Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Return of the Wise Man

I see Stephane Dion was out again fighting for the Liberals in Quebec. It's funny. Stephane Dion was a huge Chretien loyalist. Stephane Dion was excluded from cabinet despite being the brightest mind in the entire Liberal Party (in my humble opinion). Stephane Dion watched the Quebec show be handed over to the co-founder of the Bloc Quebecois who recruited separatist candidates for the Liberals and called the Clarity Act "useless". Stephane Dion watched the same Quebec Lieutenant fall flat on his face. Stephane Dion faced a Martin led challenge to his nomination. In fact, to use Martin's favourite phrase, he was "perfectly clear" that he didn't want Dion and his federalist views anywhere near the Liberal Party of Canada. Yet Dion, who could have returned to his University, or anywhere else for that matter, decided he'd stick it out and serve as a Paul Martin backbencher, in a government where he wasn't wanted. You have to admire that.

You also have to see the delicious irony in the fact that Dion has now been transformed into the de-facto face of Liberalism in Quebec due to the absolute implosion of Jean Lapierre. Dion was out writing letters today attacking the Bloc and he was at a press conference with Pettigrew and (a surprisingly quiet) Jean Lapierre. To paraphrase Paul Wells, Martin picked the football star over the class geek and now that it's test time, the quarterback is slipping him answers. Luckily, even though he's gotten the first 50 questions wrong, Martin is now calling on the right guy to write the last half of the test.

Given the few Liberals who will be heading to Ottawa from Quebec, I would hope that Martin will be smart enough to bring Dion into his Cabinet or shadow cabinet after the election. And the next time the Liberals form government, the PM, whoever that may be, would be insane not to give this man the cabinet portfolio of his choosing. Quite frankly, it's an insult to Dion that someone like Lapierre is even on the same stage as him for these press conferences.

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