I have a ton of thoughts on where the Liberals go from here, but for a moment I'd like to focus on Stephane Dion. I joined the Liberals because of Gerard Kennedy, in him I saw the progressive, forward-thinking, humble, grassroots Liberal that the party desperately needed, easily something I could support. I was never a big fan of Dion, from a purely political sense, the baggage, the lack of charisma, having followed politics closely for so long, my rational opinion was hardly kind. Readers of this blog will know that I once called for Dion to resign, and was highly critical for a long stretch. That changed however, when I put aside my cynicism about political requirements, and merely focused on the concepts proposed and the sincerity of the orator.
What happened last night was disappointing by any measure, but for some odd reason I've never been prouder of Stephane Dion. Despite the talking heads, I completely understood the depth of the man, the ability to weave complex ideas together into a coherent thrust. If you actually listened, and could get beyond the pre-conceptions and spin, there was a real vision there, a vision which has been absent from immediate satisfaction election mentality for quite some time.
Dion isn't a natural politician, he doesn't necessarily think in a strategic sense, and snappy soundbites aren't readily available. That said, it was sort of refreshing, I mean here we have a man who is the anti-thesis of all those things we say we hate, all those attributes that make "politician" a dirty word. Just a man of conviction, demonstrating sincerity and honesty, presenting a view of Canada, which always had the country's prosperity at heart. We can agree or disagree on the substance, but nobody can question the character, bold ideas and firm resolve.
We all know our political discourse is a superficial game, I'm not naive enough to be surprised, but I guess what happened, I became invested. I believe Stephane Dion would make a great Prime Minister, I believe that this is the type of person, armed with solid ideas incorporating the skilled views of those with knowledge, that would benefit this country. People can heap scorn on the Liberal Party, in many respects I'd probably agree, but Dion wasn't part of all the jockeying really, wasn't involved in the game, devoid of ego, he just wanted to serve, his intentions were pure. Any fair observer would give Dion that admiration, it doesn't take much to agree.
Before I dive back into the realm of rational deduction, tactical consideration and political instinct, it is important to see someone outside of this arena, an arena which isn't particular attractive. In the end, the perceived failure of Stephane Dion is more a statement on the problematic nature of modern politics, than it is an accurate interpretation of the man's attributes or abilities. I'm proud of Stephane Dion, and despite the outcome, Canada was better for his participation.