Thursday, October 16, 2008

Outside The Beltway

The mainstream media has made up it's mind, when really if any collective should be "soul searching", it's them because journalism is DEAD in Canada (get your own obnoxious, pontificating, fickle house in order, because it's a pig sty let me tell you). The fellow that made Liberals cringe during the last leadership race, the guy who should have dropped out if he had any scruples, the guy we all patiently waited to get off the stage in Montreal, so the embarrassment wouldn't linger, has weighed in (thank-you pariah, much appreciated). All those brave anonymous sources have weighed in, but the rank and file of the party not so much.

This is a complicated circumstance, and you entertain all possibilities, as you try to think through just what happened, and what needs to happen, moving forward. What I find stunning, the swift verdicts, the fence sitting, the whispers, the conclusive judgements, all in the span of two days.

Newsflash power hungry Liberals, Dion, or more rightly the perception of Dion, is a symptom not the cause. Maybe if Dion inherited a party that hadn't relied on fat cats, instead of PEOPLE, to fill the coffers, he could have countered the early onslaught of attacks. But no, Dion was powerless, because our party was shooting blanks, a victim of structural impotence. Nobody disputes that, so let's not do convenient historical revisions now, when it suits your fancy.

Do Canadians think more of Dion now than prior to this election? Fair to say the former, even the punditry class gives Dion some due for his performance, particularly from the debates onward. Hmmm, this was his first campaign wasn't it? Duceppe has campaigned for a generation, Harper's third, Layton has been on the stump before he could grow facial hair. The question then becomes, and this is the CRITICAL point- did Stephane Dion demonstrate a capacity to grow, did he improve over time, did he season? Yes, why yes he did, now that I think about it. Isn't that how new leaders are normally judged?

The Liberal Party has some problems, but instead of focusing on the obvious, it's "let's kill the leader" and all will be well. Let's invest all our energies in dusting Frank McKenna off, for a boring run that reeks of yester year, he can save us (I hear he has the itch, go get a yardstick then, we don't have time for ego driven, I need something to do cures). Nothing says victory like Bob Rae in Ontario, in the midst of a protracted economic slowdown? Ignatieff, oh yes, he ran such a great campaign for the leadership didn't he, that's why NOBODY moved too him in the convention, it was a gaffe fest. I'm not slagging these fine men, just reminding people that what looks like a life line, might just be a mirage, once it becomes reality. It's the quick fix mentality, change the coach and things will improve.

I don't like what I see, in fact it really is souring me on this party, seems like the same mentality I used to view with disdain. Instead of absorbing the root causes, we want to chop down the tree. How can any deep thinking individual have figured this all out, in such short order, it speaks to entrenched DIVIDED loyalties, just waiting to pounce.

I'm not sure what "senior" Liberals think, but take a gander what ordinary Liberals are saying. You know, the people that have the best intentions, not corrupted by a want of power or control, only wanting a better country, as I like to call them REAL Liberals. Oh, what do they know:


































Anybody else who feels the same, now is the time to speak up, while Dion still has a pulse:


Saskboy said...

You could add me to the corus, but I'm a real Green :-)

Although federal Liberals should look at what taking the knives out did to the Sask Liberals in the mid 1990s. said...

You suggest Dion is a symptom. I can tell you in my riding of Kelowna - Lake country the people I talked to viewed Dion as the primary reason not to vote for him but go NDP and Green. Liberals lost 6,000 votes in my riding all of it to the NDP and Green.

You suggest its too soon to judge, but it appears you have already.


Steve V said...


Not at all, but we need to put the brakes on people who are thinking of themselves first. I know the perception of Dion is a negative, but we have to be careful, when deciding where that view comes from.

penlan said...

I'm with you as well. I'm appalled by what's being posted & said in different spheres about M. Dion. It started as soon as the polls ended & the ban was lifted on a media blackout. I was so angry this morning, early, I did a post about it. You might like to go & read it Steve.

Volpe should go, or keep his mouth shut & his thoughts to himself. And he's just one of many. I'm still royally pissed off.

liberazzi said...

Steve: ENOUGH! Yes it a MSM feeding frenzy, but Dion's day are done! I dont need the MSM to tell me that. I knocked on many doors and made many phone calls this election and Dion was not leader we could sell. Liberal voters stayed at home, rather than vote for Dion. We cannot risk giving Dion another chance, as the party might completely implode in the meantime. Dion needs to give the party and potential candidates time to prepare financially and organizationally. If Dion does not leave within the next week or so it is going to get ugly. Fine, you are dissapointed, we all are, but dont let it blind you to the reality of the situation. You cannot implement policy when you are in official opposition. We need a leader that will give us a chance to win.

Steve V said...


I understand the situation, believe me, I'm not clouded by sentiment. That said, everyone needs to reflect and chill out. This is bad Liberals 101 right now, you would think people have learned a lesson or two...

Steve V said...


Let me add you to the list then.

Saskboy said...

And Scott, if you asked those people to articulate what about Dion turned them off, if they could put their finger on it, I guarantee that at least 80% of the time it would be a Conservative smear-talking point. The same thing will happen to the next Liberal leader, mark my words. It's better to fight with Dion, who has experience now, than to send another babe (or Bob) into the woods.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that Mr. Dion's integrity and vision inspired me to support the Liberal party for the first time in my life. He is a rare find for the Liberal Party - an honest politician. I truly hope he stays and have emailed the Liberal Party to express my views.

liberazzi said...

Steve: I believe I share your vision and your idealism, but Dion is not the man to sell these ideals. I am fine to give time to Dion to make his way out gracefully (two weeks), but I am getting frustrated with Libloggers who stubbornly want him to stay. The question about Dion has been decided its now time to rebuild the party. Yes I am worried that a Manley or a McKenna might take us in a more conservative direction, but it will still be better than what we have now in power.

Steve V said...


Further to your point, insert the other two principles into victory in 2006. By the end of the year Ignatieff would have been an aloof, arrogant carpetbagger, who lacks practicality while Rae would have been the disasterous Premier, who gave us all "Rae days", doing to Canada what he did to Ontario. All that would have happened, and our response would have been neutered. And, who was the guy who proposed a carbon tax during the leadership? Oh yes, I remember now.

Steve V said...


Fair enough, I appreciate different perspectives here, and to be honest, I'm of two minds. Let it all sink in, then formulate a judgement, it's a wiser path in my estimation than kneejerk discarding and then back into another money draining exercise that will leave the next leader hobbled.

penlan said...

Thanks for the link Steve.
All this blood bashing of Dion is making me crazy!

sharonapple88 said...

Whatever happens, I hope from this point onwards they take out the carrot and the whip. The carrot is there for motivation. The whip for discipline. This is starting to be more than embarrassing... it's shameful and above all counter-productive

Anonymous said...

I have been an NDP supporter my whole life. I voted NDP because I believe in my MP who has served my community very well for a number of years. I couldn't vote for the liberal candidate because he did not give me any sense that he understood the riding in which I live.

That said, I was verbally supportive of M Dion and the LPC to everyone I knew who did not live in my neighbourhood. While that doesn't seem like much, those who know me were very shocked.

More importantly, I have never been a member of any political party, but I will join the liberal party to give my support for M Dion to remain as its leader.

Oh, and Liberazzi, *I* sold M Dion to my Conservative niece from Alberta whose husband works on the oilsands.

I truly think that M Dion's biggest drawback was the lack of support from the LPC as a whole.

I see more than just a leader in M Dion. I see a leader with a heart. A leader who will put Canada and Canadians ahead of big business and the oil companies.


Steve V said...

Just one more point for the naysayers. Don't you think it's a positive to give the rank and file a chance to weigh in here, before head office makes THEIR decision. I mean, here we are two days on, and people have made up their minds, without consulting anyone. It's necessary to let us all offer opinions first, then see where we are at. A true grassroots party doesn't operate with all the ASSUMPTIONS I've heard today.

Steve V said...


Well that is quite a testament. Thanks for that...

Blues Clair said...

