12.02.2006

dion

Wow, that was fun! A political convention where the result was not a foregone conclusion - and where the end result was not predicted! Delicious.

I am thrilled that Ignatieff was not chosen to lead the Liberal party. Although my first choice was Bob Rae and my second choice was Gerard Kennedy, I was squarely thinking "anyone but Ignatieff". Stéphane Dion was the candidate I was least familiar with, but I'm catching up, and I'll be happy to see him elected Canada's next prime minister.

(And if you're new to wmtc, when I am eligible to vote, I won't be voting for any Liberal. I wonder if the NDP will notice a boost in membership from all the American defectors?)

May I please offer a big, fat "I told you so" to the reader who told me I should learn to like Ignatieff, because he's going to be the next prime minister?

I'm holding my second, even bigger "I told you so" in reserve: for those who claimed with such certainty that Stephen Harper would win a second election with a majority government. I didn't believe it then, and I don't believe it now.

* * * *

During CBC's convention coverage, I enjoyed hearing everyone's recollections and memories of Pierre Trudeau. What a legacy that man left! The way people speak about his personal charisma and the magnetism of his orbit, in US terms, can only be compared to John F. Kennedy - but without the more recent taints that the JFK's memory and his family name have suffered. Trudeau can be my next Canadian to learn about, when I'm finished reading about Tommy Douglas.

* * * *

Update: Here is Dion's take on the recent motion recognizing the Québécois as a nation within a united Canada. I like it a lot.

22 comments:

James said...

Wow, that was fun! A political convention where the result was not a foregone conclusion - and where the end result was not predicted!

Lori says, "Welcome to Canada!"

I enjoyed hearing everyone's recollections and memories of Pierre Trudeau.

Trudeau's responsible for a lot of my own outlook on politics. Growing up, John Turner was the first Prime Minister I ever experienced who wasn't Pierre Trudeau (I was living in Boston during the nine months Joe Clark filled in for PET). The Air Farce, back in their radio version (which was much sharper than their TV incarnation), loved him because he was a genuine character, with a comlex personality that could be lampooned -- arrogant, egotistical, brilliant, compassionate, etc.

He did a lot of great things, and a lot of not-so-great things, but even his enemies had to respect his intelligence -- probably another reason why I've been so disappointed with US presidents all my life.

And the whole Clinton blow-job business seemed so silly, happening decades after Pierre was dallying with Liona Boyd (and Barbara Streisand!) and Margaret was hooking up with the Rolling Stones!

James said...

Here is Dion's take on the recent motion recognizing the Québécois as a nation within a united Canada. I like it a lot.

My mother'll love the fact that he's quoting Jose Carreras. :)

L-girl said...

Lori says, "Welcome to Canada!"

:-D

From what I gathered, tho, this was a huge surprise, and the first really up-for-grabs convention in several decades. No?

but even his enemies had to respect his intelligence

I always hear that: a man of great intellect. Combine that with moral courage and personal charisma - wow.

probably another reason why I've been so disappointed with US presidents all my life.

That, and they're all so damned disappointing!

And the whole Clinton blow-job business seemed so silly, happening decades after Pierre was dallying with Liona Boyd (and Barbara Streisand!) and Margaret was hooking up with the Rolling Stones!

But those decades make all the difference. The US would have dealt with it differently decades earlier, too, before the wingnuts came into their own.

Which is not to say Canada ever would have behaved like that over a sex scandal. No sane country would have.

L-girl said...

My mother'll love the fact that he's quoting Jose Carreras. :)

A nice touch! I liked his speech tonight. I could feel good about him.

West End Bound said...

"drf" and I had CPAC on most of the day today keeping our eyes or ears on the vote. Quite a few political pundits in the Vancouver area had opined prior to the festivities that Dion would be the one to watch.

We too, will probably be NDP'ers upon eventually gaining Canadian citizenship. At this point in time, however, the two Liberal candidates that appeared to present the most clear challenge to "shrub" harper were Mr. Dion and Mr. Kennedy. Luckily, one of them was successful. We hope he can define a clear difference and prevent "shrub" from gaining a majority government.

