Second Thots

Sometimes one has to step back, take pause, and have some "second thots"

Monday, February 12, 2007


Is Stéphane Dion a leader?

Tory ad
One of the reasons Liberals chose Stéphane Dion as leader is the generally held perception that he's a good man who has been underestimated for his entire political career. I think that perception will be tested in the coming weeks and months as more questions are being raised about his leadership abilities.

The potential flaw in the "Dion has always been underestimated" theory is this: Dion has never made this kind of a jump before. Furthermore, he has never been under this kind of microscope before. His political experience essentially amounts to watching over two files: national unity and the environment.

While both have their obvious importance, both required limited attention over the entire life of the Liberal government. The Clarity Act and signing of Kyoto agreements might have been the biggest events that happened under Dion's watch while he was minister in charge of those portfolios. And both events came and went. These were not jobs that were under more ongoing scrutiny like finance, justice, and foreign affairs.

National unity was certainly a hot topic ten years ago, and the environment is certainly a hot topic now, but both were mostly tame for most of Dion's tenure in government.

In other words, Dion wasn't much more than a junior minister while the Liberals were in power. And now he wants to lead an entire country. It's a lot to ask for from anybody, including Dion.

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