Depends how this plays out... but I will stop supporting the Liberal party if they throw Dion out. I saw plenty of potential during the campaign.

I read an article in the Globe and Mail which stated that Ruby Dhalla is interested in running for the leadership. Nothing against her, I think she is a decent MP... but seriously, are Liberals losing their minds?

I'm disgusted with the Liberal Party of Canada right now.

Constant Vigilance said...

Steve. You are fired up. Good. We will need this sort of energy regardless as to who is leader for the next election. Far and Wide is morphing into a forum for a grassroots debate on this issue.

I replied to an email from the Liberal Party President asking for more money by letting him know it depends on M. Dion and, if he steps down, what the optics are when he does so.

I have plunked out my reasoning in favour of Mr. Dion staying on here:

Gayle said...

Steve - I am trying to get out of this. Stop sucking me back in with all your excellent posts!!!!

I have to say though my hatred for Harper is really being tempered by my disgust with the liberal party vultures right now...

Anonymous said...

What makes me sick about this whole business is that Dion has been sabotaged by competing interests in HIS OWN PARTY from DAY ONE.

Yes, the Cons had a great deal to do with painting him as an ineffectual leader through their disgusting attack ads right after the leadership campaign.

But they HAD HELP from the myriad of bitter and cowardly "anonymous" and "unnamed" Liberal party "sources" who were constantly undermining his leadership. For these bitter people,the campaign never ended so they waged their own whisper campaign through the media.

The Liberals share a great deal of the blame for this mess. And what makes me angry is that They. Just. Don't. Get. That.

liberazzi said...

OMG, I cannot read this anymore. We just got slaughtered and you all want to sing kumbaya. I'll say it again "go on and bleed". The results speak for themselves. We hung on to Turner, thinking he had "potential". Hmmmm. Yes, the leadership contenders are chomping at the bit. Yes, the MSM are dicks. Yes, Dion should be allowed to leave gracefully, but lets understand first and foremost that Dion needs to leave and he will! The discussion is not whether Dion is going to stay, because he's not. The discussion should be about rebuiling the party and job one is picking a new leader. We are talking about politics...right? So you can all sit around and cry about how's its so unfair and those horrible vultures or you can come to terms with reality. And quite frankly, what do you really think we would be talking about today? Madonna's pending divorce?

Beijing York said...

Hey GAB, I am practically of the same profile as you. But in my case, I had a sure hit NDP incumbent who has pissed me off so I threw my support behind the Liberal candidate. My husband who is a red Liberal voted NDP and was shocked by my decision. I told him that knowing that my candidate had a lock, I was going to give my vote to the candidate that actually tried repeatedly to engage me (multiple real person phone calls) and came to my door. And that was LPC candidate Dan Hurley.

Canadian politics is just that. It's a combination of grass roots door knocking and getting to know your constituents with presenting the Party team and leader on the national level. Harper framed the election on a US styled presidential campaign. Layton fell for that framing and it pissed me off.

Equally important was the obvious signs that the LPC machinery was not doing it's 100% best to back up Dion. It was bad enough that the media and Harper were smearing Dion for more than two years but to see his own party fail him was despicable.

I really thought that the LPC would be decimated like the PC were under Kim Campbell so I was thrilled that my worst case scenario didn't come true. We are a multi-party system and I find that vast superior to any US bi-party system, so I sighed with relief that the Liberals did as well as they did.

Paul Martin was supposed to be the fiscal manager and further to the right saviour of the LPC and that failed miserably. Trying to mimic the CPC by electing a more right wing leader is going to alienate many LPC supporters so those insiders should just jump ship and join the CPC.

Anyway, I wrote a long letter to Dion and the LPC thanks to Zorpheous'lead. All this back biting among Liberals only serves Harper's agenda to destroy that party by a thousand cuts.

Anonymous said...

First off, a caveat - I am very angry, so angry I was literally unable to speak yesterday. I will try to temper my words, but certainly this may very well be my last word on politics period. That is how disgusted I am. Believe me, this is not a knee jerk response and I have a lot invested in this interest over a lifetime. I have taught my children to treat it as the duty it is. I have blogged daily since 2003, more so on US blogs simply because the situation seemed to call for attention there to stop it from spreading. I have been told off, told to go home, to mind my own business; I have right here on Canadian blogs been called backwards and retarded by fellow progressives. This turned me off and left me daunted but I always persevered because my environmental concerns are so great, I really don't know what else to do but urge for change in the political arena. However, in early 2007, I folded my American tent and came home. After a hard push to elect a Dem congress in 2006, nothing changed, nothing! This tide has now swept Canada in the exact same way. Progressive parts of the country have gone blue, more every year.

There are very serious problems. In order of dangerousness: Harper tops the list, the media is a close second, Layton follows with his butt licking, Anonymous senior Liberals are right behind him with their tongues out, closely followed by the fossil fuel industry who is behind most of this I would wager, and last but not least and arguably at the top of the list as well as bringing up the rear are the forty percent of Canadians who couldn't be bothered to get off their fat *sses and vote. Lazy, uninformed, easily misled, uncaring and apathetic - that is how I describe my countrymen today. I am appalled. We sit here in our smug, healthcare fortress, thinking we are so much better than the rest, watching the Americans have their democracy dismantled by thugs right before our eyes, we pass judgement and conlude we are better. Newsflash - Canada you are worse; you should know from the example. A smart man learns from his mistakes, a wise man learns from others mistakes. This old saying illustrates handily that we are neither.

As far as I can see, we are fighting a war on four fronts. Harper, the media, Layton and the fossil fuel industry. At the same time, there are those in our own trenches ready to knife us in the back. Those blaming Dion are metaphorically like the flailing arms of a drowning man. Stay away from those people, they are crazy, throw them a lifeline and hope they grab it but if you go near that, they will pull you under.

Anyone who thinks a new leader will fix this is deluded. It does not matter who is at the helm, they will receive the same treatment - a headbashing. At the same time, it just so happens we have the right guy already, it is the party itself and especially those who want anonymity who need revising. I was thinking this morning, that I wonder if there really are anonymous senior Liberals and it is a sad commentary to think the media and Harper would concoct this but I would not put this past them, they fight very dirty. If they do exist, they should be sent out to fundraise.

The biggest fossil award goes to the environmental groups themselves. Assholes, all of you. Cowards. We finally got a major political party to come forward with something with teeth and a leader who has literally put his life on the line for this, his career, his reputation. Where were you? Like the reinforcements who didn't arrive or came too late and found a bloodbath, that's what you are. An F, that is what you get from me.

Anyone from the centre to the left who does not realize that the Liberals are the only party to support is deluded. None of the others have any chance of winning. To sit smugly in the Green and NDP party and think you are superior to those nasty Liberals is simply ignorant thinking. The facts are not in your favour. The Liberal Party, love them or hate them, is the only vehicle for change for the better in this country. That makes them worth backing, worth revising, worth your time and effort. For me, I am in the mood to quit right now and back no one. That is my message to the Liberal Party today after these losses - that you would fight each other is reprehensible. We are in so much f'ing trouble right now. Wake up. Wake the hell up!

We didn't have time even if we did win this election. Now we are facing another two year wait, maybe more. I bet we have no money. We have twenty less MP's. And you want to take off your leader's head and have a leadership race? You did not ever stop the last one, did you? That one was such an exercise in unity and so good for the coffers, wasn't it? My God, everyone has gone completely mad, that is all I can conclude from this.

Steve, thank you for your excellent reporting. I found your blog to be one of the best sources of information. Kudos. I agree with all the rest of you. Some very good comments here today. Those anonymous liberals should be forced to read every single one of them.

- Blackstar

Steve V said...


Your forte :)

This is good stuff, no matter the side.

Dr. Tux said...

Count me in as well. I stand by Dion.

Anonymous said...

