Monday, December 04, 2006

The mouse that roared

Stephane Dion came from the hinterlands of the previous liberal cabinet to become the new leader of the opposition. The pundits from Quebec and the West mostly say that he a) can't speak English properly and b) everyone in Quebec hates him.

In fact, when Dion declared himself a Canadian and lead the charge towards the Clarity act, the liberals actually rose in popularity in Quebec. The problem is that the nattering classes in the rest of Canada listen too unquestioningly to the nattering classes and the political elites in Quebec. These groups are predominantly nationalist, if not outright sovereignist. As a result they slander any Quebecois who embraces confederation. However, we must remember that when given a vote, the majority of people in the province of Quebec have twice chosen to stay in Canada. Moreover, quebecers respect a passionate intellectual with a strong opinion, not necessarily a rockstar- and M.Dion fits that description.

As for the reports of his weakness in English, that's bigotry from the Right out west. Stephane Dion speaks with better english grammar than M.Chretien(which isn't hard)and with a broader fluency than Ralph Klein. His accent is strong but hardly difficult.

As for charisma, Pierre Trudeau was considered uncharismatic early on in his political career. Besides, his chief opponent is Stephen Harper, who hardly counts as charismatic.

I'm hardly one to endorse the liberal party, but the current criticisms against Stephane Dion border on sophmoric, if not simply adolescent. Two-bit criticisms do nothing for Canada nor our country's political discourse.

I'd like to know how M.Dion proposes to grow an economy while shrinking energy use- and how to do it in the face of the supporters of (excreable) tar-sands projects.

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"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster