Monday, October 20, 2008

Stephane Dion Resigns, But Will Stay On Until A New Leader Is Chosen

Stephane Dion in a press conference today announced he will stay on as Liberal Leader until a new Leader is selected through a Leadership Convention as organized by the National Executive.

A modest and inspiring Dion spoke about his experience as Leader and the importance of unity within the Party. When asked about the defeat of October 14, the outgoing Liberal Leader responded with the idea that the Liberal Party selecting a new leader is but only a part Liberal renewal. Increased introspection is needed and deeper problems need to be resolved.

Stephane Dion also addressed the Party's financial problems, citing that the Conservatives, with their immense funds, attacked him like no other Liberal Leader before. Dion followed this statement up by suggesting one of the reason's why he is staying on until a new leader is chosen is so no other Liberal leader is attacked as he was.

When asked about his own performance as Leader, Dion said he was told by his advisers that he did quite well, that he spoke with passion and about substance; however it was the fact Canadians did not get a chance to know him that was the main reason for the Liberal defeat.

One reporter wondered how Dion feels about being only the second Liberal Leader since Edward Blake not to be Prime Minister, Dion responded by stating that he is not thinking of that, he is looking to the future, to prepare the ground for his new successor.

A last reporter asked if Dion was bitter about the whole process,and again Dion reiterated that no, he was looking for the future. Dion said sure he was disappointed he lost, but he acknowledged that one must respect the democratic process.

Throughout this conference Stephane Dion emphasized two points that led to the Liberal loss on Oct. 14 and why he is resigning; the first is the Conservatives had cemented in the mind of Canadians the image that Dion was a poor leader, and the second is Canadians did not have a chance to get to know him.

Underlying Stephane Dion's speech and responses was that there was a fundamental factor that caused both of the above problems, and that was the Liberal Party's lack of funds. That because of the Conservatives war chest, they could spend millions on pre-writ campaign ads to frame Dion as a poor leader, while the Liberals were forced to a defensive position.

The Liberal Leadership convention will most likely be in May in Vancouver. Due to the Liberal Party's Constitution, the Convention must still consist of delegates who are elected from ridings across Canada. The estimates are that 9-12 Liberal candidates will run for leader.


Anonymous said...

I did not think we would get a 2nd chance quite so quickly. But, we will take it.

Rest assured, this time Team MI will push it over the goal line.

The Dogs Have it! said...

Hmmm...Dion sounds like a sore loser to me. Just my humble opinion...

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...1979 redux.

Deb Prothero said...

The best of a bad situation. I support Dion staying on. I believe he has exactly nailed the situation. The money made on the last leadership convention should have been spent on advertising to protect Dion from the vitrolic advertising.

Unfortunately, the delegates to the next convention will be full of ex-officios who will line up behind anyone who has celeb status in an effort to win power. That is not what the Liberal party is about for me. It's about policies and ideals. How will they raise money from the grassroots if they don't want to hear from them.

Anon...what is the 1979 situation. Are you referring to Trudeau coming back. That in my opinion would be the best thing. Have the government fall and Dion is asked to lead us into it. Or lead the coalition government. I love that idea.

Ron said...

Exactly what can he accomplish in the next 7 months he couldn't do in the last 30? There can be no serious rebuilding work under him; he clearly stated he was right and it was only because Canadians were fooled by the Conservatives that he lost - exactly how is that going to help the party move forward. He should have left today with some sort of dignity. Now he will face the jibes and knives from all sides of the house including (or particularly) from his own party. Meanwhile, the leadership race will become more bitter and divisive because both Rae and Ignatieff know this is their very last kick at that particular can.

Anonymous said...

Ron: If he didn't stay on Goodale or McCallum would have been leader and both don't have the personality a Leader needs. Dion not only deserves to stay on as interim, but I think he has the personality to respond and attack the Conservatives.

At the very least Canadians see Dion as a leader something Goodale and McCallum would have to earn.

Deb: I fully agree the Convention rules and procedures need to change, however due to our Party's Constitution we are stuck with this format for the next Convention.


NVan City's George Pringle said...

He needed the extra cash to pay some of his leadership debt.

Anonymous said...

Nvan: True he still owes 200,000 in loans but he's still an MP and will nonetheless be a Cabinet minister so I don't think that was a factor.

Skinny Dipper said...

Dion will be a leader with no power. Ignatieff and Rae will be campaigning around the country with their supporting MPs. There is no way that those two will let the first Conservative budget be defeated even if Dion wants to.

The Conservatives will get a free ride from the Liberals for the next seven months.

Anonymous said...

Skinny: I don't think the Conservatives will have a free hand. Considering the economy is on the brink of a recession, the Conservatives will not only be restrained in their economic activities but they won't want an election because I predict their numbers will drop soon enough.

Not saying Liberals will reign, but I'm saying no one will want an election in the next few months.


Patrick Ross said...

I wouldn't expect Bob Rae to be as much of a factor this time around. Ujjal Dosanjh will draw important left-wing support away from him.

Anonymous said...

ABRI- anyone but Rae or Ignatieff.
Didn't want them last time, not going to happen this time. We need a real renewal Leader.