On CPAC today with Sen. David Smith, Liberal campaign co-chair

van Dusen: who is responsible for the Liberal election results?
Smith: ...yadda yadda shift

Not, we could have done more. Not, we failed to explain the Green Shift better. Not, we are responsible in any way whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. It helped me realize that I wasn't the only one who thinks Dion (if he so chooses and I wouldn't blame him if he left) should stay on. If the LPC throws him under the bus I'll probably send back my membership card. If Dion stays on I will probably up my Victory Fund contribution.

I just keep thinking that in '04 Harper stayed on and that this could be Dion's '04.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what you say. I've voted Tory for two elections, but for me, it is as much about being against complacent/corrupt governments as it is about ideology--which is to say, I imagine at some point wanting to be able to vote LPC again, as I have in the past. I frankly--and I'm not being self-serving or snide in this--think it would have been best for the Liberals and the country had it been a Harper majority, because the hot-house of perpetual electioneering which is the minority scenario, couple with the internal divisions you mention, mean the kinds of structural changes you rightly argue for are almost certain not to happen. Dion is not the whole story at all...

But here's the thing: the Liberal Party of Canada now holds 9 seats west of North Bay. Holy S---! With that as the status quo the knives are going to come out, even if, in so doing, they perpetuate the malaise which has produced such symptoms.


D. Marcel DeCoste

Scotian said...

It seems to me that certain Liberals are more interested in claiming a silver bullet solution by pinning it all on Dion instead of looking at any other explanations, like the history of leadership infighting, the lack of support for a new leader, like not being willing to defend that leader when attacked by outside the party opponents, etc. I do not know whether I think Dion should stay or go, I do think though more time needs to be taken to consider how much of the loss was directly due to Dion and how much of it was due to these other factors. It might also be nice to let grassroots level Liberals have a say in this too, which when considering needing to develop the grassroots of the Party is a clear need to meet strikes me as a good idea.

Another consideration, Harper spent many millions of dollars to besmirch Dion and yet Dion was making good headway against it in this election cycle, right up until the Murphy/Duffy/Harper attack last week with the taped interview misstarts being released, something not typical to see and something clearly aimed at helping Harper and undercutting Dion's momentum. Dion was breaking the frame Harper had around him and I don't see that stopping just because of these election results, especially given the combination of a fractured vote and the horrible turnout numbers. Whoever would replace Dion would be ripe from the same attack approach Harper clearly sees as a primary tool, and the Libs lack the money to run counter ads to prevent such framing between election cycles. So this approach is losing strength with Dion and can be further nullified if Dion is able to continue with his improved presentation, whereas with a new leader it starts all over again. This strikes me as a good reason to not dump Dion immediately after this election as well.

Good comment you wrote here Steve V.


I was dark since the night before the election because I got hit with a rather nasty virus attack, I only got things back into working order earlier this evening. It would have been nice to have been around for the post election discourse and dissections, but what can a person do in such a situation? Well, this is all I have to say for the moment, I've got other medical matters to deal with as well (not as serious as earlier this year, but still taking a toll on me) and the combination is leaving me with little energy to compose. I'll still be reading along though...

Anonymous said...

I just sent an email to Mr. Dion at thanking him for everything he has done for our party and country both before and after taking the helm of leadership. I also told him that should he choose to stay on as leader of our party he has my full support.

A View From The Left said...

So do the number of us grassroots people outnumber the number of "anonymous senior Liberals" yet? Because it's certainly looking that way to me right now.

Though perhaps more importantly, will the media notice?

Constant Vigilance said...

Thanks to everyone who has taken part in this thread. It has been a moving experience in many ways and a truly democratic experience.

But I am done wit this debate. There is an incipient autocrat to fight and this is not getting the job done.

I am hopeful we can do this with Mr. Dion at the lead but regardless, I am turning my attention the the enemy. Harper, his media enablers and his useful idiots (who deep down know who they are)

Anon 12:33 had a good point. Send the man an email letting him know how you feel

Gayle said...

liberazzi - I think you are missing at least part of the point.

Dion has the right to stay or to go, as he sees fit. I suspect he will resign and the party will find a new leader. I do believe he should be permitted to make this decision privately, and with dignity, because no matter what you heard on the ground, this man fought hard for his party and he is entitled to respect for that.

The problem is that that is not the problem. This party disgusts me right now with the backstabbing and undermining that went on.

I donated to the maximum amount this fall because I wanted the LPC to have a shot at defeating Harper. I also talked two of my collegues into donating as well. After that, some stupid anonymous insiders decided to blab to the media about Dion's performance.

I do not know if what they said was true, and I do not care. It is a complete slap in the face to people like me who donate our hard earned money, and people like you who donate their own time to try to get this party back into power. No one could possibly have said those things to the media without being aware they would hurt Dion's public image, and any chance he had at winning this election.

Now the idiots are at it again. Why on earth should I continue to donate to a party that is more interested in infighting than it is in defeating Harper? This party is severely damaged, and until they admit that fact, and start trying to address those issues, electing a new leader will not mean a thing.

Dion's image may have hurt the LPC during this election, but his image was one that was encouraged by factions within the party.

Jennifer Smith said...

I officially joined the Liberal Party right after the last leadership convention, partly because of Dryden's stirring speech, but also because I saw real hope that the Liberal Party of my youth - the party of Trudeau and the Just Society - might be experiencing a renaissance and that the Chretien cronies and Martin accountants were on their way out.

I was half right. The left wing of the Liberal Party achieved a temporary victory with the nomination of Stephane Dion, but from the very beginning the old boys were plotting his demise.

I would love to see him stay too, but with the party establishment constantly sabotaging his efforts he can only continue to be a liability.

I will be making every effort to get myself assigned as a delegate to the next convention, and will do my level best to nominate someone from the left-of-centre. At this point the choices seem limited to Rae or Kennedy, and I'm not holding my breath for either. But I will try.

If they crown Ignatieff or Manley, or maybe McKenna, I suspect I will be giving up my Liberal membership in favour of the NDP.

And thanks for the email address. I'll be sending him a note shortly.

Deb Prothero said...

Hi Steve;

Thought I'd add my voice to the chorus.

And I'll be writing to the party. Good suggestion.

Calgary Junkie said...

Good grief, he's got practically zero support from sitting MPs. Take a page from Stockwell Day. Resign, and then run again for the leadership.

penlan said...

BLACKSTAR - Do you have your own blog? If so could you post a link, please?

Ames Way said...

Anyone who went door to door in the election can tell you that Dion was a huge albatross for the candidates.
I like Dion and his policies but I think that he has to go I don't think that we can win with him as leader.

Mark Richard Francis said...

Steve! You forgot my post from the other day:

Dalton McGuinty's head was placed on the chopping block the first time he lost to the ON PCs. He got in a car and visited every riding assoc. and saved his own butt. I bet no one in the ON Lib Party is regretting that now...

Constant Vigilance said...

If Mr. Dion does resin, which I hope he does not, I hope Ken Dryden wins. I would look forward to the Conservatives "Not A Goalie" website and commercials.

liberazzi said...

I am dealing with the cold hard facts. We lost, we lost big. Dion is leaving, but apparently he needs to make a deal to have the rest of his leadership debt paid off. Fine. Ill say again, Dion was not the only problem, but he was a major factor in the lose. This is indisputable. I really do not care what the MSM have to say or what the insiders have to say, I know from my own small experience in this election what the reaction to Dion was and yes I put as much money as I could towards the party. I want to win, so that I/we have a chance to have our vision our policies implemented. If you want to sit by and waste your votes on the Greeens or the Dips, be my guest, go ahead and waste your vote, but you will be no further ahead. There is no and will be no great grassroots movement towards keeping Dion. I say to you all, move on, keep working to have your voices heard, keep working to make this a better party, but realize, please realize, it will not be with Dion. The cure all is not a new leader, but it is a necessary start.

Sinestra said...

You can add me to your list as well.

James Curran said...

Um. I think it's safe to say you can put me on your list.

Jerry Prager said...

Dion brought the Liberals across the green divide, maybe he can do more, maybe he can't, but if the party picks Manley or McKenna, my guess is the Greens will start electing MP's if the bankers and republicans take over the party and place big business between the people and a greener fairer Canada.
It would be nice to see the rank and file rise up to defend Dion: kind of like the chorus that rose up to ensure May entered the debates. The libs are too top heavy with power brokers.

