Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dion's defining moment

Stephane Dion did one thing better than any other Liberal leader has in 30+ years. In the waning days of the campaign, I heard the words that define why I am a Liberal.

Dion said repeatedly, "Liberals understand how to make government work for the people, for the common good, for the public interest." Liberals can identify what the public interest is and they know how to make government benefit more Canadians.

I don't fault Chretien/Martin for the first few cuts. I know that there was a major financial mess to clean up after Mulroney so everything had to be trimmed to get the IMF back onside for a good credit rating for the country. This must have been difficult for those on the left of the party and I know I was discomfitted by the entire cutting processes that occurred from 1993 to 1997.

Once we were back in sound fiscal policy, I couldn't understand why we weren't creating the kinds of programs that Canadians needed. Possibly it was the lack of an effective opposition at the time with the right split, but I felt that the leaders of the party no longer felt the need to talk to or respond to the Canadian public.

Dion defined for me why I am a Liberal when he said, "we Liberals, we know how to make government work for the people. Stephen Harper doesn't believe in government and Jack Layton doesn't understand how." That is the defining line between conservatives and liberals and ndp. It's the only one that's important. One more week of talking about this and he'd have had the whole country in the palm of his hands.

Now is not the time to give up on Stephane Dion. An unscientific poll at our church today during the coffee break after the service indicates that Canadians love Dion.

Liberals here though did not like our local candidate so they stayed home.

Best description of the situation. "We didn't want to send Dion such a lousy candidate, he deserved better." So I guess this points to the party being partially responsible for the election result since we were rushed into a nomination process under some hulllaballoo called "election readiness", one of the most profoundly ignorant operations I've ever witnessed.

Dion deserved better and so do we.


Unknown said...

Dion's defining moment.

Dion sealed his fate when he refused to take the Conservatives to task in the spring for election "in out" fraud and the Conservatives attacks on Election Canada.

Nothing is more important in a Democracy then Democracy itself.

Deb Prothero said...

And who do you think prevented him from doing that? The same jackals that are attacking him now.

Dion was ready to go in the spring and it is my understanding that he was held back by his caucus.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled on your website by accident last week and thought you were a Liberal supporter. By your comments today, I wonder why the Liberals in St. Thomas would sit on their hands and choose not to vote for Suzanne. Now because of their narrow mindedness, they are stuck with the person who has done the least for St. Thomas other than sit on the back bench and collect a pay cheque from the government. I am surprised at your attitude and the other people you speak of. While I did not believe at first that Stephane Dion was the right choice, I was ready to back him to the wall and am very disappointed with the way he was treated by the media. Now you have told me that his own party people have decided to be mean and dispirited also. I feel sorry for you all if that is the way you conduct your business. I have been a liberal supporter for more than 40 years and am extremely disappointed in the results of this last election but we are stuck with them for a very long time.

Pat Morfee
St. Thomas

Deb Prothero said...


I believe there has been a miscommunication. I am a Liberal and I did vote Liberal. Whether I like the candidate has nothing to do with my post.

You will see that this was a discussion at church - I was asking people in my community how they felt about the election. Those were their words, not mine.

I did back Dion to the wall having sent money to the national party and to pay his leadership debt. I wrote an article daily highlighting his activities.

Before you attribute the lack of support for the local candidate to me, you might want to re-read my post carefully. If I failed to communicate correctly that it was my church friends and neighbours who spoke this way about the local candidate, then that miscommunication is my fault.

Deb Prothero said...


One more thing, I attended at the convention that elected Dion and I'd be happy to talk to you about how that all happened. Since I use my real name online, feel free to look me up in the phone book. I'd like to figure out how we can fix the Liberal party from the grass roots up. Maybe long time Liberals need to talk about that. If you want I'd appreciate having a face-to-face chat with a long time Liberal.

Deb Prothero said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
penlan said...

So Deb,

What do you think of what Dion said today?

Deb Prothero said...


I was making a speech so I haven't seen it. Just got online. I gather that Dion is staying and that is good. Now I want him to bring down Harper. i didn't like how Goodale and McCallum were jockeying for position as interim since they represent the two currently warring factions. So Dion shut them up, for now. That is good.

Will look for a video link and watch later. I have to get back to work.

Anonymous said...

I did not mean to imply that you did not vote but you said others did not and they were the ones to whom I was directing my opinion. I was not at the nominating meeting. I understand there was some discourse which you state was a rush to nomination but considering the last candidate was not able to beat Mr. Preston, I would assume the locals would have wanted someone who could and then to not vote out of spite is unacceptable. I happen to know Suzanne having worked on Steve's campaign and know her to be a hard worker for the cause. She has agricultural experience also and has worked for the community as a whole, as I understand you have. I hope that you will forgive me if I gave a wrong impression. I have worked in the community myself for different organizations over the years and know it is not easy to make time to do this.

Pat Morfee

Deb Prothero said...

Hi Pat;

I think it's fair to say that the voters I was talking to on Sunday after church were people who are not actual party members but people who sometimes vote Liberal and were disappointed with the local candidate so they chose to stay home rather than vote.

This may be an indication of the general voter apathy that existed across the country this time as turnout was lower everywhere.

Although my personal feelings about the local candidate did not affect my vote, I am most upset with the outcome nationally. I believe Stephane Dion was exactly what this country needed - an honest politician. The fact that local people (not party members) reflected that they chose to stay home rather than cast a ballot for the local candidate speaks volumes. And they did specifically indicate that they supported Dion but not the candidate.

We need to choose a candidate who reflects our community and is broadly popular. This time we may not have done that. Since Ms. Van Bommel only received 11,169 votes compared to the previous candidate who had 13,507 in 2006 maybe we should have stayed with Crispin Colvin and built on his initial run. Gar Knutson received 15,860 in 2004 when he lost the seat to Joe Preston and Knutson had 17,890 in 2000 when the right was still split.

This riding will always need a lot of grassroots work to elect a Liberal no matter who the national leader is.

Thank you for your community work. We do each need to do our bit and it's nice to hear of others who we may not have come across before but who are like-minded about giving to the community. It's nice to make your acquaintance.