Dion won the leadership after a year-long campaign involving 11 aspirants, recalls Turner. He says the fierce competition left its mark.
"I support the leader, but not everyone is of the same mind and there are factions within caucus who want to weaken Dion. There are people who have aspirations . . . without a doubt, who forever and a day will continue to try to promote their agendas.
"I have a problem with those who still harbour ambitions and should swallow them. I see that happening within our caucus and I don't like it."
Turner says he doesn't want to undermine any of his colleagues and prefers not to identify individuals. That said, it was clear from our conversation that he is referring to Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae who came second and third in the leadership stakes.
Turner, who has a long history of speaking candidly -- going back to his days in the Mulroney caucus -- reveals he's "in a bit of trouble right now" with some of his colleagues.
"I'm seen as a guy who is standing out there for Dion, helping the leader succeed." Those who Turner has targeted for their disloyalty have reacted by drawing their own swords against him.
I'm open to any suggestions, just how calling out your fellow MP's helps Dion? All Turner does here is reinforce the notion that Dion doesn't enjoy the support of many in his caucus, former leadership rivals aren't working together as a team, basically painting a picture which does nothing for the Liberal "presentation".
When a Liberal goes on the record criticizing Dion, then you can at least attribute it to frustration, or whatever. However, Turner is actually offering all this in defence of Dion, and in so doing actually has the opposite effect.
Is it true, what Turner says? I think that is ENTIRELY irrelevant, because going public helps no one, it just ruffles more feathers, continues a narrative which was actually starting to wane, basically tells everyone that Dion's leadership is weak. Honest candor is great, but when it serves no rational purpose, when it feeds a negative, when it just gets the media hunting for more, then it's just plain dumb. Turner takes it farther, playing the martyr, that the swords are now aimed at him. Well, I don't have a sword, but if I was standing behind Garth as he started to spew to the media, he would certainly get a poke or two.