Jerry Prager said...

Lycan Stark,
If you think there are knives waiting for Dion wait til you see the progressive tories coming for Harper's scalp, he'll reap what he has sown, which is malice. The majority of Canadians will never support him, and the sense of his disproportional representation will ensure that a democratic reform movement that is not a mask for the oil companies, will rise up to guarantee that parliament represents the majority, not the minority, except via equity in society at large.

Gayle said...

lib - once again you miss the point.

Unless the LPC cures what ails them, what happened to Dion will happen to the next leader, and the leader after that.

I maintain one reason the "not a leader" thing had legs was because there were so many anonymous liberals willing to endorse that impression.

Focusing on Dion as the problem will not get the LPC elected.

Mike said...

I can offer no solutions, but, for whatever reason - Conservative smears or genuine impressions - Dion is not liked by the electorate.

I echo Scott Ross' sentiments, except here in Ontario, those Liberals voted Conservative, not NDP or Green.

It hardly matters how many Liberal insiders and partisan Liberal bloggers you get on your list of supporters. What counts is what the voters think and in my opinion, based on what I saw and heard on the ground here in Ottawa, the Liberals will never get elected with Dion as leader.

Its a bitter truth about a seemingly principled man but its true. And at this point the why doesn't matter. If it was Conservative smears, then it worked, and part of the blame was with the Liberal party themselves choosing to ignore the smears rather than address them head on.

Dion is damaged goods. Either change him (a tough job now) or get a new leader.

Two words:

Robert Stansfield.

Jerry Prager said...

The Cons won 905 because those happen to be ridings in which the middle class is prone to sacrifice everyone but themselves and especially the poor and future generations in order to protect their asses here and now. They did it with Mike Harris and ended up ashamed of themselves, they'll feel the same way once Harper and Flaherty begin sacrificing the underclasses as they implement their version of corporate socialism .

Gayle said...

mike - the "why" DOES matter.

The LPC cannot continue this self-destructive path.

For one thing, they are broke, and this current crop of anonymous insiders is doing their best to ensure the party stays that way.

Anonymous said...

Count me in as well Steve V. I did send a letter to Mr. Dion but sent it to the contact address on the Liberals web site because thats the only address I could find. I will now send that same letter to Mr. Dions personal web site. Keep up the great posts.


liberazzi said...

I am tired of this discussion now, Dion is going, get over it.

David Graham - said...

Count me in, Steve, my post-mortem post from Wednesday signals my desire to keep Dion.

I agree with some of the other commenters. I went door-to-door throughout this campaign, and I heard "Dion is not a leader" more times than I can count, yet not one person ever once gave me a rational reason for saying it when probed that wasn't straight out of a Conservative ad. He is the victim of the greatest smear campaign in Canadian history by both the CPC and the MSM who make huge money from CPC attack ads, and there is no reason whatsoever to believe a future LPC leader would suffer any different a fate in the current climate.

If Dion has made any mistakes as leader of the party, it has been in not firing the entire upper crust of the party that has done nothing but undermine him since December of 2006. Dion won the leadership in a battle of grassroots vs the old guard, but the war never ended and the counter-offensive is in full swing.

The two problems in the Liberal party are money and loyalty, dumping our fresh leader who, in spite of his own base sitting on their hands as they believed opponents' attack ads, kept the most undemocratic PM in history to a minority, with a reduced raw vote count of his own, will solve neither of these problems.

If we want to resolve this problem, we must concentrate all of our collective efforts on one single task: fundraising. Anybody who believes in Liberal values or the Liberal party that has a dime to give the party must give that dime so that we can fight on a level playing field. Debilitating the party right now will not get us there.

Anonymous said...

To those who think the Liberals got "smashed" this election I think you are wrong. In truth nothing really changed. Sure Harper got a stronger minority but it is still a minority nonetheless.

As we return to parliament the general dynamics will, I think, be the same as when we left the last one. The only difference now is that Dion, should he choose to stay, can begin to oppose right out of the gates.

I also have been wondering about the possibility of Harper losing an early confidence vote at which point the Governor General could ask Mr. Dion to give it a shot. The progressive parties might just be willing to let him have at it for awhile to pass some legislation on issues they all share in common.

Militant Dipper said...

OMG Madonna's getting a divorce!!!
Im with Jennifer Smith, I thought Dion's election and the rejection of Ignatieff meant we might see a more left leaning Liberal party.It never happenned. Whatever you think about what Dion should do and I gotta say both sides make a pretty good case. He should be given the opportunity to make the decision and treated with some dignity.BTW is this the end of all coalition talk?

Anonymous said...

"Dion is not liked by the electorate." I would say rather that, Quebec excepted, they don't understand him. Not in terms of language communication, but in terms of ideology. For whatever reason, he has failed to communicate in a forceful and positive manner what the Liberals stand for that is different from the Neocons, and why we should care.

Still it's not all Dion's fault although he could have done something to change the dynamics. Groundwork? Forget it! It's almost inexistent. At least in my region. Perhaps Liberals having been so long in government previously, they have forgotten how to do the nitty gritty and have become too 'bureaucratic'.

Anyway, it's all too pathetic!

Gayle said...

lib - why is it you refuse to acknowledge the party has bigger problems than Dion?

liberazzi said...

Gayle, have you read my comments fully? When did I say that Dion was the only problem?

Steve V said...


With this immediate obsession about a race, I guarantee, you and I will be sitting here this time next year, and NONE of the institutional problems of the party will have been dealt with, exactly the same, with the added benefit of people more worried about their debts than filling the party coffers. What you're saying is valid, but you have to accept the fact that another race means none of the other issues are addressed, and in the final analysis, it's a bigger problem than the man himself.

Gayle said...

What Steve said.

You seem to believe new leadership is going to cure the LPC.

And it really, really, won't.

David Graham - said...

One of the big problems we face is the Liberal party's chronic case of what I call 'messiah syndrome'. Anyone who thinks anyone -- Frank McKenna, Brian Tobin, or even Nelson Mandela -- can walk into the leader's office and turn the party around are completely delusional.

The problems are deep. There are too many "me"s in the party and not enough "we"s in the party and as long as that's the case, we will be sitting in an increasingly small corner of the House.

Steve V said...


Yes, an anti-abortion, long in the tooth, my French is atrocious savior will surely cure our ills.

Seems to me, we still don't get it.

Demosthenes said...

An excellent post, though I'd replace all those 1996-era "here" links with the names of those who are advocating.

You aren't wrong, either. The next guy will receive the same treatment, whether he tries to hew to the "center" or not.

Remember the Democrats.

Remember 1994-2006.

Triangulation DOES. NOT. WORK.

Demosthenes said...

I agree with some of the other commenters. I went door-to-door throughout this campaign, and I heard "Dion is not a leader" more times than I can count, yet not one person ever once gave me a rational reason for saying it when probed that wasn't straight out of a Conservative ad.

People don't want to believe that they are affected by advertising. But they are. And they were on Dion.

The next guy will face the same fate, unless the party can come together behind him and respond as one voice to the attacks. But this mess is showing that the party can only come together to blame, not support.

(One can only imagine what Harper would do to Premier Rae or Ignatieff-the-elitist.)

Anonymous said...

I also joined the PLC after DION was nominated as Leader. I also donated $$ for the first time in my life to any political party. I knew DION would put all his heart into the next election. Too bad, the rest of the his party didn't back him up.

He deserves way more credit than he is given. A sad day indeed if he does resign.

The media destroyed him.

and like Jennifer Smith who posted above, I will also try and be a delegate at the next convention. There is no way I want a McKenna, Ignatieff or Manley running the show! If so, the Liberals are finished.

JimmE said...

