maybe his entire bilingual family can help him ;) The horror!

Steve V said...


I'm not sure that would fly, given her public comments

Anonymous said...


Do you where we can get a usuable battery from a junkyard somewhere in Toronto? Martha Hall Findlay's bus is sitting at the corner of Yonge and Sheppard. Needs a new car battery or some booster cables.

Antonio said...

"As for Kennedy, the man is doomed in Quebec because he didn't play Harper's "nation" game? I thought Quebecers were more sophisticated than that."

Or maybe Quebec Liberals thought English Canada wasn't sophisticated enough? *wink*

Steve V said...

I just find it odd that Hebert, the Bloc and others are all up in arms over Kennedy, when all he did is say no to Harper's attempted manipulation of Quebecers. Strange that he is judged, using Harper's rules of what constitutes "openness".

Anonymous said...

Mr.Dion is beating a dead horse when it comes to Quebec. I know what I'm talking about. I have been living in Montreal all of my life. You should listen what people say about him. The French
people I'm talking about.

Mr.Dion tried to do the same thing last summer nothing changed. When he (Mr.Dion) speaks no-one listens to him in Quebec. You can say anything you want about the federal liberals in Quebec. But facts are facts. Any liberal bloggers who are living in the province of Quebec,if they are honest with themselves
can attest to this.

Steve V said...

"Mr.Dion tried to do the same thing last summer nothing changed."

NO he didn't.

Anonymous said...

Steve the liberals are saying that he will tour the country. Its excatly what he did last summer.
Didn't he also tour the country last summer?

It doesn't matter to me has I mentioned earlier
in Quebec the French speaking people don't listen when he talks. You can deny it all you
want its you're right. But it doesn't change reality here in Quebec.

The problem goes deeper then just Mr.Dion.

Steve V said...


Feel free to move on, I'm honestly not particularly interested in your opinion. The last thing Libs need is too take advice from a guy who probably has a Harper picture by his bedside. Move along, I don't care.

northwestern_lad said...

Mushroom... I'm so glad that you mentioned that blasted RV of Martha's... I have to drive by it on my way to work every single day and just want it to go away... So if all it's going to take to get rid of it is a battery, i'll chip in for it.

liberazzi said...

I am coming around to this idea and I suppose I could hold my nose for a little while longer. The Libs are hoping for the perfect storm in the fall. Fine. Hammer Quebec, but also hammer BC in the summer. The stars can handle Ontario, the maritimes is status quo, but spend a little time on the praries. But please no more turtling after this. Don't forget to trot along Trudeau on this tour. Love him or hate him, he draws the crowds.

Any idea when a potential fall election would hit, so that I could plan accordingly?

liberazzi said...

I applauded Kennedy for his stance on the "nation" nonsense. It was a dangerous move, which is actually starting to be used against the gov't. For example, the Bloc is trying to push through the fact of Quebec having their own "CRTC", being a "nation" and all it only makes sense.

Tomm said...

Dion should start on the Rock and in the Maritimes where he will get some larger crowds and give the illusion of a cheering section.

He also needs to make speeches with platform themes that begin to articulate from the general to the specific. Begin painting a picture for the media to use to portray him with.

He has to stay away from any reference to the past (no "three pillars" crap), and also when asked about the House, have a chuckle ready to show that the criticisms do not effect him.

After the Maritimes, he should spend two weeks in the lower mainland and the Island talking to urban BCers.

I think he should actually stay away from Quebec and let Coderre, Rae and Ignatieff press the flesh there.


Antonio said...

I believe Quebecers really love it when English Canada tells them they are stupid and are "tricked" by Stephen Harper.

Keep talking down to Quebec and it will get Liberals the results Quebecers want from Stephane Dion

Steve V said...

"I believe Quebecers really love it when English Canada tells them they are stupid and are "tricked" by Stephen Harper."

Antonio please, with the victim angle, poor EC picking on the wayward Quebecers. Was Harper's overture genuine, or was it motivated by political expediency??? I find it funny that you side with Harper on this, and make Kennedy out to be the bad guy. I would add, if you buy it, then yes you have been "tricked", completely and UTTERLY.