From the magazine - Macleans.ca
 

From the magazine


 

I spent last Sunday hanging around with Stephane Dion. Here is what that was like.

If you’re interested in a director’s cut, full of never-before-seen material, see below.

You can add this as a post-script to what I wrote the night of the 2008 election.

The office of the man who would have been prime minister is located in the corner of an L-shaped suburban strip mall in northwest Montreal, next to Planete Pizza. Twenty-nine months after he led the Liberal party to defeat in the 2008 election—27 months after he nearly led an audacious coalition into government—Stéphane Dion is simply the incumbent candidate for Saint-Laurent–Cartierville. His campaign headquarters was previously occupied by a bank, some of the teller desks are still in place. It is decorated now with campaign posters and a large Canadian flag.

He sits at a desk below a large Liberal banner and a poster of Michael Ignatieff. He doesn’t want to talk about the past, but it’s unavoidable. “Well, we tried our best and it did not work, but I think we fought for what I was committed to as leader, to have a country that would bring together economic growth, social justice and environmental sustainability. I tried to mobilize the country behind this goal and it did not work,” he says. “But what is great in democracy is that if it doesn’t work, you try again. And now I’m very committed to make Mr. Ignatieff the prime minister.”

So here he is. However resounding his defeat—however much he may now be defined by the caricature that was created by the campaign against him—Dion, now 55, is still trying to get a Liberal government elected, seeking for himself a seventh mandate from the good people of Saint Laurent.

He still struggles with the English language. He is still awkward—somehow both stiff and gangly. He still periodically wears a slightly pained expression. He still carries the same leather shoulder bag he’s been carrying since 1996.  Afterwards the congregation gathered for coffee and he went from table to table shaking hands and introducing himself. But people still want to shake his hand and pose for pictures. Little old ladies still want to chat him up. He participated in a local five-kilometre race this morning, then showered and changed and made his way to Sunday mass at Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur. From there to a lunch organized by a local Middle Eastern community group, then back in the car to nearby Mount Royal for the campaign launch of his friend Irwin Cotler. Tonight, he’ll head to Laval to help launch the campaign of the Liberal candidate there. At these last two events he is called to address the faithful and he speaks in a tone that is insistent.

He says he thought about getting out of politics, but, of course, he hadn’t really set out to get in. Fifteen years ago, at the behest of Jean Chretien, he put his name forward and set to confronting the national challenge of the 90s: Quebec sovereignty. For that he was vilified in the province, but on that he made his name. Five years ago, by a vote of his party, he was made leader on the promise that he was the right man to face the global challenge of the new century: climate change. For a moment, this seemed to make sense. But then the Conservatives hung a three-word phrase—“Not A Leader”—around his neck. He became the shrugging, hapless Dion, threatening a carbon tax that would, in the words of Stephen Harper, “screw everybody.” He seemed incapable of sufficient response. Indeed, in the waning days of the campaign, his inability to understand an interviewer’s oddly worded question was replayed for the nation, seeming to confirm everything his opponents had said about him.

It has not been easy getting over the defeat. “It’s very difficult every day, because every day I may compare what Mr. Harper is doing as Prime Minister and what we would have done if Canadians would have chosen differently,” says Dion.

He defends the coalition that, however briefly, followed. He says it was the right thing to do when the government declined to deal with the economic crisis. He mocks the Prime Minister for touting an action plan that only came in answer to that coalition. He still believes a price needs to be put on carbon and he says he feels “guilty” if his defeat has made politicians reluctant to deal with the environment.

Liberals seem buoyed this time by the fact that Dion is not their leader and the carbon tax is not their platform. This time, Dion himself believes, it is the Conservatives—with promises of corporate tax cuts and fighter jets—who have a platform that is difficult to sell.

He has been travelling and giving speeches—in India, Spain and Mexico—on the environment and secession. When the Liberals, Bloc Québécois and Conservatives agreed on a committee to review thousands of documents related to the treatment of Afghan detainees, it was Dion who Michael Ignatieff appointed to the painstaking task. Asked if he wants to be the environment minister in an Ignatieff cabinet, he defers entirely to his leader. He says it must be difficult for Ignatieff to be suffering from the same kind of attacks he faced three years ago, but that conviction will carry Ignatieff through.