This whole thing makes me sick. The problem is with the Liberal Party. This from a fella who got involved in 1968, someone who's done every job in god only knows how many campaigns. Power papers over all the tears & cracks. My sentiment is with your POV Steve, but, sadly, the facts as they are emerging seem to point to the party eating its young. From the leaks during the campaign, and since point to Mr Dion calling the shots, in this campaign; & from what we've seen he does not have the political savvy of Paul Martin. M. Dion needed a "We have a lot of work to do" speech election night, he needed to go to work election night firming up his support, he needed to face the press the next day, he needed to get on the road like, (as has been pointed out) Dalton.
Sadly he didn't do any of those things, or importantly any other things that would make this discussion mute.
M. Dion while I love his commitment, honour, & his policy, did not have the political smarts to have thought that this might be an outcome & to have already have a plan to deal with it.
Sadly, this race is underway.
Oh, & from what I've seen from the outside, & what I know from family & friends in other intra-party politics is the same all over.

liberazzi said...

Again read my comments, I am not saying that a leadership race will be a cure all. However, it is completely delusional to think we can win with Dion. We lost over 800,000 votes in this past election. Dion is/was the leader, he has to fall on his sword. I am sorry, but I am not giving him a pass on this one.

Take yourself out of this blogger bubble we are in and get into the simplistic mindset of the voter. Politics has become a game of American Idol. You can say that is a sad commentary of society, but I heard at the doors and I heard it on the phones about Dion. Dion has trouble communicating in English and he is an awkward sort. You can say that is a terrible thing to say and yes it is, but that's what voters were thinking. Furthermore, the minute, the second the Green Shift was equated as being a new tax it was game over (I agreed with the GS and its merits, so lets not get into that). I gave Dion the benefit of the doubt throughout the summer, I supported him throughout the election, but he failed, so I am not going to give him a pass on this.

The impression that I am getting is that it is everyone else's fault, the MSM, the insiders, the organization. Fine. However, no one in the blogger bubble is blaming Dion? Huh? Moreover, I appreciate that Dion was able to shift to the left to some degree, but the Liberal Party is not a left wing party. The Liberal Party is a center to slightly center left party, sometimes to the right. This fear that a new leader will move us more to the center, well ya, because that is what the party is all about, that's where the votes are. If you want to be a part of a left-wing party, you are in the wrong group.

A new leader on his or her own will not rebuild the party. However, a new leader can be the driving force behind change as long as everyone or most everyone believes in his message, his efforts. The party may have been undermining Dion from the start, because they did not have confidence in him from the start. They felt it was a fluke that he won the race. Quite frankly, you all know we would be here in a couple of years. Do you think a Rae, Iggy, McKenna will face the same challenges? There will always be the losers that will sulk and complain in the background, but with Dion it was simply a lack of confidence in his leadership. Plus, there too many fumbles from the start. Part of that was his team, but who picked the team? The leader.

A new leader is a selling point, like a new gadget. If you believe in your product, then you will go out and be able to say look at our shiny new leader, wouldn't you like to be a part of our new team $$$. The voting public looked and heard Dion and went phwwwh.

I gave Dion the benefit of the doubt. I gave my money and I gave my time. I supported him until the end, but the end is nigh. I no longer support him and I am moving on. You can either continue to support the party and the new leader and help us rebuild or you can choose the NDP, Greens or whatever.

This delusional, eutopian belief with regards to Dion in the blogger bubble is quite astonishing, mind boggling. Yes in a perfect world a man of his integrity, his beliefs and a man of his intelligence should become PM. Welcome to the real world.

Gayle said...

I am not disagreeing with you liberazzi, but this full force attack on Dion from the caucus and the anonymous liberals is disgusting.

Like I said earlier, let the man make his decision in private, and let him leave with dignity. If you want to express your concerns he will not win a leadership review, do that privately.

The fact these morons are speaking publicly on national television and to the national newspapers makes this party appear to be exactly what so many conservatives say it is - arrogant and in it only for the love of power.

If the grassroots does not speak out against this conduct, nothing will change and you will be right back here in 2 years.

When a new leader is chosen, support him - even if he is not "your guy", and even if you do not like his policies. Do not go to the media with your anonymous complaints. That serves only to undermine him or her in the worst possible way.

In the meantime, the Liberal Party of Canada does not get one more dime of my money.

liberazzi said...

Yes, Joe Volpe et al are doucebags in the highest order. Dion is a decent man and will do the right thing, as he is set out to do on Monday. I agree a new leader needs to kick ass when he gets in and remove the weeds. Joe Volpe unfortunately is going nowhere at the moment, but I suppose could always be kicked out of caucus. I am actually glad that this election got rid of a couple other windbags such as Telegdi and Turner, but it did not get rid of all of them. Denis Coderre would be at the top of my list. In any event, I hope Dion sticks around, because we need his ideas, his passion.

liberazzi said...

Ok, I am going to watch my other losing team now, the Maple Leafs. Not sure if they know how to rebuild either.

Möbius said...

Yes, an anti-abortion, long in the tooth, my French is atrocious savior will surely cure our ills.

Hey, Mandela is not that old, and his French is passable!

It seems to me that at least some of the party understands the problem. It's not all the leader's fault, it's the policies. When you give up on the centre to centre-right vote, you will lose.

Möbius said...

Ok, I am going to watch my other losing team now, the Maple Leafs.

They've already been mathematically eliminated from the play-offs.

Anonymous said...

"When you give up on the centre to centre-right vote, you will lose."

I wish someone could explain to how Dion wasn't a centrist. Is it because he had an environmental plank (that was economically sound) that he was branded as some wingnut left wing pinko commie? Or, was it because he thought social justice was a value worth pursuing? Anyone?

The Mound of Sound said...

Steve, a lot of us aren't acting precipitously at all. In fact we held our tongues for weeks, months even lest we undermine Dion's chances. What our party needs now are a lot more Keith Daveys and a lot fewer simps. The Libs have prevailed when they were hardnosed, not when they swooned over a guy like Mr. Dion who can't deliver. Sorry, pal, but it's a bloodsport. A leader has to meet a list of qualities, not merely excel in a few. The Canadian public has washed its hands of Mr. Dion. If you care about the Liberal Party of Canada you'll accept what that means.

Tania said...

Funny, I just received an email from the LPC asking for a donation, as "tomorrow begins today".

I replied stating my tomorrow will start Monday after 2 pm est when Dion states what he'll do as leader.

So goes Dion, so go I.

I stated that as a grassroots Liberal who donated monthly to the maximum, I may cancel my donations and my membership as I'm disgusted by anonymous liberal sources and the backstabbing behaviour of MP's who put personal power ahead of the good of the country and in the process hung an honourable man who had the best interests of the country out to slaughter.

Let the Liberal Party of Canada continue to rely on a handful of people, those anonymous liberals, with all the money fill their coffers. See how far it gets them.

I donated without qualms because I believed in Stephane.

The problems with the Liberals don't begin and end with the changing of the leader.

Who's to say with a different leader we wouldn't have been demoralized to 2 seats in the House?

The Liberals are on probation with me. Monday decides it all.

Carrie said...

Basic voter here, and a fan of Dion.

I trumpeted Dion to anyone I could. I kept up with Liblogs. I have never been so moved by any politician as Dion since the Trudeau years. So, I voted Liberal. I also liked my Liberal MP candidate so that was a bonus. But last election (provincial?) I voted Liberal and have no clue about the guy. I just stuck to the brand, because of Dion more than anything in the end.

So here we have someone with all the best qualities but lacking one very important quality, at least for being in public - personal strength to fight for himself.

By the end of election day, I was so worn out from the stress of fighting Dion's battle for him (talking to people, following what he says etc., willing him to win!) that I was done. We cannot have a leader who takes THAT MUCH ENERGY out of his voters. I mean, I am worn out! Love the guy, but hiding in Stornoway? Is he thinking of those of us who voted for him? No, he's thinking of himself. Fine. Rightly so. But still, he could have taken 2 minutes to speak to press without saying much of anything except thanks and i'll be in touch. But he hasn't.

