Ever since Tuesday's election of Obama, I've been trying to think of when I've felt anything near the same emotion and excitement. My first election was in 1979 and that was not a particularly good one for my political hero, Trudeau. He did return to power in 1980 and led us well for a few more years. Once he retired, I felt we wouldn't see another charismatic leader with the intellect to comprehend the needs of Canada and Canadians.
In Montreal, I did feel that emotion again when we chose Stephane Dion. I was thrilled but this quickly turned to dismay as I watched the Liberal Party squander this man's integrity by not being there to support him wholeheartedly. I personally can't think of a single one of those leadership contenders in 2006 who deserves a shot at running again. As a grassroots Liberal, I did what I could but the powers that actually manipulate the strings did not do what they could have and certainly not what they should have. I have little stomach for the coming race.
I admired the clarity of the Green Shift plan and it made sense to me. I don't have a clue what planet the media resides on that they couldn't comprehend something so simple as shifting taxes from what we earn to what we burn. The Liberal Party did not get behind Dion and his Green Shift and we may live to regret this missed opportunity for a long time. I believe Stephane Dion would have been a great Prime Minister, if only we, the Liberal Party, had given him the chance he deserved. Personally, I'm surprised he's not bitter but instead had the grace to take a good decision for the party and the country. And he's absolutely right, we did not have the resources to properly defend his good name from the outrageous, vitrolic campaign against him which Harper initiated almost immediately. It was a shameful, pitiful lack of unity that has squandered a great leader's potential.
NOW, to get to that one other moment that I was reminded of when Obama was elected. It came to me when I was doing a mindless repetitive task, as all good ideas do. I was raking leaves and it flashed in my mind.
You might remember the day I was thinking of, yourself. Many of us were looking to the promise of Paul Martin's minority government and his ideas. One day, Martin made a profound announcement and it still sends a chill through me. I heard the announcement on the radio. His choice of Michaelle Jean to be our Governor General was nothing short of truly inspirational. Completely unexpected and out of the blue, he made the one choice that could pleasantly surprise everyone in the country.
And what a Governor General, Michaelle Jean has been too!