Cold Hard Wonk

No sentiment but politics

Hopes and Dreams

Posted by JJ in Federal Elections, Strategic Planning, Blue Nose, Warm Heart (Friday April 13, 2007 at 9:35 am)

What Stephane Dion hopes to accomplish by not running a candidate against Green Party Leader Elizabeth May in the next election:

  • Prove his committment to the environment
  • Show that he’s capable of working with others

What Stephane Dion inadvertently says by doing it:

  • The Greens are a better choice than the Liberals if you’re environmentally-minded
  • The Green Party, rather than his own party, tells him what to do

Does no one remember the last time a Liberal leader tried to look multilateral and advertised his party as a second choice? That didn’t work out quite so well.

Nevermind the fact that, in addition to his own team’s inevitable pratfalls during the coming campaign. Dion can now also be hounded for every Green Party gaffe, like Vancouver-Kingsway hopeful, Kevin Potvin, a 9/11 conspiracy theory supporter who declared the World Trade Centre’s descruction fist-pumpingly beautiful in 2002. The National Post has the jump on this by juxtaposing the two stories in today’s ‘News’ section. Naturally, M. Dion won’t be receiving credit for the Greens’ insights.

Of course, the Greens may reciprocate by not running a candidate in Dion’s riding of Saint-Laurent-Cartierville, which may be the second-safest Liberal seat in the country. In 2006, Dion won his seat with more than 50% of the total votes cast and an 18,000-vote margin over his nearest rival. Not having to face the Greens will have about as much electoral impact as sailing an unmarked paper boat down the St. Lawrence, but without any comparable aesthetic merits.

Considering all of which, one question remains:

Is the outside chance of embarrassing Peter MacKay worth any of those downsides?

1 comment for Hopes and Dreams »

  1. Let’s set aside Dion’s intent for a moment; what are the actual consequences of this (a May endorsement for Dion)?

    1. Dion is slightly more likely to lose a spring election than he would already clearly lose, and which probably won’t happen anyway - leaving plenty of time for voters to forget about this amidst Afghanistan etc.

    2. The removal of any excuse for May not to win her chosen seat other than her own lack of appeal. It calls the Green bluff: that they can do better at centrism than the Liberals.

    3. The likely utter destruction of the Greens’ potential as a populist vehicle. Voters will forget, but Beatnik Green grassroots won’t.. Ever. You think Dion should be wary of Kevin Potvin? How do you think Kevin Potvin feels about Stephan Dion? ..Or Michael Ignetief?!?

    So this can’t be anything other than excellent news for the Liberals, strategically.

    Now, do I think Dion plans it that way? Of course not. He’s doing it because he really does want to see her win a seat. But blundering into success by following his heart is the man’s MO. This won’t be the last time, I’ll suspect.

    Comment by quetico — 4/17/2007 @ 11:24 pm

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