So that made me take a very hard look at what I've been voting for and against. NDP with Layton/Chow really ticked me off. Conservatives...never. They hate people. Why does anyone ever vote for them? It's not like it's going to turn out well for you unless you're rich. Green, I liked May but the party is too small to have any benefit or effect. So what does that leave? Liberal. Again.

My number one concern, always, is Healthcare. Did anyone focus on that? Nope. Did Chretien/ Martin do anything about it? Nope. My local hospital has shut down emergency several times in the last 12 months. This scares the crap out of me! I have to drive 2 hours to see specialists I need because my city ...everyone is too busy.

I watched Sicko today, finally. Michael Moore. Did you see that? Did you see France, the UK? Right. There is no reason Canada cannot improve on healthcare. There just isn't any party promising to address it. Oh, except, NDP.

Right, so, if they turf Dion (which they will and need to) I can't care anymore. Love the man but really, he has already checked out on all of us voters by not speaking. I mean, good God, wtf?!

If the Liberals don't make healthcare their focus, if they don't start doing their job and fighting back against Harper for Canadians during house sessions etc., if they don't stop infighting....I'm voting NDP. And I am going to keep voting NDP until the Liberals get their shit together. Because I, like every other Canadian polled, when asked what is most important to them, I choose healthcare. I need it. My parents needed it. They died last year. I had to fight like hell for them. I am PISSED. And I'm not the only base supporter.

I was raised by a federal government manager who loved Trudeau. I grew up Liberal, always vote Liberal. Now, i'm in my 40's, sick of this crap, and won't vote Liberal again until they hit on my demands. And my demands are the same as Canadians. Forget what the party wants, forget what liblog bloggers want, CANADIANS want a functioning party that will fix healthcare and sustain it!

God, I am so tired and fed up. This just burned me out on Liberals. It's freaking pathetic. And stop considering Rae or Iggy. For heaven's sake....Ontario, USA, bad bad bad ideas. You will never win with them. Ugh!!!!!

Steve V said...

Sorry, pal, but it's a bloodsport."

I just love this assumption of some kind of naiviety, like anyone who thinks this STINKS doesn't get the game. Anytime you want a game of chess let me know, I'll kick your ass :)


And, there it is, see how far this party gets with the insiders alone, in case they haven't noticed without the grassroots now, you're spinning your wheels. It's about time we had a seat at the table, instead of pats on the head, let the grownups decide.

kristin said...

wow, i didn't even think it would make a difference but I sent an e-mail to the address earlier this afternoon.

kristin said...

one person has said that at the doors he found that Dion was not a leader he could sell. Funny. Because on my first ever campaign, I was selling him on a daily basis. I was proud to be speaking about him and felt energized by every discussion.

A true Dion Liberal, I was not liberal or politically active until he became leader.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve. I get it. We all get it. The sad fact is that no matter how intellectual Stephane is, and no matter how dedicated Stephane is, Stephane Dion was not seen as a leader by enough Canadians. Sure, he was seen as a leader by those of us who chose to see him as one and believed that he had the qualities required to win the country back out of the hands of Harpo Co., the sad fact is it didn't happen. The biggots came out in droves and attacked his french accent. CTV skewered him when he didn't understand a question posed in english.

Now I ask. Mulroney was from Quebec, did he have an accent to use against him? Did PET have an accent that could be used against him? Both were fluent in both official languages and what did it get them? Quebec!! What won over Canadian voters will get 'em by the throat Jean was around? He's got nutz the size of 10 pin bowling balls, that's what. And what did that get him? Quebec and the rest of Canada. Why? Because Canadians like a good scrapper just as much if not more than they like somoene who can speak english (or french) fluently and without an accent.

As much as I admire Stephane Dion, he's not the whole package. Iggy won't get it done for the same reasons Stephane didn't (biggots aside), nor will Rae due to the extra baggage he carries from his NDP days in Ontario. Can McKenna? Maybe.

Were I a betting man, I'd put my money on Justin Trudeau. Sure, we'll hear the bitching and sniping "oh no, not another Trudeau" but the reality is, he's got what it takes to bring back the youth and female votes.

We need someone with the parts to provide a glamourous alternative (for the shallow people who don't appreciate intelligence). We need somoene who has the smarts to tackle Harpo head on and call him out for being the incompetent lying piece of crap that he is.

We all know that Harpo has a talent for coming down on the wrong side of issues and we know he is a liar (albeit a bad one). What we need is someone who has the intelligence and elloquence to call him out publicly and make the charges stick, once and for all.

Anonymous said...

Re Liberazzi's post of 6:26 PM, October 17, 2008

I couldn't agree more.

Canada has lost it's way.

Canada as a whole is in deep shit if we don't wrest back control from the Cons. Lest we come as American as the proverbial Apple pie.

If the Cons want Canada to be more like the USA, why don't they just move there and leave the rest of us to our own demise?

HarpoCo (Bush light) is playing us like a cheap banjo and somehow we just don't seem to get it.

Demosthenes said...

Drew/Liberazzi: The problem is not Dion. Yes, Dion may be too damaged to survive, though it's impossible to tell with the feeding frenzy going on.

The problem is that the Liberals appear to be delusional enough to think that choosing a new leader, or aping the Democrats' failed efforts at triangulation, is actually going to fix their party. That's what all this represents: the proof that the Liberals are so obsessed with leadership that they can't even begin to ponder everything else.

And, yes, it's that obsession with leadership that was exploited by the Conservatives to hurt Dion. Remember, those ads weren't aimed at Canadians per se. They couldn't care less. They were aimed at Liberals, and they worked. If all the Liberals can understand is "leader! leader! leader!" and you take that away, what's left except feverishly hunting for another leader?

Rest assured. The next guy won't be a leader either. The new set of ads will see to that.

Patrick said...

I sent an e-mail to Mr. Dion today, giving him my full support. I'm disgusted by this whole smearing and hanging of Dion. I'm in the Saint-Boniface Riding that turned Conservative on election night. The next day Simard (the liberal incumbent that lost) was already talking shit about Dion being the reason he lost.

It was clear to me it was just sour grapes because he was a huge Iggy supporter at the convention. So ridiculous.

I don't think I'll be able to support this party once they hang Dion. I was so proud of Dion and spoke of him and the liberals with such high praise throughout the past year or so. Now, I'm infuriated. I might be too naive... but I wonder what these liberal party members are thinking they're achieving by publicly criticizing their leader. What good are they doing for the party?

Ugh, I've been angry for the past few days. Its really unhealthy!

Beijing York said...

Wholly crap! What a party. Seriously, I thought the NDP had problems with speaking to both its base and other Canadians but the LPC is heads above water on the dysfunctional front.

Paul Martin lost more votes to Conservatives than Dion ever did. I believe Dion had a hell of a lot more respect and support than Martin ever mustered. He also faced an incredible hatchet job that Martin never came close to enduring. Harper's gang was only testing the waters with their Mr. Dithers campaign and realized that they truly could capitalize on character assassination, which they used to good effect well before an election campaign was even launched.

I was glad to see Martin go. He did much to ruin the LPC. I thought that Dion might be their saving grace. I have no idea if it was Dion or the LPC that insisted on avoiding an election at all costs, but that is the biggest complaint I have against Dion. He should have called an election on one odious bill or another rather than wait for Harper to call an election on his terms.

Finally, I really think that too many people are forgetting the real threat here. It's Harper and his goal is to destroy the Liberal Party. He wants them to implode into oblivion. Unfortunately, too many others are willing to play the game even though most Canadians like the Liberal brand.

Gayle said...

"Were I a betting man, I'd put my money on Justin Trudeau. Sure, we'll hear the bitching and sniping "oh no, not another Trudeau" but the reality is, he's got what it takes to bring back the youth and female votes."

May I ask why you think he will bring the youth and female votes?

Koby said...

I see the kool-aid crew is out in full force. The most plausible explanation for why the Liberal vote collapsed and was down 944,350outside of Quebec is also the simplest and most straightforward. Canadians do not like Dion or his policies, particularly his green shift.

