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.