L-girl said...

Quite a few political pundits in the Vancouver area had opined prior to the festivities that Dion would be the one to watch.

Hm, interesting. No one I heard or read thought so until late this afternoon. It was quite a surprise development.

At this point in time, however, the two Liberal candidates that appeared to present the most clear challenge to "shrub" harper were Mr. Dion and Mr. Kennedy.

Huh. Really. I wouldn't have said that at all. But I feel good about the Liberal's chances now. I look forward to the next election.

James said...

From what I gathered, tho, this was a huge surprise, and the first really up-for-grabs convention in several decades. No?

I don't know if it was the first in decades, but it was more unexpected than you'd usually expect. :)

That, and they're all so damned disappointing!

During the 70s and early 80s I didn't pay much attention to what Presidents-to-be promised, so I didn't get much of a sense of how far short of the promises they turned out; I just kept wondering why they weren't brilliant, forceful people with insight into what needs fixing and plans on how to fix it.

Of course, then we got John Turner, and I realized that they can't all be Trudeaus.
:)

M@ said...

Dion was pretty much my first choice as we got closer and closer to today. What I like about him is that he's not pandering to the crowd; he's got an intellectual bent and is not afraid to show it. I have a lot of respect for that, especially in this age of which-candidate-would-you-rather-have-a-beer-with "journalism".

I really liked Chretien's speech. I was not a big fan of Chretien's at any point but, my god, that guy can work a crowd. And if his legacies are SSM (not passed in his term, but the foundation was certainly laid) and the clarity act, I can't but say his reign was a success.

I don't think Chretien's assumption of the leadership was a foregone conclusion, and neither was Turner's. But I wasn't really all that politically aware at the time. (I was into the 1984 election, as an 11-year-old, and I remember liking Ed Broadbent's concession speech a lot -- I think if he were in power, I'd vote for him still.)

Anyhow, I couldn't listen to Dion's speech (I was on der radio!) so I'm going to go read it now, as well as his speech on The Motion. Glad it didn't come down to Iggy or Rae -- today was a good day.

L-girl said...

I don't know if it was the first in decades, but it was more unexpected than you'd usually expect. :)

You can chalk that observation up to the CBC. They kept using "30 years" as their benchmark.

Of course, then we got John Turner, and I realized that they can't all be Trudeaus.

I had never heard of him before his speech on Saturday.

L-girl said...

he's got an intellectual bent and is not afraid to show it.

That's refreshing. It's refreshing to live in a country that's not afraid of intellect.

I really liked Chretien's speech. I was not a big fan of Chretien's at any point but, my god, that guy can work a crowd.

He is Clintonesque in that regard (or vice versa). I enjoyed his speech, too. "Mr Harper - may I call you Steve, like your friend George Bush?"

sharonapple said...

One funny thing about Dion (other than the fact that he was a former Parti Quebecois member and is now a federalist... and shares the same first name as Stephen Harper) is that he likes to write public letters to politicans he disagrees with. I always imagined a time when he'd write an letter to the editor about his daughter's messy room, how inefficient it is organizing her books on the floor, and how he hopes for better from her in the future.

Trudeau can be my next Canadian to learn about, when I'm finished reading about Tommy Douglas.

Trudeau is a series of contradictions like all good Canadian politicans.

Some good places to start are Against the Current (collected political writing during various points in time)and a The Essential Trudeau. They reveal a lot of his political philosophy and include quite moving arguments for democracy, an argument against the death penalty, and numerous points against nationalism. Here's one on democracy:

"Democracy geniunely demonstrates its faith in man by letting itself be guided by the rule of fifty-one per cent. For if all men are equal, each one the posessor of a special digity, it follows inevitably that the happiness of fity-one peeople is more important than the forty-nine; it is normal, then, that -- ceteris paribus and taking account of the invioable rights of the minorty--the decisions perferred by the fifty-one should prevail. But the majority convention has only a practical value, I repeat. Democracy recognizes that one person may be right and ninety-nine wrong. That is why freedom of speech is sacred: the one person must always have the right to proclaim his truth in the hope of persuading the ninety-nine to chair their point of view."

