Monday, December 18, 2006

Keeping the Liberals honest

A lot of people have asked me what I think of Stephane Dion, and I've kind of been at a loss for words. I loved the underdog nature of the Liberal leadership vote. I'll admit that Dion's backpack and stated support for environmentalism and social justice are very appealing. And all of my favourite men are of the nerdy variety.

But Dion's charm doesn't give the Liberals a pass for all of the boneheaded decisions they've made over the years. And Dion certainly has some past decisions to account for (including his inaction on the environment, despite the fact that he named his dog Kyoto). I'll throw to my friend Stu for his take on Dion's record. Also check out his column on Smart Regulation, and the stealth takeover of Environment Canada (from Nov. 2005).

But once again, Murray Dobbin has proved to be one of the most astute political writers in Canada. He argues here that the only way that Dion will be able to push a truly left-wing agenda through Parliament is if the NDP holds the balance of power in a minority government. According to Dobbin, "If Dion wins a majority, the full weight of the corporate media, Bay Street, the right wing bureaucracy and the conservatives in his caucus will grind down whatever is good in Stephane Dion."

Still, Dobbin reserves some of his harshest criticism for the NDP, which doesn't seem to understand that vilifying Dion as a "corrupt backroom Liberal" is just not going to work for them. My friends and I were doubled over laughing at the email that the NDP sent out after Dion was elected. It read like total sour grapes, and just the WRONG way to woo back potential NDP voters. Audra Williams excerpts it here. And this is what Dobbin has to say:

The party's delusional notion that the Liberals are going to voluntarily disappear can now, thankfully, be put to rest. The NDP needs to engage the public by campaigning on keeping the Liberals honest. They will give Dion the support -- critical, to be sure -- he needs to fight off the reactionary forces that will naturally align against him.
Can I please have the NDP that used to stand for something back? Please?!?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the ndp's only role is the keep the liberals honest? surely they are good for more than that.