Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Cherniak on Dion

A two-line dismissal of any leadership run by him this time out:
He should not, however, lead the Liberal Party at this time. We need a leader who is emotive.
Jason elaborates in a comment to his original post:
By "emotive" I do not necessarily mean charismatic. I mean a person who makes people feel like he/she cares what they have to say. Martin used to have the ability and it is why he used to be popular. Once he lost it, he didn't have anything on Harper other than experience. Essentially, we need a person who will listen to problems, think about them and then answer. Dion is too certain that he is right - it is the Chretien style and I do not think it is what we need at this point in time.
The "Chretien-style". There you have one element of the internal party opposition to Dion exposed early, that he is too much of Chretien. [put aside that Martin was the one who picked Lapierre over him, of course. Lapierre was such a winning replacement. -ed.] Any Dion candidacy is certain to face heavy opposition from the Martin wing, right from the outset.

My real issue with his "analysis", however, is that it is far too simplified as to be meaningless. Is Dion certain he is right on issues of, say, taxation? healthcare? Canada-U.S. relations? If so, I would be interested in the comprehensive airing of his opinions on the policy nuances. As Minister of the Environment, he just chaired a UN conference on Kyoto to great acclaim, and it seems to me that if you are "too certain you are right", it is difficult to do that effectively. Even on federalism, as Cosh notes today, Dion is still in the process of formulating his approach going forward given the new climate.

But, more than too many who aspire to the leadership of the Liberals, at least he exhibits signs of a willingness to think. Cherniak may want someone who "listens, thinks, and answers". Fair enough. Personally, I am more swayed by the candidates I feel may have the right answers and comes to the right decisions in the end, as opposed to the pandering listeners lacking in substance.

Perhaps the real complaint here is that Dion will be too quick to draw principled lines in the sand: "This is my position. If you disagree? Fine, you disagree." Cherniak seems to prefer the Martin approach of openness on all things to all comers.

Well, we saw how well that worked out. Let the Liberal leadership race be a race of ideas as much as of personalities, an argument over the directions the country might take. That party will be far better for it.


Blogger calgarygrit said...

The LAST thing this party needs is an indecisive flip floper.

I'm not saying I endorse Dion 100%, but if Martin has taught us nothing else it's that we need a strong leader who makes decisions.

11:30 PM  
Blogger Scott Tribe said...

Well.. I've already made my stance fairly clear where I stand on Dion's possible entry.

The sooner the better. This guy is no ditherer and could stand up to both Duceppe and Harper.

12:23 AM  
Blogger Jason Cherniak said...

This has nothing to do with Martin. The reference to Chretien is about style - are you now forgetting that for a time people other than Liberal believers really were looking forward to Martin as PM? It was because they got sick of the Chretien style.

I quite like Dion and was upset when Martin did not keep him in cabinet. I just honestly do not think that he is right for PM at this moment in time.

1:21 AM  
Blogger A BCer in Toronto said...

I do feel that we haven't had a true Leader in some time. Not someone that puts their finger to the wind or is looking for a parade to lead, but someone with deeply-held convitions who seeks to rally the people to his cause with the strength and pasion of his arguments. I think that could be Dion.

1:32 AM  
Blogger Liam O'Brien said...

Dion isn't just decisive, he seems to ooze that Liberal political view that gained popularity as Pearson's reign ended and which has sustained many Liberals since then.

I don't agree with Dion on his view of how to best deal with Quebec issues / separation (and apparently many quebeckers - including people from PLQ - don't care for him either), his disdainful attitude towards Canada's provinces, his rigid view of federalism in general. . . .

From what I can gather, he's a lefty on a lot of economics and justice stuff too. Two more strikes in my book,

Then again, I'm a pro-provincial rights economic conservative. I'm not supposed to like guys like Dion.

He'd be a return to the Trudeau/Chretien-side of the party -- and maybe he'd offer the Liberals the political soul they lost somewhere in the last 2 years. He'd certainly provide a sharp contrast to Harper these days.

From the perspective of looking for, as James said, the right answers, McKenna or Ignatieff might be better bets.

But if you want post-1970s honest to goodness capital L Liberal answers. Dion is at least consistent that way!

10:57 AM  
Blogger Barrelman said...


Forgive my glibness, but in retrospect, the Chretien style seems vastly superior to what followed.


mind if I link you your blog on mine?

Thanks. DP

8:50 PM  
Blogger Jason Cherniak said...

I agree. However, that does not mean that it is vastly superior to ever other option.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Liam O'Brien said...

What followed the Chretien approach was a few moments of the Martin approach we remember from way back, witgh the remaining moments spent in a mad dash back to the Chretien approach. . . . which may have been politically effective in winning seats for the red Ontario dalmations, but it also was the approach of polarizing the country (writing off most of Quebec, the west, some of the East's aspirations, all to satisfiy seat-rich areas).

We saw some classic Chretien first English debate -- with an english audience in mind, Martin tore into Duceppe and used him as a bogey man prop . . . . yet he was much calmer and less fight-oriented in the french debates. . . Dr. Jekcretien & Mr. Martinhyde. . .


9:34 AM  

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