Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Rock Bottom

Apparently, she received an earful for her public comments, but Quebec Liberal MP Raymonde Falco paints a really pathetic picture:
"It' clear that Mr. Dion isn't getting across, we know that, particularly with Quebecers. A man of his age, any man or woman can't change overnight. We will have to bring in other bodies from the party to shoulder him and perhaps even travel with him across the country. However, the structure of the party works very well. And there is tremendous unity within the party. Well, there is a small problem with Mr. Garneau. It's true, but all political parties face similar problems."

I don't interpret these comments as undermining the leader, more correctly an accurate read of the situation (at least she went on record). Let me get the analysis straight- we have concluded that we have a lame duck leader, who will need the help of surrogates to mask the problems. Falco basically admits that the Liberals would be better off without Dion, but we're stuck with him, so we have to find other people to take the glare off the achilles heel. Wow.

Jean Lapierre, with another morale booster:
"Director of the Liberal Party of Quebec that if they don't deposit 250 000 thousand by Friday, they will probably have to close down the office in Montreal, and they can't even honor the payroll"

Lapierre also said that the Liberals will have a hard time fielding quality candidates, which makes the Garneau fiasco all the more ridiculous.

This poll was taken in the aftermath of the by-elections, so there is probably some temporary skewing (lets hope so), but again the word pathetic comes to mind:
Crop Poll: Sep 17-23

Bloc 31%
Cons 27%
Libs 19%
NDP 17%
Greens 5%


Bloc 37%
Cons 27%
NDP 19%
Libs 11%
Greens 6%

8 points behind the NDP with francophones, you're kidding right?

Here's what should happen, and I'm only saying this once, because it will never happen and ultimately banging this drum is counter-productive. Stephane Dion should read the tea leaves, and conclude the best thing for Canada and the Liberal Party moving forward is for him to resign. Right or wrong, good man, great heart, Dion is an albatross around the Liberal neck and it isn't about to change. In my mind, Stephane Dion's personal fate is irrelevant, I want to see the Harper government gone- that is never going to happen with Dion, and it pains me to admit that. I'm hoping to work in two ridings during the next election, so my oar is clearly in the boat, but the reality of the ultimate outcome is painfully obvious. Anyways, maybe this will be pass....


Anonymous said...


A Kennedy supporter calls for Dion to step down. Know that you did not go to the convention, but this is perceived to be the first throw of the gauntlet.

This is almost a reiteration of what the Mount of Sound says.

Just because the numbers in Quebec do not look good, it is not time to despair. You seem to read the Outremont result as a vote of non-confidence.

I had said it once. Outremont is a mini-referendum not a vote of confidence. It confirmed everything that was happening in Quebec. I don't think a new leader would have made that much of a difference.

Gayle said...

I totally disagree Steve.

Who is going to take his place? Do the liberals really need another divisive leadership campaign? Do you really think people like me are going to want to fund another campaign? This party is in enough trouble raising cash - wasting it on another leadership campaign because some people cannot get behind their leader is not going to win them any friends.

The best thing for the party is for people IN the party to shut up and do their job.

It bothers me when people work to create a false impression of a leader and then argue that, whether or not it is justified,that false impression has stuck and that leader should go. (Not that I am accusing you of that because I am not).

Steve V said...

"A Kennedy supporter calls for Dion to step down."

This has nothing to do with Kennedy, and I the by-election is just another entry into the going nowhere ledger.

"The best thing for the party is for people IN the party to shut up and do their job."

True, but it would appear the job is akin to bailing water on the titanic :)

Anonymous said...

"This has nothing to do with Kennedy, and I the by-election is just another entry into the going nowhere ledger."

The problem then should not be based on Dion. Harper had a rough session of the House of Commons with Gordon O'Connor becoming a dead man walking. Most of the Grit insiders were proud of this result and said that Dion was making inroads. Of course, the party was mired in debt and the fundraising totals were quite poor. Do these things need to be fixed first before we even dare to dream of Dion becoming Prime Minister?

Gerard said it right. We are practically ripping the house apart before we even consider what flooring and carpets need to be packaged. Unfortunately, many Grit insiders have become interested in arguing over the interior decorations instead of doing the dry wall.

Bleatmop said...

My impression is that it is the Liberal party that is in trouble in Quebec, not just Dion. Having said that, I am curious to know how a new party leader would positively effect (and affect) the Liberals standings within Quebec?

