Sunday, December 03, 2006

Stephane Dion - my beau risque

I've seldom provided my wholehearted support for a politician although I've work for many. It doesn't mean that I work any harder or less hard for some than others, I just mean that in my heart of hearts, some politicians have occupied more of that volume than others.

Clyde Wells in 1989 was one of those. Nobody expected him to win that election and, in fact, he won less of the popular vote than a battered and bleeding 17 year old PC administration. Still he carried the day and, I believe, ushered in a government more concerned with doing the right thing than doing the political thing than many we have seen before or since.

About 10 years ago, I started to follow the career of a little-known Quebec politician, recruited by PM Jean Chretien from the academic community, who took on and stared down the PQ government and assorted Quebec separatists. As one with little time for separatists of any stripe, that caught my attention. His later work on the environment and his loyalty to the common cause that is the Liberal Party of Canada cemented my admiration of his character and his policies.

So when Stephane Dion announced that he was going to run for leader, I signed up for my first campaign in a long time where I truly believed in the superiority of my candidate over any of the possible alternatives.

In the end I had to make a choice: I could follow conventional wisdom and follow the crowd behind a candidate likely to win (Rae or Iggy) or I could take the path less trod. As it turned out, I ended up backing and assisting a candidate which very few pundits, locally or nationally, ever thought would win.

But I was convinced that, notwithstanding that common dismissal, that he should win because I thought he was the best choice for reasons of policy, national unity and character.

And he did. Talk about a beau risque.

Congratulations Mr. Dion - A new day starts today.

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