Monday, December 08, 2008

The Dion resignation, part II and other Liberal leadership items

"Dion steps down." On the Dion resignation today, admittedly, the coalition coming into being in order to put Mr. Harper in his place was not foreseeable following the October 14th election results. Mr. Harper, reasonable people thought, following the election would have to act in a chastened manner having received yet another minority government. In such circumstances, Dion might well have stayed on to prepare for a normal succession. Who knew Harper would immediately commence with bomb throwing at the opposition at the earliest opportunity forcing them to fight? And I guess having just written that sentence, and thinking about the DNA of Mr. Harper for the seconds it took to write it, really, we should have known and Dion should have factored in the possibility. Hindsight is the great clarifier, though, isn't it?

Miscellaneous thoughts on the Liberal leadership process as it is now unfolding...

I have tremendous respect for the stance that Bob Rae is taking at the present moment and the courage it took Gerard Kennedy to muster to speak out for grassroots involvement, in the face of the news that around 55 of his colleagues are supporting Mr. Ignatieff. Of course, that would have to be confirmed in some kind of ballot. Kudos to Martha Hall Findlay too:

“I want to be sure that whatever actions we take over the next days and weeks will keep in mind, first and foremost, the longer-term health and renewal of the Liberal party,” said Toronto MP and former leadership candidate Martha Hall Findlay, who has not declared her support for either leadership candidate.

“I have long been a supporter of the one-member one-vote approach; if we can do it constitutionally, we should. Given the circumstances, I also agree with trying to find a way to speed up the leadership selection process, provided only that it still involves in one way or another all party members.”

While it's clear that Mr. Harper's abominations need to be stood up to by bold leadership, I have doubts about this urgent caucus groupthink situation that's causing a shut down of the leadership process and a circling the wagons mentality. It's not sitting right. Would this circling of the wagons be happening, but for Mr. Harper's affronts? And should his conduct therefore be permitted to infect the Liberal processes?

I'm for a democratic, legitimate way of settling the process. Not into "hail fellow, well met" processes. I hope the national executive will respect its rules, yes, but be creative in applying them. There's time for participation. And whoever wins that process, all the more legitimacy to them.