Karen said...

Steve, I'm shocked. Not by your comment per se, but by your ability to consume the pap you were fed.

My preference is to fight that.

At the end of the day, (hate that phrase), we have a choice to believe the media or not.

Lapierre, are you kidding? This guy is now on the defense, and he's never been Liberal defender.

Falco, hearing her in French, to be honest, she spoke truth. That Duff said, or Lapierre said she was we really know that?

Honest to goodness Steve, you're buying what they are selling and I see a really competitive streak in you.

That's a good thing, but if you have a child in soccer or something, don't you play with the team you have? Change strategy to be sure, but mid-game, bench, side-line or quit the captain? Bad strategy. Defeat and non-confidence are all that can follow.

We all want to see Harper gone. Just how do you think, and for how many years, would a "step down", play to the con's?

It's tough now Steve, perhaps the toughest of times, but it's a time to rally, not a time to turn into Lapierre.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

You are under no obligation to listen to a New Democrat, but for what it's worth, I think you're wrong about the last paragraph. Dion has baggage, but so would anyone else who could take his place, and in a lot of cases that baggage would be even heavier. Unseating him now would make the party look even weaker than it is, and there's no one who could step in who could reverse that. And besides, the problem isn't with Dion, anyway--it's with the party itself. You pointed that out yourself in your last couple of posts.

Oh, and as for the "bodies to shoulder him" comment, I think the "we don't yet have the capacity to run a by-election" (!) comment that Calgary Grit pulled out last week was a thousand times worse. ;-)

Koby said...

I too disagree. Dion is more of a liability outside Quebec than in. His English is his real Achilles heel. Anyway, remember that after Dion was selected as leader the Liberals have shot up to 29% in Quebec. They have going down ever since and the reason is simple. The party has not done anything on the policy front just when they most needed to. Meanwhile the entire debate in Quebec shifted dramatically, particularly after the Quebec provincial election. The Conservatives quickly moved to become the federal extension of the ADQ and NDP moved to pick up the left leaning PQ vote. Both recognized that Quebec is quickly becoming more like the rest of Canada. Amongst other things, a rural urban divide is beginning to open.

Lept said...

Thanks for this Steve - it is exactly how this group of non-liberal Bloc voters feels - we are tired of the negativity that the said Bloc represents and were watching to see if the libs could actually change.
The NDP simply doesn't exist here.
The state of flux is quite something in the hinterland here...
since sovereignty is not on the cards what is a positive role for the federation? Surely not simply a choice between the Harper/Duceppe-dismantlement nor the old Liberal hard line?
(one dig: it'd be nice if your leader could speak the language of the solitude that dislikes him less)

Anonymous said...

Steve I'm shocked and disappointed.
Go back to the poll of the other day which showed a dead heat nationally. I don't give a fuck if the seat comes from Halifax or Levis. If it's Liberal, it's one more seat to aid in getting Harper & Co out.
If you spent as much time finding fault with the Conservatives as you do attacking your own party, we'd all be better off.
Tous ensemble! (that means all together btw)

Anonymous said...

My reading of Dion is that he's a proud and determined guy. He's on a mission to prove that the Tory ads about him being not a leader were wrong.

He once told Don Newman that he would win both the English and French debates against Harper ! And today, he rated his performance so far as getting an A.

I'd say any chance of him resigning voluntarily are slim.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

By the way, Steve, what link did you follow to get to the detailed analysis of the CROP poll? Just curious to have a look myself--thanks.

C4SR said...

I'm mad as hell. We need an inquiry.

The reality is that the damage to the Liberal brand in Quebec is not Dion's fault.

There are lots of people to blame.

In Quebec, Dion inherited a flaming bag of dog shit.

Some would argue that he didn't do enough to put the fire out to win Outremont, but the reality is that he would still be holding a bag of smoldering dog shit - even if the Liberal candidate had won the by-election.

I think we need to remember that the Liberal brand in Quebec is also damaged by an unpopular provincial government, led by (an ex-Tory) a leader whose approval is in the dumps.

Even for those Liberals who might fantasize about a new leader before the next election, the party has spoken.

Dion is it.

Live with it or get out of the way.

Unless he quits and we pick a leader before the government falls, he's it.

Steve V said...


