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Dion resigns but will remain as leader for now (Canada's Liberal Party Leader)
The Toronto Star ^ | Oct 20, 2008 03:04 PM | Bruce Campion-Smith

Posted on 10/20/2008 12:23:43 PM PDT by fanfan

OTTAWA - Stephane Dion is stepping down as Liberal leader.

He will remain leader until a replacement is chosen, he told a news conference today.

"I will not be a candidate for the leadership," Dion said.

Dion made official today what had been rumoured for days - that his tenure as party leader was ending after less than two years.

He becomes only the second leader in Liberal history not to have served as prime minister.

His fate was sealed by last week's election results, when the party lost 19 seats and suffered a loss in popular support.

Dion said he spent the last few days "in reflection" deciding his future in politics.

The former political science professor said he came into politics to help keep the country together.

Dion said he accepts his share of responsibility for the "disappointing" election results.

But he said the problems of the party go beyond leadership and he cited party fundraising as one great hurdle to Liberals' election hopes.

He noted that the well-financed Conservatives were able to spend "massive" amounts on advertising slamming Dion and the Liberals' carbon tax plan.

"This is a trend that has to be reversed," Dion said.

He said the Liberals must bring their fundraising into the 21st century or the party will be at a "permanent political disadvantage."

"We cannot allow others to distort and confuse just because they have more money," Dion said.

If the Liberals had the cash to advertise its policies and its leader, Dion said he's confident the party would have won.

Dion blamed the Conservative "propaganda" for shaping his image in the public mind and says now it would be too hard to change.

"It is cemented in the mindset of Canadians too much," he said.

He said he was not bitter at the outcome. "The past is the past," he said.

The once-mighty, self-described “natural governing party” is now likely to turn a previously scheduled policy convention, booked for May in Vancouver, into a leadership convention.

The contest is almost certain to become another showdown between deputy leader Michael Ignatieff and former Ontario NDP premier Bob Rae. They were the front-runners in the 2006 contest but so polarized the race that Dion was able to come up the middle to score a stunning come-from-behind victory.

Both men, former university roommates, have kept their leadership machines warmed up and began quietly revving up their engines immediately after last Tuesday’s election.

The Liberals were reduced to 76 seats, down from 103 in 2006. They captured just 26.2 per cent of the popular vote — two points less than the party’s disastrous showing under John Turner in 1984 and only four points ahead of its worst-ever showing in 1867.

Liberals who fear another polarizing clash of titans are casting about for alternatives, including former New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna and former deputy prime minister John Manley.

Liberals close to McKenna say he’s very unlikely to take the plunge, but Manley has been coy about his intentions.

Two other contenders from the 2006 contest could take another stab at the top job: former Ontario cabinet minister Gerard Kennedy, the kingmaker who ensured Dion’s victory; and Toronto MP Martha Hall Findlay, who ran last in 2006.

Other possible contenders include: New Brunswick MP Dominic LeBlanc, Montreal MP Denis Coderre, Ottawa MP David McGuinty, and Vancouver MP Ujjal Dosanjh.

Liberal insiders have said Dion was bitterly disappointed by the election results. He and some of his tiny band of loyal supporters believed he deserved a second chance to reverse Liberal fortunes.

But Dion was forced to accept that he simply could not win a mandatory, party-wide vote of confidence in his leadership, the results of which would have been announced at the May convention. He had neither the strong base of support nor the money required to win a leadership review campaign.

Dion still has about $200,000 in debts from the 2006 leadership.

The owlish former university professor never seemed to connect with party members or the public. He was bedevilled throughout his term as leader by whisper campaigns and leaks from caucus.

Within a month of Dion taking the helm, the Conservatives launched a stinging series of attack ads depicting him as weak and ``Not a leader.” The ads helped define Dion in the public’s mind before he had a chance to define himself.

Ignoring the advice of many MPs, strategists and his own pollster, Dion compounded his problems by adopting a complicated proposal to impose a carbon tax — offset by cuts to income and business taxes — as the centrepiece of his election platform.

The plan proved difficult to explain during the campaign, particularly given Dion’s halting English, and presented an easy target for the Tories.

With files from The Canadian Press


TOPICS: Canada; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 10/20/2008 12:23:43 PM PDT by fanfan
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To: GMMAC; Clive; exg; kanawa; backhoe; -YYZ-; Former Proud Canadian; Squawk 8888; headsonpikes; ...
Darn.


2 posted on 10/20/2008 12:24:43 PM PDT by fanfan (SCC:Canadians have constitutional protection to all opinions, as long as they are based on the facts)
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To: fanfan

Wish he would stay on. I thought he wasn’t a quitter?


3 posted on 10/20/2008 12:26:54 PM PDT by balk (thefightnetwork.com)
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To: fanfan
I LOVE it! Stephane Dion vowed never to quit but after the hammering the Liberals took in the election last week, it was obvious his fate was sealed. Like John Turner, he's now a footnote in Canadian history. And the shrunken and demoralized Liberals will not only have to find a new leader, they have a big rebuilding job ahead of them.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

4 posted on 10/20/2008 12:30:40 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: fanfan

Dion is a “Runaway”?


5 posted on 10/20/2008 12:31:26 PM PDT by Mikey_1962 (Obama: The Affirmative Action Candidate)
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To: goldstategop

Not to mention the refunding job ahead of them.

;-)


6 posted on 10/20/2008 12:33:11 PM PDT by fanfan (SCC:Canadians have constitutional protection to all opinions, as long as they are based on the facts)
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To: balk

I wish he would stay too.


