Monday, December 08, 2008

Stephane the Not-Quite Gone

Dion to step down as Liberal leader a little sooner

For those paying close attention to the winding-down of Stephane Dion's flirtation with the leadership of the Liberal party, a noticeable pattern is starting to emerge:

Dion is going to step down as the leader of the Liberal party. ...But not just yet.

Today Stephane Dion announced (again) that he will step down as the leader of the Liberal party. In a press statement released today Dion announced he will "step aside as Leader of the Liberal Party effective as soon as [his] successor is duly chosen."

However, that time will now come much sooner than previously expected, as the Liberal party prepares to significantly bump up its leadership convention.

"As the Governor General has granted a prorogation, it is a logical time for us Liberals to assess how we can best prepare our party to carry this fight forward," Dion mused.

"There is a sense in the party, and certainly in the caucus, that given these new circumstances the new leader needs to be in place before the House resumes. I agree. I recommend this course to my party and caucus."

The Liberals are now pointing toward a date in January for the selection of their new leader. They're even considering an online balloting process in order to streamline the affair.

Still, January will not be soon enough for some Liberals.

Among the high profile Liberals calling for Dion's immediate resignation are Stephen LeDrew and John Manley, who can't wait to see Dion gone.

Considering Dion's recent behaviour -- striking a deal with the NDP and the separatist Bloc Quebecois to form a coalition government -- LeDrew and Manley are both right to demand Dion's immediate resignation. Any Liberals who understand the consequences of Dion's proposal should be doing likewise. Doubtlessly, many are.

But the January date for the selection of Dion's replacement is as big a mistake for the Liberal party as the Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition would have been for the country. What the Liberal party needs is a complete process of institutional renewal -- something much like the Liberal 308 initiative, and it needs to choose a leader that reflects its renewed values and principles.

It cannot do this if it rushes to coronate either Michael Ignatieff or Bob Rae as Dion's eagerly-awaited replacement.

With Dion set to finally relinquish the reigns of power in the Liberal party, it seems that the Grit elites are still planning to take shortcuts to the resumption of the reigns of power federally.

Just as before, it will almost certainly prove to be a disaster for all those involved.

Other bloggers writing on this topic

Prairie Tory - "Stephane Dion to Step Down"

Chucker Canuck 2.0 - "Dion, Then and Now"

Red Canuck - "Dion's Gone... Now What?

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