Does this mean that there are not other problems with the party? Of course not. We all no there are major problems with the party and Dion during his time as leader hardly addressed any of these other problems. The Sooner Dion leaves, the better.

Steve V said...


You know what man, your condescending "koolaid" crap is offensive. I get your view, and I appreciate the comments that think he should leave- thats sort of the point of this post, settle down and let people express themselves first- but, you think your perspective is somehow more objective, when in fact maybe you've been drinking your own beverage, which predisposes to dislike Dion. We all have our angles here, so don't belittle others, who don't prescribe to your kneejerk criticisms. It's boring, and your attacking people, simply because they don't share your opinion speaks to your own predictable reactions. Bite me :)

petroom said...

You forgot me on that list... Go do the poll I just put up.

Carrie said...

Finally, I really think that too many people are forgetting the real threat here. It's Harper and his goal is to destroy the Liberal Party. He wants them to implode into oblivion. Unfortunately, too many others are willing to play the game even though most Canadians like the Liberal brand.

I think people are all too aware of Harper and the reality of Conservatives. But the Liberals haven't been doing their job. So where does that leave voters? Nowhere. They had to decide. Many stayed home, those who voted just threw it at any party that was doing anything actively.

The Liberals have to hold their own. They have built this country and used to be a great party but after some consideration, I'm tired of them not doing their job. And the whole Dion thing....he's an incredibly good soul who deserved better. But Canadians can't prop him up, he has to do the work, and somehow, whether it was him alone or the party, there was no work that spoke to the heart of Canadians.

It feels and looks like the Liberals bailed on Canadians long ago and are trying to get power by continuing to ignore our main concerns. They lost and rightly so. I want them to get back to being what they were before Chretien. Martin was never a fave of mine either. They need to cut the deadwood tied to those eras and start fresh.

Anonymous said...

I want DION to stay. I've been behind him since day 1.

He'll be better & bigger next round.

You'll see.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Steve for a this excellent post. Count me as another who returned to the Liberals after (a very long absence) only because of Mr. Dion and feeling the sense of possibility for my country that I'd thought lost long ago.

Interesting comments as well, but there was one that I felt I must respond to as I feel that it represents the very attitude that drove so many of us away. "If you want to be a part of a left-wing party, you are in the wrong group."

No, I do not want to be a part of a left-wing party or I wouldn't be looking here, -- but neither do I want to be dismissed so arrogantly by someone who so obviously thinks his one opinion worth far more than the opinion of many many of the 'great unwashed', and would like to remind him while there is a small part of the right-wing vote that his direction might attract, it might repel far far more of us who are looking for a center.

Our country is hungry for someone to beleive in, and what better contrast to what we now have could the party offer than someone whose fault seems to be that he is decent and honourable?

900ft Jesus said...

Within days of the leadership race, Dion became my first choice (never thought he'd win because our country has become so focused on superficial image). I was frustrated that he didn't overthrow the Harper government sooner, said so, but wondered if perhaps he was right in not forcing another election at that time. Who knows? Maybe it would have saved the party, maybe he would have been blamed for another pointless, expensive election. I figured he was waiting for the economy to show more cracks, as it was starting to.

Doesn't matter now. I agree with you steve v. I put up my post, will write next to the party and Dion.

I would follow Dion as well, I will if he leads another party, but if he stays with the Libs - and I expect he will, I will have to wait and see what the Libs offer us next time. I won't hop parties out of anger. It's better to put pressure on the best one to make good changes. Division cost us this past election, and I won't add to that.

900ft Jesus said...

forgot to mention - Kennedy was on CBC last night and was very supportive of Dion. He didn't think he should be turfed.

Gayle said...

Didn't Dion want an election a year ago, and told the ridings to prepare for one, and then was told they never did prepare for one so he would have to abstain?

Constant Vigilance said...

Any chance that Dionistas within a reasonable distance of Stornoway could be organized to camp out in support of him staying on?

James Curran said...

I'm leaving for Stornawy tonight. Must see the leader. Must show support.

Demosthenes said...

koby: If Canadians didn't like Dion, it might have had something to do with the $20+ million dollars of character assassination, hmm? Dion's flaw was that he didn't realize what was going on; the Liberals' flaw was that they didn't either, and thought they were above the advertising.

(Yes, just like Kerry in 2004. Once again, folks, Harper is simply using Republican tactics against an electorate and opposition that doesn't know them yet. That's all that's going on. It's 2004 and you're all Democrats. They needed to build a progressive netroots for the non-Naderite progressive party, and so do you.)

Beijing York said...

I like the idea of the Ottawa camp out. I've also been thinking that this whole debacle should have a non-partisan spin to it because we really should be rejecting US styled politics of character assassination. We should be uniting against Harper on this fact alone.

What I suggested on Montreal Simon's blog is that we start a campaign along the lines of the brilliant initiative started by two young people in Nova Scotia:

Let's demand that every member of our three opposition parties wear a pink t-shirt to the HoC to denounce Harper's treatment of Dion. Let's see if the back stabbers have the nerve to stand up and fight for decency in our politics.

A View From The Left said...

If we're camping out in Ottawa and someone can give me a ride out then count me in. I think the idea's great :)

Steve V said...


Yes, Dion wanted to go, but Rae and others argued against. Rae wanted to get in parliament first, because he was worried Iggy would have an advantage, so he counseled against going. And, there was the readiness angle.

There's a facebook group for Dion:


Steve V said...

Whatever happens, we might be seeing the first signs of a grassroots awakening :)

LPSteyn said...

Excellent post. The comments are taking on a life of their own. I wish the grassroots Liberals could pull a coup d'état on the backroom establishment. After all there's more of us than there is of them. :)

Koby said...

>>>> koby: If Canadians didn't like Dion, it might have had something to do with the $20+ million dollars of character assassination, hmm?

It might have something to do with that, but it has a whole lot more to do with the fact that Dion has no charisma and half his sound bits were incomprehensible. His English sucks.

The Conservatives do not have the ability to magically turn gold into scrap iron.

>>>> You know what man, your condescending "koolaid" crap is offensive.

And being called a back stabber is not? I have been saying for a very long time that the Liberals were on the wrong track and that Dion had major deficiencies that needed to be addressed. Now that the party has been driven straight into a wall and people I know have lost their jobs, I am not exactly with happy with this Dion love in. I feel sorry for the man, but it should be obvious to anyone that he is not going to magically turn this thing around.

By the way, not once have a heard anyone say gee those anonymous Liberals were right.

Steve V said...


Harper has the charisma of a mold spore and he's Prime Minister.

You're not a back stabber, but don't think anyone who disagrees is on the "koolaid", because I understand the challenges well.

And, not one of those "anonymous" Liberals have mentioned all the other problems that the party confronts, it's just about posturing and finally getting their "chance", that they waited so long for...

Anonymous said...

The last thing we need is another leadership contest and thae fact that many people, especially in one province, can't seem to keep their knife's out of the leader's way, is the reason we lost seats.

We need to replace everyone at perm in Qebec not the leader. Stephane needs to stay and fire a few people who were never on board.

Steve V said...

Well, well:

Off To Stornaway

JimmE said...

Since the election I've been catching up on my reading, (and work) & came across this article:

As much as I've been in the tank for Dion, this article makes the case why I feel Dion needs to be replaced - don't know why I didn't see it before. At first reading one might take the opposite POV , but M. Dion's failure was not the Green Shift, or his lack of charisma, or the flaws in the Liberal Party. Rather M. Dion's was not helped by these & other factors, but he failed to make the connection in the imagination of Canadians between a failing economy and our environmental challenges. This is M. Dion's file, his passion, what he based his leadership campaign on; & he failed in HIS cause of reminding Canadians of the environmental challenges we are facing, AND THAT ACTION IS URGENTLY NEEDED. Sadly, it will take someone else to make this case.

Gayle said...

"By the way, not once have a heard anyone say gee those anonymous Liberals were right."

Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy isn't it?

Say he is not a leader, refuse to listen to him, refuse to assist him, and then complain when he cannot get anyone to follow him, listen to him or assist him.

