Monday, December 18, 2006
The Dion factor
As tempting as it is to get swept away by Stephane Dion's post-convention bounce in the polls, almost nothing that's true today will be true by the time we have an election. Why is that? Well, it's because Dion, despite all the hype, is a political leader without definition right now. He also has no experience doing the job. In a nutshell, we don't know what to expect from the guy. By the time we actually do have an election, we might or might not have a better idea of who he is and what he stands for. Since time isn't on his side, and we might not actually get to know who he is, that makes his rise to the prime ministership even that much more unlikely.
So, before we assume that Dion is a political force that has to be dealt with, we still need time to see what he actually does in the job. I know there's a lot of people on the left who automatically assume that he's better than Harper. Yet, I don't think that's enough for the Canadian people. We need more, and we haven't even come close to getting more yet.
UPDATE (10:43 am): I suspect that Harper's trip to Quebec today will mark the start of his efforts at defining the Liberal leader. Indeed, I think Dion is helping him to do it. While Harper will be telling Quebecers that his next budget will aim to fix the so-called fiscal imbalance, Dion is already telling everyone why Harper is bound to fail. In other words, Dion is already telling everyone why it's not even worth trying, which was the Liberal approach for thirteen years. I'm not exactly sure if that's the way to turn around Liberal fortunes in Quebec. It's also an attitude Harper will no doubt try to seize upon as the attempt to stake ground in the new political landscape begins. Enjoy.