L-girl said...

Thanks, Sharon! I'll write down that title.

L-girl said...

"Mr Harper - may I call you Steve, like your friend George Bush?"

I got the quote a little wrong, but you can read more about Chretien's speech here.

West End Bound said...

Hm, interesting. No one I heard or read thought so until late this afternoon. It was quite a surprise development.

Here's a link to Barbara Yaffe's column from back in July (Hope it works as I'm a subscriber and don't know if the external links will work for everyone.) If it doesn't work, here's the first few paragraphs:


Dion has staying power to win


Barbara Yaffe
The Vancouver Sun

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I'm going to go out on a limb to make a brazen prediction: At December's Liberal convention, the compromise leadership candidate who will come from behind to unite all forces opposing Michael Ignatieff, and win, will be Stephane Dion.

And that will be not a bad outcome at all.

Of the 11 wannabes, Dion unquestionably has done the most to establish his intellectual and political heft.

He also has the advantage of possessing a healthy dollop of boyish charm.

More importantly, Dion never was implicated in any politically questionable behaviour by his party, despite being a high profile minister for a decade.


Ms. Yaffe is usually quite accurate in her writing and analysis - this time she apparently pegged it right 'way in advance . . . . Lucky guess, or shrewd political skills?

L-girl said...

Hey, thanks for that!

Lucky guess, or shrewd political skills?

Undoubtedly some of both, I would think.

Anne alias Purrceyz said...

It was an interesting convention wasn't it? I didn't watch initially as I was afraid it was going to be an Iggy coronation. (I wish he'd go back to Harvard, he's my local MP :( ).

As far as Trudeau goes, you'll find most Canadians still have very mixed feelings about him. He could be infuriating and arrogant(ie "salmon arm salute" to strikers in BC; the comment "just watch me" when he was asked how far he was prepared to go with removing civil liberties in the FLQ crisis). He is still hated in the west (for the national energy policy) and among segements in Quebec for being a staunch federalist.

Yet, I feel Canadians owe him a tremendous debt for making Canada a multiethnic society and our Chater of Human Rights. The man was tremendously charismatic; I met him twice; once when he was newly married and once as an old man pushing his then baby daughter's carriage. (He gave me a look when he saw a recognized him that clearly said "don't bother me"..so I didn't.)

L-girl said...

As far as Trudeau goes, you'll find most Canadians still have very mixed feelings about him.

Oh yes, I've heard plenty of that. But many do not - they either flat-out revere him, or flat-out hate him (often while still admiring him).

Genet said...

While Canadians are polarized regarding Trudeau and his legacy, it is undeniable that he had a huge influence on national identity and shaping Canada's idea of itself. Beyond that, I think it's inspiring to have a national leader that combines intellect, charisma, humour and vision. Even those that opposed his view recognized that he was intelligent, complex and has become a national icon. How many other countries had an brash, idealistic bohemian intellectual and playful flirt as their leader? Say what you will, but few people manage to arouse political passions or articulate and nurture a post-colonial nation's independent, unique and principled idea of nationhood. While I may not agree with all of his choices, it is undeniable that present-day Canada is a product of his vision and I pretty much love and admire the place, so he couldn't have been that bad. At least he made politics exciting and dare I say, sexy!

L-girl said...

Hi Genet :)

From what I know about Trudeau, I have to agree with you.

Scott M. said...

Dion's first question: Why would you cut the Status of Women's Issues offices if not to suppress those people who may be opposed to your far-right agenda?

L-girl said...

Whoo-hoo!

West End Bound said...

Sounds like Dion had a pretty good start against "shrub" . . . Hope he keeps it up, eh?