"Lapierre, are you kidding?"

So, he was lying about the office in Montreal? Lapierre isn't the first Liberal who has said the party will have a hard time attracting candidates in the next election, which makes the Garneau fiasco look foolish.

Dion is less popular than the Liberal Party in Quebec, quite a statement given the paltry numbers and a complete rebuff to the anyone would be doing as badly argument.


"I too disagree. Dion is more of a liability outside Quebec than in."

Well we don't disagree at all, because he is getting zero traction in English Canada, which is why you couple that with Quebec and get another Harper government.


I hear your point, which is why I hesitate. Having said that, my opinion is irrelevant to the scheme of things.

I am quite comfortable saying the Liberals will lose with Dion, because we will. That's my opinion, and I see nothing on the horizon to suggest otherwise. I don't believe in absolutes, things can happen, Harper could implode, but given the situation at present, I leave a 10% chance Harper is defeated. I just pray we have a minority, but my fear is all the weakness will be exposed in a campaign, with no where to hide.


"Live with it or get out of the way."

Nice. Like I said before, I should be working in two ridings, so with all due respect, but a sock in it or are opinions forbidden? These are my honest thoughts, not party approved propaganda.

"If you spent as much time finding fault with the Conservatives as you do attacking your own party, we'd all be better off."

Sorry, I forgot my pom poms.

Anonymous said...

I think Dion has been doing a great job since the Outremont fiasco. Steve I think before you start folding with the media as to the fate of Dion you should stick by our leader AT LEAST till the next election. Dion has always been an underdog and he's always succeeded in this position. On the Campaign trail, EVERYTHING can change. Dion shouldn't step down - the party would be weaker and whoever would become leader wouldn't be in a better place than Dion is now.

Steve V said...

"I think Dion has been doing a great job since the Outremont fiasco. Steve I think before you start folding with the media as to the fate of Dion you should stick by our leader AT LEAST till the next election."

I thought the interview in Quebec was exactly the right tone and a great move. The problem I'm having, the Dion team then turns around and shows they learned nothing in Outremont with the handling of Garneau. That issue speaks to a tribal mentality, wherein loyalty seems to come before common sense and smart politics.

On the media, I don't buy into the coverage, but I'm acknowledging that it exists and it has become ENTRENCHED. How that happened is interesting, because it seems to me Dion was the media darling last summer and that was pivotal in terms of momentum heading into the convention. Dion is not conveying a sense of leadership, whether it be his disappointing performance in parliament (he has improved, but moving to just bad from abysmal is hardly comforting), his less than riveting speeches or his clumsy persona. Dion doesn't demonstrate natural political instincts and his people skills are awkward, this sense is absorbed and he is dismissed.

Steve V said...

BTW, it would appear many others in the party have come to the same conclusion, which is why the emphasis on team, and the need for surrogates, to try and mitigate the dead weight. We have a "challenged" leader, and right now people are scrambling to find ways to compensate. Let's just think about that predicament for a moment, it's a joke really, it really is.

Dan McKenzie said...

In my post on the results in Outremont, I wrote that I didn't have the solutions, but "I'm sure you can find a whole bevy of bad ideas around". This would be one of those bad ideas.

Admitting defeat now and entering a bitter battle between Ignatieff and whoever the figures would be that would oppose his coronation is of no interest to me. Frankly, I'm not interested at this point in winning an election with anyone else as our leader.

Tarek said...

I would LOVE to see Dion on "Tout le monde en parle." It would make for a very interesting show.

Tomm said...


I kind of agree with you, but also agree with KNB.

This guy really looks like an albatross. It's too glib to say it, but remember during the leadership race a CPC report was floated that said they were most afraid of Rae and everybody started wondering whether it was true or not.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Rae clearly had the savvy to steer the party through choppy water and the rhetoric to trade barbs with PMSH.

But that is hindsight. I think that the LPC has to stick with Dion at least through one federal election or appear even more opportunistic to the Canadian electorate. The LPC has to support this guy at least through one Federal election. Remember that no matter how bad Day looked, if the Alliance Party had dumped him before an election, they would have clearly lost a whole level of support. The same would happen to the Liberal brand. Gotta show some "grit".

Anyway, that being said, I also liked Falco's comments. MP in the LPC should be free to openly debate this stuff, as long as they also show loyalty. That will show Canadian's that a real, functioning debate is occurring in the party and give Canadian's a sense of openness and an "in".


