Thursday, July 10, 2008
I've never heard Stephane Dion speak in person before, which is why I made the trek to Guelph today. Dion was appearing to outline his Green Shift, including a townhall question and answer. The room allocated for the appearance was apparently too small, as they had to open up more space for the overflow crowd. Dion spoke briefly, followed by the q and a which lasted over an hour, then a scrum with reporters.
Dion smoothly walked through the questioning, demonstrating a good grasp on many issues, sprinkled with some timely humor. The overriding impression that I took from this appearance, Dion oozes sincerity and authenticity. Nary a hint of political calculation in his answers, agree or disagree, it's clear that he comes by his opinions honestly. Some of my unease about Dion's ability to "sell" his ideas has clearly waned, he came across as a very attractive, passionate advocate.
One angle new to me on the policy front, Dion is very much a free market orientated thinker. When asked about various alternative energy sources, whether it be hydrogen or geothermal, Dion was quick to say investment was important, but he didn't favor subsidies. The Green Shift would attempt to create favorable conditions for innovation to thrive, but ultimately the market would ween out the pretenders, decide the winners.
I stuck around to watch the media scrum. In typical lazy media fashion a reporter from the local paper asked Dion if the Liberals could afford to fight four by-elections simultaneously. Dion looked with amazement, clearly news to him, which means he doesn't read The National Post. I guess the scribe from the Merc does, then just parrots what she read. Impressive stuff.
Anyways, all in all a very good performance. I've always been pretty uncomfortable with Dion at the helm, although I've warmed recently. I'm glad I went, I feel much better about what Dion is all about, much better that this is the kind of leader Canada desperately needs. Authenticity is a rare commodity in politics these days, Dion has it in spades. I left thinking this guy would be a great Prime Minister, by all the measures that really matter.
Posted by Steve V at 3:35 PM