Those anonymous liberals were never "right". They have always been the problem.

I am not saying Dion is the best leader out there, but it bothers me to no end that the "establishment" liberals decided to completely ignore the leadership choice of the delegates. They worked to undermine him from day one.

When that happens it is not a leadership problem - it is an organizational problem.

I accept that Dion is going. The reason I am concerned about this is that I am absolutely certain the same thing will happen again.

Anonymous said...

Dion, please don't go -

Kind of tells you something when the party opposite WANTS him to stay.

Beijing York said...

That youtube clip is just plain mockery. The Harper Conservatives are a hateful bunch who take total glee in seeing others suffer.

As far as they are concerned seeing Liberals tearing each other apart is the kind of blood sport they relish.

I am really starting to wonder if these Liberal "insiders" and hateful caucus members who refused to support Dion are actually dumb as posts. Maybe it's just sheer selfish ambition but whatever the motivation, they really do run the risk of completely destroying their party.

I imagine Harper is smirking with glee.

Anonymous said...

I also remember that Dion wanted an election about a year ago, and I seem to recall that the party executive told him, in effect, that if he went ahead with it then they wouldn't support him.

It looks to me like Dion was set up for failure from the get-go because he wasn't the party executive's first choice as leader.

Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

I was an early supporter of Dion & I remain one, most passionately, as any visit to my blog will attest. Very timely post. I have emailed M. Dion, cc-ing info@liberal, and I will be at Stornaway if y'all are going.

Dr. Jon Slater said...

good comments. I wonder if Dion's stubborn streak did him in, but he is the least of the Liberal Party's problems. An effective opposition can't be distracted by a leaderhip race.

Anonymous said...

To me, this is an epic battle between two political dispositions: cold calculation and power mongering vs integrity and heart. How do we want to live in this country?

Anonymous said...

Gayle - You asked me "May I ask why you think he will bring the youth and female votes?"

Since you asked, when I look at Justin I see youth, confidence, compassion, intelligence, fluent billingualism to the point that there is no difficulty understanding what he says in either official language and he's handsome to boot. I doubt that I really need to explain myself on these points.

As I said in my previous post, I have all of the admiration in the world for Stephane and don't doubt his abilities to lead a team of highly qualified people for one second.

When I hear my father (a died in the wool Con voter) use not being able to understand Stephane as a reason for not supporting him, I see a problem. Sure, my father is a hypocrite and biggot, but nonetheless he speaks for many Canadians. And that same message was heard far and wide.

When I hear my son (a hard working 25 year old) say that he would rather support Layton because of his stated position to do more for the average Canadian, something tells me that the Liberal message has somehow been lost.

I worked the election as a Registration Officer and saw who was voting and heard many young people echo the same message as my son. I knew before I walked out the door at 9:30 pm that my riding had gone NDP. And I know why.

Steve V said...


Was he stubborn, or isolated? I wouldn't listen to anybody either, if I knew they were continually whispering. If Dion acted with a siege mentality, it's only a sign of wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Jeff - Your post 11:31 PM, October 18, 2008 nailed it right on the head.

It's all a matter of values. On the one hand we have a cold calculating PM that has muzzled his entire caucus in the name of keeping the message on point. He's done his homework and done a fine job of bringing Rethuglican style politics to our country.

On the other hand we have the left that just doesn't seem to want to realize that if we want our government back from these greedy self-serving Neo-Cons, we're going to have to take the gloves off and fight for it.

The million dollar question is - Are we going to sit back and watch others do the fighting and hope it gets done? Or are we going to roll up our sleeves and get into the fight now, before the next election is called and give our party something to fight with.

I don't know about you or anybody else, but this time around I'm in a fighting mood.

liberazzi said...

Approx. 1 million voters stayed home on election night, as compared with 2006. The Bloc, Dips and CPC vote count actually went down slightly. The Green gained 300K and the Libs lost 800K.

Since 2000, the Dips and Greens have gained approx. 1.5M votes. The CPC vote if you combine the Reform/PC vote has basically been stagnant around 5M votes, with a low of around 4.1M in 2004. The CPC has basically regained the conservative base over time.

Therefore, the strategy for the Libs going forward is to try to engage the 600K or so traditional Liberal voters that are deciding to stay home to come out and vote. However, that only brings you back to around 100 seats or so. Therefore, where do you try and increase your vote? dA new leader may attact the traditional Lib voter back out of hibernation, bringing your numbers of seats back to respectable levels. However, if you choose a more right wing candidate like Manley or McKenna then are there enough votes on the right to siphon off? It would seem to me that the party needs to remain close to the center or slightly left to try and siphon off more progressive voters. If you assume that the Greens and Dips have peaked then it is possible. Finally, the party needs to try and engage Canadians that do not traditionally vote.

Therefore, (yes Grace) a new leader is not enough. We need policies and a vision that is going to attract those progressive voters, plus we need to wake up those Libs that stayed home. If this is the low point for the Libs at 3.6M, then the Libs have about 1.4M or so votes to troll for in order to regain power. Not sure if this can be accomplished in the next year or so.

Anonymous said...

Drew - thanks for the endorsement of my 11:31 pm comment, but I'm really thinking of this dualism - power mongering vs integrity - as cutting across party lines. There are people in every party who are coldly calculating power mongers. And in every party, it's up to those who believe in integrity to stand up for integrity.

In the case of the Liberals, that means putting away the tar and feathers until cooler heads prevail, and the party decides what it wants as its core.

JimmE said...

Hate to agree with you, but you're right. One can do EVERY thing right & still loose as a result of the national campaign. Our EFFing riding was ready, we ran a better campaign than the other parties; that we didn't loose by more is because of our efforts.
We lost was because the national campaign didn't connected with Canadians.

Who hired the national campaign team?
Who set the time & the agenda for the campaign?
Who was the face of the campaign for the Liberal Party for this campaign?

We need to have a no frills leadership convention (mail in, electronic whatever) & cut-off membership like two weeks after the Leader announces he intention.

Then we need to get to work (again).

Anonymous said...

I see where you are coming from and agree fully Jeff. There are several issues that need to be addressed. Far too many people were voting against something versus voting for something they can believe in and trust. And far too many people simply not taking the time for whatever reason that moved them.

That said, all of the integrity in the world in a leader isn't going to get it done in the current environment. The voter needs to be engaged in the process and know that they are supporting a cause worthy of their time.

PeterC said...

I've voted liberal, a lot, in my life. The one sure thing about this election is the glee with which M. Dion is being hung out to dry by "Anonymous senior liberals" as I've said before a pox on both their houses....
My thoughts on Dion here.
Add me to your list, but perhaps not as a liberal. :)

Anonymous said...

"if you choose a more right wing candidate like Manley or McKenna"

You had better hope you can siphon more off the right than you lose on the left (like me who would probably head straight to the Greens).

That said, I still haven't heard a good explanation of why Dion is considered to be too far left. Is it because that's what Mr. Harper told you that?

Demosthenes said...

That said, I still haven't heard a good explanation of why Dion is considered to be too far left. Is it because that's what Mr. Harper told you that?

Him and the (broadly conservative) media.

Canada is not, from what I can tell, an especially conservative country. It's just a country with a conservative media and an especially effective conservative party machine. But since both of those can be employed to convince Canadians that they're conservative, well...

...if it worked in America, why not in Canada?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link. Regardless of what happens, by popular request I'll be keeping the link to pay off Dion's leadership debt on my sidebar. I tried to find the graphic they did for the $100 revolution, no more big money campaigns. Does anyone have that still?

Omar said...

Ho-ly-fuck. Ralph Goodale as interim leader? When is the Liberal party going to realize that many of the old 'holdovers' are about as appealing to Canadians as the upcoming flu season? Having said that, I think John MacCallum would be an excellent choice for the position.

Mike said...

I keep coming over thinking there is a new thread and I keep seeing the same old thread. Kind of indicative of other problems I would say...

I'm guessing there will be anew thread in a few hours, maybe...

Steve V said...

We've moved on Mike :)