Monday, October 20, 2008

Adieu Monsieur Dion

Dion to resign after Liberals choose new leader
Last Updated: Monday, October 20, 2008 | 6:08 PM ET

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said Monday he will step down after a leadership convention, blaming his party's losses in the federal election mainly on its inability to counter Conservative "propaganda" against his Green Shift carbon tax.

I happen to think that Stéphane Dion is a profoundly decent human being. And, while I do think that attacks on the Green Shift policy played a role in the recent poor Liberal showing, I also perceived a particularly nasty sort of anti-intellectualism in play against Dion. The fact that this sort of flaunting and celebration of ignorance enjoyed the success that it did is very offensive and deeply worrying. "Read a damn book sometime; it won't hurt you," says I.

On a related note, and speaking of ignorance, I have read much since the election on the subject of the dreaded Bloc Quebecois holding the balance of power. Comments on this issue tend to run along these lines, generally and occasionally verbatim: "Only in Canada would a separatist party be allowed to hold the balance of power in Parliament." Um, no. First of all, while the Bloc has a share in the parliamentary balance of power, so do the Liberals and NDP. If any one of those parties chooses to support the Conservatives on a piece of legislation, that legislation will pass, simple as that. Secondly, separatist parties holding the balance of power is not a phenomenon in any way unique to Canada. In fact, it's pretty much the rule in any nation that has a parliamentary system and features either more than one large ethnic group with a solid geographic base or significant economic disparities between different areas of the country. There are separatist, or at least strong regionalist, groups holding the balance of power, or very close to it, in Belgium, Italy, and Spain, to name but three.

Here endeth the grump.


Stealthy Dachshund said...

Dion was described as the best environment minister Canada has ever had. Seems accurate.

Chunklets said...

He'd have to be up there on the list in any case!