7 posted on 10/20/2008 12:34:10 PM PDT by fanfan (SCC:Canadians have constitutional protection to all opinions, as long as they are based on the facts)
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To: fanfan

8 posted on 10/20/2008 12:38:53 PM PDT by caveat emptor
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To: caveat emptor

That’s a pathetic Gallic shrug. Nobody could do the shrug like Pierre Trudeau. When Trudeau shrugged, his total contempt for the “masses” was obvious. Dion seems to be pleading: “Why me? What did I do? It’s not my fault”. Trudeau made it clear that he didn’t care what his critics thought — Dion makes it clear that he cares too much.


9 posted on 10/20/2008 12:51:39 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: caveat emptor; Cindy; backhoe

It’s sad, you know.

He was such a patsy for the power brokers.

The Liberal Party of Canada used him as a caretaker, so the big powers could come back in, when the electorate calmed down.

They didn’t know the internet would put their lies to truth, so right now there isn’t much of a Liberal party to save.

Watch though, in the next few months, for someone backed by Maurice Strong, and Soros.


10 posted on 10/20/2008 12:56:37 PM PDT by fanfan (SCC:Canadians have constitutional protection to all opinions, as long as they are based on the facts)
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To: fanfan

the Liberals are in a bad spot. Replacing Dion with someone else won’t make a difference. the problem is, they have no base. If you are on the left, you’ll be excited by NDP or BQ, not Liberal. The Liberals are the boring, practical, left of center party and are being attrited.
On the other hand, Harper’s Conservatives united the moderates with the conservative base and that is the way to go.


11 posted on 10/20/2008 1:05:14 PM PDT by ari-freedom (It's the socialism, stupid.)
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To: fanfan
The problem is the Liberals are to the left of much of Canada but particularly Ontario voters. If they cannot win outside of Toronto and the Maritimes, they're doomed to be in perpetual opposition. They have to find their way back to the center. Not an easy thing to do when they're competing with the NDP and the Bloc for the same voters they once had. And the Liberal brand name is losing much of its potent magic for Canadians.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

12 posted on 10/20/2008 1:07:50 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: fanfan; exg; Alberta's Child; albertabound; AntiKev; backhoe; Byron_the_Aussie; Cannoneer No. 4; ...

-


13 posted on 10/20/2008 1:07:54 PM PDT by Clive
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To: ari-freedom
The Liberals have to be the bland and boring centrist party that delivers balanced budgets and good governments. They can't do that if they espouse wackadoo leftist ideas like the carbon tax. In short, they have to appeal to Western Canada. House Of Commons seats will shift West after the 2011 Census and most of them will go to Alberta. And if they can't find a way to be competitive in the West, no amount of wins in Ontario and Quebec will bring them back into power.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

14 posted on 10/20/2008 1:11:19 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop
"They can't do that if they espouse wackadoo leftist ideas like the carbon tax."

It doesn't seem to matter in the US.Obama's Carbon Ultimatum

15 posted on 10/20/2008 1:16:27 PM PDT by Eva (CHANGE- the post modern euphemism for Marxist revolution.)
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To: goldstategop
"The problem is the Liberals are to the left of much of Canada but particularly Ontario voters. If they cannot win outside of Toronto and the Maritimes, they're doomed to be in perpetual opposition"

Let's not get cocky.

While we are patting ourselves on the back, the Liberal back room Sherpas could be busy recruiting somebody competent like Frank McKenna to take the helm and steer the party back into the main channel.

16 posted on 10/20/2008 1:18:51 PM PDT by Clive
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To: goldstategop

well they will keep the Conservatives on their toes, which is a good thing. Everyone wishes conservatives had a majority but majorities tend to overreach or slack off, like Bush and Hastert. It is better to move up the slow and steady way than win in one big election only to lose everything a few years later.


17 posted on 10/20/2008 1:19:35 PM PDT by ari-freedom (It's the socialism, stupid.)
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To: Clive

the left and the Quebecois won’t go for him


18 posted on 10/20/2008 1:25:16 PM PDT by ari-freedom (It's the socialism, stupid.)
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To: goldstategop
The problem is

Shhh.

It's not a problem.

;-)

19 posted on 10/20/2008 1:37:25 PM PDT by fanfan (SCC:Canadians have constitutional protection to all opinions, as long as they are based on the facts)
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To: ari-freedom

Good observation.


20 posted on 10/20/2008 1:38:51 PM PDT by fanfan (SCC:Canadians have constitutional protection to all opinions, as long as they are based on the facts)
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To: fanfan
Watch though, in the next few months, for someone backed by Maurice Strong, and Soros.

No doubt, but unless solar activity and temperature trends turn around soon S&S are going to have to come up with a new shtick to try to undermine Canada. Click the image for article from today's National Post (via FR).


21 posted on 10/20/2008 2:04:00 PM PDT by caveat emptor
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To: fanfan

Dion staying on is like giving bonus points to the CPC.

The Liberal party I’m sure won’t allow him to last out the week.

What they don’t seem to understand though is that Canadians have grown up. The Liberal party has gone so far to the left that they have lost all their following along with the money that comes with them. The party has no choice but to redesign themselves and consult the electorate. So far their consultation has been to tell us how stupid we are for not voting for them. Sucks to Liberal.


22 posted on 10/21/2008 2:35:39 PM PDT by styky (All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor)
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To: styky
Dion staying on is like giving bonus points to the CPC.

I agreed he should stay, on the CFRA poll. ;-)

I hope they let Stephanie stay until they get a new leader.

So far their consultation has been to tell us how stupid we are for not voting for them.

We are too stupid to understand how wonderful they are. /sarc

23 posted on 10/21/2008 2:49:53 PM PDT by fanfan (SCC:Canadians have constitutional protection to all opinions, as long as they are based on the facts)
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