He keeps saying that this is about the future, not the past. But the past informs the future on one point. This election, he says, is about the way we do politics in this country. It’s about the negative campaigns against the current Liberal leader and his predecessor—the personal attacks that cannot be allowed to stand. “This time we need to succeed. Not only because we have a much better plan than them, but because this way to do politics must be punished,” he says. “This way to do politics should not be rewarded. Otherwise, the message will be everyone needs to do the same thing to win.”

He is motivated, he says, by the opportunity to prove to Canadians that his side can provide a better government. “Democracy gives you an opportunity to try again,” he says for at least the second time, “and one day it will work.”

As he was leaving Cotler’s campaign launch, an enthusiastic middle-aged man approached with kind words. “We miss you,” said the man. Dion’s response was quick, almost reflexive: “I’m still here.”


 

From the magazine

  1. Canada lost a good man because of cheap slogans and an accent. A loss we're now paying for.

  2. Canada lost a good man because of cheap slogans and an accent. A loss we're now paying for.

    • Canadians decided he wasn't strong leadership material. That you have to cast him as some kind of victim proves it.

      • I don't see Dion as a victim, I see Canadians as the victim.

        • Keep dreaming!

          • Why would I dream about Canadians being victims? Get real.

    • Seems to me the liberals dumped Dion faster than the voters did.

      • Actually, he resigned.

  3. Thanks for this piece on a truly, truly, truly great Canadian. He has done more for this coutnry than any of the g-d f#*@in' Con trolls and Ryan Sparrow combined will ever do.

    He will evetually be proved right.

  4. Thanks for this piece on a truly, truly, truly great Canadian. He has done more for this coutnry than any of the g-d f#*@in' Con trolls and Ryan Sparrow combined will ever do.

    He will evetually be proved right.

    • Not!

      • That's funny. That just reminded me of the Oda debacle. Which was as ridiculous as your post.

  5. He has the stuff real Canadians are made of — the genuine article. He has more integrity in his little finger than Stephen Harper could muster in a lifetime.

  6. He has the stuff real Canadians are made of — the genuine article. He has more integrity in his little finger than Stephen Harper could muster in a lifetime.

  7. A man of integrity and foresight. The villification of both him and Mr Ignatieff by the Conservative leader and his supporters is a national shame.

  8. A man of integrity and foresight. The villification of both him and Mr Ignatieff by the Conservative leader and his supporters is a national shame.

    • What's worse are the folks falling for it.

  9. I'm not a Liberal, but Dion will always be a hero to me because he made the first serious attempt to bring environmental concerns into the mainstream of Canadian politics. We are now back to wandering in the wilderness, but if we ever get it right, Dion will be seen as a pioneer.

  10. I'm not a Liberal, but Dion will always be a hero to me because he made the first serious attempt to bring environmental concerns into the mainstream of Canadian politics. We are now back to wandering in the wilderness, but if we ever get it right, Dion will be seen as a pioneer.

    • Read Rex's comment today. It's quite the eye opener.

      "With Macbeth, let us lament: “O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their Reason.”
      http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/Re

      • Hello Francien. I read your Rex Murphy piece, it was amusing. So if we're going to be voting in Bolivia, I guess I know how you'll vote. Of course, it has nothing to do with Canada, or Canada's Green Party.

        But the article did bring a question to my mind. Hopefully, as you provided the link you agree completely with the article and can therefore answer. At the end, he speaks of "the conscious creature" (i.e., man). My question is, do you not believe all animals–or at the very least mammals, have a consciousness? Have you ever seen a dog dream, for example, or watch those nature shows where a wolf or a hyena try to apologize to the alpha head of the pack? Do you honestly believe that only humanity possesses a soul?

        • Please, don't assume that I agree with the complete article. Such assumption would be fetched beyond reason.

          Be that as it may, you raise some questions regarding consciousness. And by doing so, you touch upon the topic of dreams. Mmmm….that makes me think that you and I must have a different understanding of what consciousness means.

          The following trend I find disturbing: the more specialized the professions have become, the less we have managed to learn about the understanding of relationships – and I'm not talking about relationships strictly held between humans. Consciousness is indeed about the field of relationships observed, experienced and processed. To then do it all over again, constantly uniting that which has been divided as a result of having been united. But such cannot be explained in a world of specialized professions. The world of today is being marked by having been closed off to that which remains outside the boxed-ins. The soul is being overlooked for the soul cannot be boxed in. The soul needs to be free in order to be.

          Do I sometimes feel sad about such trendy developments? For sure.

          • Uh, yeah.

