A GREAT CANADIAN
Stephane Dion announced intentions to leave as leader of the Liberal Party in the same manner as he has conducted his whole political career - with honesty, noble purpose, and class.
He leveled with the Canadian people as to why he lost. The Conservatives had painted him into a corner with unprecedented attack ads well before the election got under way, and they could do it because they had bucks that the Grits never had. He could have said that the Grits never had the bucks because they had spent too much time and effort fighting each other in the few years before he became leader. He did not have to say that though because people already know. He knew that, and he had too much class to remind them.
He defended the Greenshift plan as the forward thinking good policy that it was. I'm sure there will be the usual neocon bumboys who will rant about that statement. However, I refer them to the hundred or so economists who endorsed the plan, as well as to the recent statements of Bill Clinton giving B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell a pat on the back for the same policy.
The right-wing press never stopped talking about Greenshift's so-called complexity. Yeah, complex - a plan that taxed the big polluters who had been ripping off the world with high energy prices, so that some of their excessive gains could be put back in the hands of the little guy, and so the polluters themselves would discipline themselves to produce greener emissions. What was it about that statement they didn't understand?
Dion also made clear that the Liberal Party had to deal with the new era of fund-raising. The party has got to stop talking about it, and do something about it. They have to take a page out of the book of Howard Dean and Barack Obama on mass fund-fundraising. One of the Chretien legacies - and a good one in my opinion (although not in the opinion of the Gritdom's disloyal, bonehead, narcissist-in-chief Stephen Ledrew) - is that political parties henceforth be funded by people. What could be more noble than that? I thought that democracy was all about people. Whatever program the Liberals settle upon must be broad based, and work has to start in earnest on it yesterday. Dion knows that this has to be done in order to protect the same Conservative personality assassination squads screwing his successors as they did him.
He also intends to preside as leader until the convention that chooses his successor. If anyone has the honor and stature in the party to ensure fairness in the leadership process and unity in the face of the result it is Dion.
Dion has always been a respected figure in the party. Today's substance and style of his announcement sustains that respect. His whole career - which happily remains ongoing - and the manner that he has conducted it will ensure his place in the pantheon of great Liberal leaders.