Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Stéphane Dion's Frank Talk on National Unity

Stéphane Dion's recent release entitled "Frank Talk Needed on National Unity" is commendable, and I hope to see more from his camp on precisely this issue.

As one of the intellectual giants of the leadership campaign, Dion has much to contribute to an otherwise lackluster debate; on the issues important to Canadians, there's been a lot of fluff, but little in the way of substantive contributions. Dryden muses about child care. Rae criticizes the softwood lumber deal. Bevilacqua congratulates the World Cup Champions. And Volpe's mostly concerned with getting children involved in the party. Not exactly an inspiring bunch.

Dion's contribution, however, is a step in the right direction. Within the rhetoric one finds an insightful analysis of the flaws in separatists' arguments. More importantly, one finds genuine consideration of the issue of the "fiscal imbalance" rather than political pandering. Dion's views may not make him the most popular politician in Quebec, but his intellectual honesty ought to give him a boost elsewhere.

The next step in his campaign must be a clear policy statement on the very same issue. Dion has provided, in that statement, a philosophical justification for his position while cutting the separatists legs out from beneath them. He now has to build on that philosophy to create a policy statement that Canadians can consider and debate.

His intellectual depth and honesty are two of the major reasons why Barbara Yaffe may be correct when she recently mused that Dion may ultimately emerge victorious in the latter ballots of the convention. Indeed, Dion may be better than just a compromise candidate; he may be legitimate Prime Minsterial material.


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