Monday, October 16, 2006

Me Speak Pretty One Day

Stephane Dion on CTV Newsnet last weekend, responding to criticism about his ability to speak English:

"I think it's mostly by people who never heard me to speak."

I feel a little nasty repeating that, but come on guys, this is a real issue. You can't write off Anglo candidates because their French isn't up to snuff and then ignore this guy's mangling of English.

Chretien got away with it because everyone said that he couldn't speak French either and it fit in with his "little guy from Shawinagan" mythology. And he didn't get away with it completely: in the English debates he always came off as hesitant and a little bumbling, while in the French debates he was forceful and much more charismatic, I'm sure because he didn't have to pause and translate in his head. Also, one might argue that the Liberals could have elected anyone after the disaster of the Mulroney administration, and then Chretien had the wile and wits to hold on. We're in a different era now.


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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

So it was okay for Chretien because he had bad french and was dumb, but not okay for Dion because he has bad English and is brilliant?

Dion's english is better than Chretien's, and he is a master debater. He made me proud to be a Liberal his weekend !

Anonymous said...

I think Stephane's english is fine. His accent is just very thick.

robedger said...

Many many pundits have opined that Dion has won every debate so far. If M. Dion can beat all the english candidates in their native language, that is certainly good enough for me.

David said...

I was at the debate yesterday with 5 friends. All of us are LIberals who are undecided about who we want to win the leadership. All of us were shocked at how bad Dion's English is. The man will not win in Ontario. It is the Liberal party's base and our key to getting back to government. I like Stephane but he should not win.

Clear Grit said...

So it was okay for Chretien because he had bad french and was dumb, but not okay for Dion because he has bad English and is brilliant?

Fuck, QED