It’s funny how the final battle of the 2006 Liberal leadership convention came down to one between the two main professorial eggheads of the race. I drew the above cartoon back in early April. Some leadership conventions are difficult to predict but this one was a real roller coaster from the start of the first ballot to the end of the fourth. It is said that the King Maker of this race emerged after the second ballot when Gerard Kennedy pulled out and threw his support to Stephane Dion. Once the third ballot was tabulated Bob Rae was knocked off, pretty much finishing off what ever strength was left from the dwindling support held by Michael Ignatieff.
What can I say about a Liberal leader who so far in my editorial cartooning career I’ve probably drawn maybe 5 times? In assessing all the Liberal leadership candidates back in this blog on September 29, here’s what I had to say about Stephane Dion:
Stephane Dion – They say Ken Dryden bores an audience to sleep when he stands up and makes a speech. What about Dion? Man, is he ever tiresome… and humourless. As annoying as Jean Chretien was with his choppy English at least he could be funny. Dion is just painful to listen to. I’m all for the Liberals alternating between anglophone and francophone leaders… and the party is due for a french speaking leader if tradition dictates… but pick one who can speak both languages elegantly, like Trudeau, or Ste. Laurent (I suppose).
True enough, the Liberals have kept their tradition by electing a francophone. While that shouldn’t matter in our happy bilingual country, it’s guaranteed to rub some anglophones the wrong way. “Here we go again”, some will say, “yet another Quebecker is poised to be the next Prime Minister of Canada.” That may very well bold well for party support in Quebec, but it’s pretty predictable that english talk radio’s about to broadcast the voices of many people tired of seeing short lived english Prime Ministers followed by long reigning eras headed by francophones. Not to mention, a francophone LIberal leader who seems to have made Jean Chretien the second happiest person coming out of this convention.
Hopefully Dion can steer and park the party in a clearer and definable left of centre position on issues where Canadian Liberals ought to be, at a midway point between the Conservatives and the NDP. It might make voting easier for Canadians. Problem is that there may no longer be any room left for a lot of those so called blue Liberals — the people who pretty much handed the party consequative governments throughout the 90’s. Stephen Harper’s got to be pretty pleased with that prospect.