Second Thots

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

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Stephane Dion almost needs an election now

This article written by the Toronto Star's Chantal Hebert summarizes nicely all the reasons there won't be an election this spring. It's so convincing that I'm almost ready to back off my prediction of an election before we hit summer.

She states that the environmental file is all that stands in the way of electoral peace until at least the fall.

Well, as I have been writing for some time now, I think the Tories and the NDP will come to some kind of understanding on the Clean Air Act. The ramifications of this move for both Dion and May could be devastating.

As much as the Dion Liberals may not be ready for an election now, I'm not sure how ready Dion is to face the prospect of the environment being taken off the table as a pressing issue with the electorate.

I can't think of something more damaging to Dion's leadership vision than a situation where he's left twisting in the wind on the one issue that he's staked his entire reputation on.

If the government passes a meaningful bill, along with the help of the NDP, then Dion's entire raison d'etre, the environment, will have been completely neutralized as an issue by his political opponents.

I always believed, for various reasons, that Dion's wrapping himself in the environmental flag was a huge mistake. If we see some action from Parliament on this issue soon, then that mistake will be a punishing one for someone who will somehow have to reinvent himself after a very difficult start as a national party leader.

The next few weeks, even few days, could be pivotal for Stephane Dion. Ironically, an election could be the one thing that saves Dion's credibility as leader. Who'd a thunk?

I like your analysis of Dion's electoral strategy, particularily his need for a quick election to survive as the leader of the Liberals. If the environmental issue is put to rest, and popularity polling consistently puts Harper and the Conservatives ahead of Dion and the Liberals, that will force the Liberals to have an emergency leadership review leading to Dion's removal. As you say, Dion is a one-trick pony who only has the issue of the environment to run on, because nobody will listen to him on any other issue.


Well, I suppose the combination of hitching himself to the Green party and having the environmental issue taken away from him could precipitate a movement to oust him as leader — one more dangerous than that being concocted by Ray Heard presently.

Dion has spent so much political capital on the environment. His alliance with May was an attempt to go for broke on the issue. It might well be a mistake he'll never recover from.

Mind you, this scenario only plays out IF the Tories and the NDP reach a deal on global warming.

To me, the mess it would leave Dion in should be enough of a motivator for Harper and Layton to work something out. Maybe that's just me.


Based on the HOC Question Period today, it looks like bill C-30 may not fly, and Layton was apoplectic asking Harper to clarify the situation.

It seems that Harper may only use existing laws to regulate industry and resources on GHG emissions, and this may signal that Harper is willing to go to the electorate on the Kyoto issue.

Now wouldn't that be a doozer.


Or we could be seeing the start of some political intrigue that ultimately results in a compromise that avoids an election and "gets things done".


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