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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Dinner with Dion

Last week I had the chance to have dinner with Stephane Dion and some of his Alberta campaign team. The next day my business partner interviewed him on www.policychannel.com. The interview is almost ready for posting on that site - likely early next week. Check it out. We spent quite a bit of time together and I gotta tell you - he grows on you.

I have watched the Liberal leadership with passive agressive amusement. The characters are fascinting. Ignatiaff - a "Trudeauesq wannabe" expat American who is "fawning in love" with Canada, "honestly." (sic) And Bob Rae, "please forgive my past sins Ontario," and please believe me Canada that I have changed, "really." Then there is Volpe who a candidate with a guiltless guile, leading a Children's Cash Crusade, marching merrily towards yesterday. Those principles and values make him akin to a Groupaction mimic. I could go on but you get my drift.

Dion on the other hand is refreshing. He has intellectual heft, a commitment to a united Canada, a constant curiosity along with a conviction to do things differently. He has an appreciation for complexity and a suspicion of simple answers to the crucial questions. He could turn out to be a truly great 21st century leader. Here is a candidate talking intelligently and forcefully about the country, the environment and social justice. Here is a guy who understands the marketplace and its place. He also understands the role of good governance in creating the common good.

I like him at a number of levels. He has a serious agenda that is a challenge for all Canadians to consider. He has a message we ought to take seriously. He is someone worth watching as this campaign evolves. Progressives will find Dion to be their kind of candidate and they should get behind him now.