Two years ago I was really pissed off at the way Stephane Dion won the leadership via a secret deal with Gerard Kennedy and some split-timing shenanigans that did an end-run around the democratic process.
But even though I didn't support Dion for Liberal leader, I don't understand the flack he's getting these days. It's really over the top.
The guy is super-intelligent and has a ton of cabinet experience. He's sincere. He's passionate. He radiates integrity. There is no question that he is ready to be prime minister.
The main thing against Dion is his ability to speak English. Even there the problem is only with pronunciation. Aside from that his English language skills are excellent, and definitely a lot better than Chretien's. Or Harper's French.
He is blamed for the Green Shift. Don't forget, though, that he had some bad luck on timing. When he brought out the Green Shift the environment was the big issue on Canadian's minds. (I criticized the plan because it is revenue neutral; I thought that new taxes should be collected to pay for transit and so on. But it doesn't raise taxes at all.) Almost immediately after he announced the plan the economy started to stumble, and the economy became the priority of Canadians. Even though the plan will in no way slow the economy, the Conservatives were able to sell the story that it would.
Some pundits are saying that Dion doesn't connect with people. I just find that hard to believe. He's adorable. He has a sweet, wry way about him, and he's by far the best looking of our national leaders. The Liberals shouldn't be leaving Dion out of ads - they should be showing more of him. They don't have to do a personality whitewash as the Conservatives did with Harper. Just film him doing his thing, and this nonsense image that's being created of him will disappear.