Anonymous said...

I think we are losing support in Quebec because Harper has spent an awful lot of Western Canada's tax dollars there. We sure didn't get much out of the budget in return. I think there are many who will not forget this. A vote is a vote and a seat is a seat no matter where it is.

Besides I remember the comments about Harper before the last election. Stiff as a board, personality of a statue, uptight, etc. I believe I was quite guilty of underestimating him during the last election. Seems to have pulled it off anyways. In any case, I won't soon do that again.

I do think that Dion has had some bad advise lately. You can see that.

burlivespipe said...

As a Rae delegate and someone who on the last ballot listened to Marc Garneau's passionate plea to support his candidate, I fully understand your point.
But to abandon ship -- and there are many reasons to be proud to support Dion -- would do what you dread, which is facilitate a Harper majority. It would also reduce the chances of a centrist government for a few elections.
Is it because of Trudeau and Chretien that we feel spoiled, that successful leaders come from that kind of cloth and nothing more?
Pearson never 'wowed' an audience and was likeable but not charismatic. He also had integrity and a fierce opponent who he wrestled with. After that loss in 1958 the knifes must have been out, especially considering it had been 20 years or more of uninterrupted Liberal rule. He and the party soldiered on.
It's not the time to quit -- in fact, despite a few debacles, and both Outremont and Garneau (which may have actually happened before the by-election) qualify -- but instead, to steady ourselves for the battle ahead. We face a ruthless rival, who's ethical balance seems to be divided between cold rigid reactionism and dark social conservatism. We know that Canada is not that kind of nation. To not allow Dion to learn from his mistakes and lead us onward is to surrender the opportunity to stop Harper.
It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I agree. Dion wasn't my first choice, not even second during the leadership race. I had watched him prior in HofC, QP and he was a disaster then.

Kennedy made a big boo boo. Nice isn't good enough.

Unfortunately, it seems we have to go through this.

Actually if Harper gets a majority and starts leaning to his "real" policies and agenda - my husband and I are thinking about leaving Canada.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Kennedy supporter that wants Dion to step down is one of the ones who walked over to Dion - just curious.

Anyone find Mike Duffy's glee and glint about the Liberals being down a little disturbing? Duffy's taken journalist to a new low.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 9:11

I don't think Steve went to the convention.

Mile O,

It's not losing support to the Cons. As I said in a previous blogpost, the Bloc is bleeding left and right. The Cons and the Dippers are helping themselves to mouthfuls while the Grits are scrounging for crumbs.

BTW, the team mentality may be helpful especially if Rae and Hall Findlay gets in soon. It makes Dion realize that the Grits need a shadow cabinet or a government in waiting to challenge Harper. At least, it looks better than the Question Period tag team duo of Dion and Iggy.

Steve V said...

I'm not abandoning ship, I intend to help, so this isn't a "take my ball and go home" scenario. That said, my perceptions are what they are and I will be pleasantly shocked if things turn around. The next key indicator will be the third quarter fundraising numbers, which should be released soon.

900ft Jesus said...

I think the Libs should stick with Dion. Outremont is hardly a reflection of what is happening nationally, but Harpster is trying to make it seem so. That is why he didn't run the other four by-election, which would almost certainly have given the Libs 3 wins, amking them the most popular in the by-elections if judged by # of ridings won.

The Libs need to support Dion, speak with a stronger, united voice, and speak more often.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the Canadian electorate is ready to "forgive" the Liberals yet and put them back into power. Much the same as what happened to the PCs after Mulroney, the Liberals have been "grounded" by Canadians and I don't think who they have as their leader would make much difference. The "albatross" that you should be thankful for is the one around the neck of the CPC, namely Stephen Harper. If the Conservatives had a more moderate leader then they would currently have a majority in Parliament. The next election will result in another Conservative minority, leading, in turn, to the election of a new, more moderate Conservative leader (Jim Prentice is my best guess) and then another election with a Conservative majority as the result. Dion should be viewed for what he is, a caretaker leader who is in charge while the party attempts to rebuild.

Steve V said...


I don't disagree with a lot of what you are saying, but it has moved beyond "caretaker", as others are filling the void in what was the Liberal soul. Once the foot is in, the dynamic has changed and past paradigms are irrelevant.