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“We’re due for a positive change,” the haberdasher told Mr. Dion.

“I hope that he’s the guy,” the haberdasher told the reporters who trailed Mr. Dion, interviewing each about the fleeting interaction they’d just had.

Mr. Dion stopped and greeted two women at a cafe, the women of upper-middle-class Toronto seeming to have some fondness for the Liberal leader. He stopped at a homewares store and a man there proclaimed him a “great Canadian hero.” 

At another cafe, an older gentleman teetering on a cane waited to speak with the visiting politician. “I just want to congratulate, Mr. Dion,” he said. “This is where we differ,” announced his female companion, stepping past the crowd.

“The trouble is,” the man said when he got Mr. Dion’s attention, “is that you’re too intelligent for these people.”

To another coffee shop, Mr. Dion approaches a woman just opening a magazine.



“My name is Stephane Dion.

“Oh! For this I get up.”

And so she did and they chatted about her reading material.

Then to a wine store and a discussion of Ontario’s vintages. “It’s improved so much over the years,” he remarked.

“My friend’s a really big fan,” the woman behind the counter gushed. “And she would absolutely just love this.”

And just then the phone rang. And it was her friend, Mary Beth. And while Mr. Dion’s press secretary smiled gleefully and the cameras clicked and the microphones moved in close, the leader of the opposition demanded the phone.

“Mary Beth? Stephane Dion here.”

Not much for small talk, he proceeded with a short review of his carbon tax policy.

“Good idea, eh?” he said.

They made plans for Mary Beth to attend tomorrow morning’s town hall and then said their goodbyes. Most of the cameras moved on, but Mr. Dion hung around for a bit, asking for wine recommendations and promising to have Stornoway’s cook get in touch.

“Thank you so much,” the woman at the wine store sang as Mr. Dion finally made for the door. “Thank you soooo much.”

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  1. I’m sorry… Did Aaron write this? I’m confused.


  2. Aaron’s sarcasm is much more subtle with this post.

    The lack of substance in Dion’s campaign must be painful to witness. I’m sure things would be much more cutting if these folks were trapped in a stifling committee room instead of flitting about from cafe to cafe

  3. I wonder if Aaron’s post gets reflected in the next survey of leadership numbers. Deprived of leadership in national polls and in any provincial polls of relevance (even as an Albertan I understand that the Alberta polls have no relevance for the conservatives desire to remain in power) the consistent refrain has been “Look how much better a leader people think Harper is.”

    Dion’s numbers in those respects have been trending upward, so it’ll be interesting to see what the talking point is if, once Dion starts getting out and meeting the public, his numbers start to climb noticably.

  4. Harper polled (leadershipwise) between 19% and 10% from April to Sept, 2004… the leadership numbers for opposition leaders really mean anything? Na.

    Can’t win for losing with the media, eh….Harper attacked for being cold, aloof and Dion for being friendly.

    I think media are people that like to bitch and get paid for it.

  5. Indeed Aaron’s sarcasm is subtle and well written, but his cynicism is on grand display.

    That said, I enjoy his updates. He and I attended the same event last night and perhaps he’s paid to pick things apart, but in doing so, he misses the mood of the people.

    That to me is something media in general do now. A cynical approach is perhaps warranted. Afterall, having covered so many similar events, they must bleed one into the other. That approach though does miss the genuine sentiment of some whom they observe.

    Cynicism is being applied with too broad a brush, too often, imo. While it’s often warranted and should be applied to all public figures in an effort to bring balance to a story, if the brush is so broad you can lean on it, there is a problem.

    A thinner brush is more difficult to wield and certainly cannot be relied on as support but I think it should be used when viewing the general public.

  6. A friend of mine was seated next to Dion at an academic supper a few years ago and declared him a lovely guy; I myself met him at Pearson Airport this summer: all I did was bid him bonjour and he came over to say hello and speak a few moments. Indeed, he’s a lovely shiny earnest fellow — a true gentleman.

    The perfect foil for harper, really. We have distinctive ideologies and policies to choose from, and we have distinctive personalities too.

    I hope Dion is the man too.

  7. Now I’m the one confused, and not by Mr. Wherry’s posts but by the comments. I am left wondering if this is a new Conservative coordinated response to when someone is complimentary to a Harper opponent… that you paint it as sarcasm?

    I cannot be described as the president of the Stephane Dion fan club, but based on the recent polls describing massive discontent with the Harper government (including one paid for by us the taxpayer, delivered to the Privy Council Office, another promise broken btw) I can’t say that I am all that surprised that there are members of the public happy to see Dion, or embrace a public figure bearing ideas instead of vitriol.

    Some of my Conservative friends admit to me that the strategy of winning by reducing their opponent is not one they are very proud of… those that like and admire Stephen Harper wish they were “selling” him more… his ideas, his intelligence, as opposed to the strategy of making Dion into a grown up version of bully the playground wimp… but then again, they haven’t been in power very often or for very long, and they just really want to win.

  8. And there is a main roadblock, I think, to Harper’s ‘so-called’ brilliance. How much energy has he expended during this 2-1/2 years going for the opposition’s (and other rivals) nuts? Why has he become ‘mr attackdog’ and strategized everything to a fine nub, without considering the finesse side of governing?
    Let’s say he has mastered the faux message — how his team is the team of ‘accountability’ and ‘fiscal responsibility’ (there is no clinical evidence to support either notion)… Besides the growing pile of irksome 10-percenters that are stuck in my recycling box, where is the attention to his own details?
    These may all be valid reasons why some people are eager to talk to Dion. His non-combative stance has won me over.

  9. (puts tin foil hat on)
    If this story was about a Conservative poiltician, the headline would be “Mr. X’s love for wine a concern”

  10. Thanks Anon for proving once again what whiners hard-core Conservatives have become.