If you were to put the Conservative and Liberal caucuses side by side, there is no question which possesses more "talent". Outside of rabid partisans, nobody views the Conservatives as particularly deep, in fact the government is largely a one man show, you could count on one hand Minister's that actually stand out in their portfolio's. Taken a step further, hardly impressive when the Conservatives are forced to lean on the mediocre likes of Van Loan and Poilievre to make the case. When you look at the "rosters", it is no surprise that the Liberals will emphasize the team in the next election.
Part of the team concept comes from a reaction to a negative, Dion so unpopular, the Liberals need to draw attention to others to look a credible alternative. I prefer to look at in this way, if you have assets you exploit them, leadership questions aside, particularly if it draws attention to your opponent's weakness. With that in mind, a radical idea prior to the next election. Heading into the campaign, what if Dion were to name his potential cabinet?
The Liberals already have the standard critics, but I think it would be a political winner to put together a theoretical cabinet this summer, allow each MP to focus on their theoretical portfolio, then announce the team when an election is called. In that way, the Liberals could present to Canadians what a Liberal government would look like. Campaigns tend to focus on the leader disproportionately, by announcing a future cabinet, it would necessitate a look beyond who is PM. As the campaign proceeds, any issues that arise would put more attention on whomever is responsible for that particular portfolio.
Imagine a scenario where the Liberals release the daily policy announcement, and Dion isn't the only voice, the only salesman. A foreign policy initiative, reporters seek out the Liberals Minister of Foreign Affairs Bob Rae, who would easily outshine Emerson, or whomever the Conservatives choose from their thin ranks. A question about carbon shifting, enter Ignatieff, the Liberal Environment Minister, a question on Justice, enter Ken Dryden or Dominic LeBlanc, Martha Hall Findlay on Immigration... you get the drift. In pre-announcing the potential cabinet, would that not draw attention to talent pool, allow Canadians to see the group the Liberals would offer. Put that, side by side, with the Conservatives, hard to find much in the way of a threat.
Such a plan would demand the media focus on people other than Dion, as events dictate which issues rise to the fore. It would also show Canadians a greater diversity with the Liberal team, as opposed to the white man blandness of the single note Conservatives. It's hard for me to see a downside in any pre-announcement, although unorthodox, it allows people to pass judgement on who is best able to govern as a whole. It says to Canadians, we are ready to go, here are the people, ready to hit the ground running. Harper vs Dion, an uphill battle, Liberals vs Conservatives, a much better presentation. The best way to dictate the message of team, put that team in place and allow them to shine.