Monday, December 04, 2006

Stephane Dion: A Good Choice

Personally, I felt the Liberal convention was compelling television. I truly believe that no one could have predicted the result. Not only is Stephane Dion the right man to lead the Grits, he is also proof that just because someone with a "name" enters the race, it does not mean that they automatically go to the front of the line.

By "name," I am referring to people like Michael Ignatiff and Bob Rae.

Iggy and Rae are known as "star candidates;" well-known citizens who parachute into a political party, with the hopes that there name and reputation outside their particular party, will be enough for them to become the leader. What these star candidates do, is step in front of all the other members who have been with the party for years and are more deserving and even a better choice for the leadership. This has occurred with all of Canada's political parties and it is not fair.

I am a firm believer that people who deserve success are the ones that work for it. In other words, they are the ones who "pay their dues." Stephen Harper didn't just show up and become the Prime Minister. He had to work for it. He first ran for parliament in 1988 and over the next 18 years, he worked as an MP as well as an expert behind the scenes. He built up a reputation and ultimately became leader of the Conservatives and the PM. The same can be said about Jean Chretien. He was first elected to parliament in the early 1960's. For thirty years, he built up a reputation and all that hardwork paid off when he led the Liberals to victory in the 1993 election. In fact, every Canadian Prime Minister of the last sixty years (with the exception of a couple), started off sitting in the back rows of the House of Commons and eventually moved up. They all paid their dues before moving into 24 Sussex.

If I was Stephan Dion, I would be insulted that despite everything I have done for my party during the past ten years, that same party would rather choose someone who has either a.) no experience in politics and has lived outside of Canada for quite some time; or b.) has lots of experience in provincial and federal politics, but with a completely different party. If such a thing were to happen, Dion would probably relate to Lorne Nystrom.

Nystrom was an NDP MP from 1968 to 1993 and again from 1997 to 2004. In 2003 he ran for the leadership of the NDP. I attended one of the contenders debates and to me, Nystrom was perfect for the job. He was intelligent, eloquent, down to earth and cared about his country. Unfortunately, his party chose to elect someone who had never sat in the House of Commons and whose only experience was that of city council.

Don't get my wrong, Ignatiff and Rae would probably be good leaders. However, if they want to lead they should first spend some time as MPs in order to get a feeling of how things work and build up their reputations on Parliament Hill.

So congratulations to Stephane Dion. He has certainly earned his spot. Of course, his challenge now would be to defeat the Harper Government and that, will be no easy task.

The Hek

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