            So, do you believe that only humans have a soul? Are you of the opinion that the wolf does not realize he is a wolf? I accept that the presence of dreams does not automatically equate to the presence of a soul, but I would say that the absence of dreams would indicate the absence of a soul. But that's just my opinion, of course, since I have no learning in this area.

            I believe I agree with you about specialized professions being too tightly focussed (if that was what you were saying) and believe that trend is changing for the better as we now use pods of experts to examine a particular topic, in order to get around that. But how that delves into whether animals have a soul, I don't know.

          • Jenn says:"I believe I agree with you about specialized professions being too tightly focussed (if that was what you were saying) and believe that trend is changing for the better as we now use pods of experts to examine a particular topic"

            Let me answer that part of your reply first and foremost, because before we can even attempt to put meaning behind such terms as 'consciousness' or 'soul, or 'dreams', we must come to terms with how we each see the world around us in development.

            In fact, I cannot find the evidence that for the shortcomings of specialized professions to be eliminated, we merely need to 'use pods of experts to examine a particular topic to get around that'. In fact, I would say that more experts weighing in on any issue would make the problems associated with specialization even more compounded.

            It's the fields of specialization which amount to producing the experts, which development marks the changes we are going through. Such undergoing changes are of the essence. That is the point I am trying to make, and perhaps some of Rex's piece touches upon that change of essence likewise.

            Regarding the question whether I think animals have a soul? It depends on how you would define the meaning of soul. I'm very interested in hearing what you consider to be the 'soul'. Could you give me a brief description of what you mean by 'soul' and then I will answer whether I think animals have a soul or not.

          • Experts in different fields, while tightly focussed themselves, when coming together and looking at an issue could give a very well rounded view.

            To me, the soul is outwardly presented by personality. Inwardly, it would involve consciousness of course, the hopes and dreams and desires, the thoughts above instincts. What makes an individual individual.

          • Well, I think that looking in from various specialized fields will never really be able to reach an all around picture.

            But in any case, if consciousness would be the awareness of relationships, and if the soul would be an awareness of such relationships specifically, individually, than I would say that humans as well as animals have soul. Do I therefore think that the human soul is like the animal soul? No.

            Hopes and dreams and desires are too vaguely defined by you in your post for me to comment on.

  11. Dione
    Chretien
    Martin

    Men who dedicated their lives fighting important fights in Canada. One could dissaggree with them but it was difficult to question their motives.

    Around them Iggy looks….well….small and petty….and opportunistic. Around them the CPC attacks on Iggy seem a bit more pertinent.

    Is there a Liberal mole undermining Iggy?

  12. Dione
    Chretien
    Martin

    Men who dedicated their lives fighting important fights in Canada. One could dissaggree with them but it was difficult to question their motives.

    Around them Iggy looks….well….small and petty….and opportunistic. Around them the CPC attacks on Iggy seem a bit more pertinent.

    Is there a Liberal mole undermining Iggy?

    • You see plots everywhere.

    • The only plot here is the one the liberals tried to bury him in.

  13. Canadians decided he wasn't strong leadership material. That you have to cast him as some kind of victim proves it.

  14. I don't see Dion as a victim, I see Canadians as the victim.

  15. You see plots everywhere.

  16. "He defends the coalition that, however briefly, followed."

    Of course he did but it will be remembered as time of infamy, not something to celebrate, in the history books. What was Dion thinking … he's supposed to be fighting BQ … not forming coalition's with them …. he put personal ambition before everything else, much too desperate to be PM.

    "It has not been easy getting over the defeat."

    I think this must be really hard. Very personal – nation has just rejected you and tells you to buzz off. I think Dick Tuck spoke for a lot of election losers, "The people have spoken, the bastards"

    "Dion's response was quick, almost reflexive: “I'm still here.”

    One of the things I love about our system is how ruthless we are with former leaders – we can't wait to send them back to obscurity. Not much sentimentality for former PMs or other leaders and I think it is brilliant.

  17. "He defends the coalition that, however briefly, followed."

    Of course he did but it will be remembered as time of infamy, not something to celebrate, in the history books. What was Dion thinking … he's supposed to be fighting BQ … not forming coalition's with them …. he put personal ambition before everything else, much too desperate to be PM.

    "It has not been easy getting over the defeat."

    I think this must be really hard. Very personal – nation has just rejected you and tells you to buzz off. I think Dick Tuck spoke for a lot of election losers, "The people have spoken, the bastards"

    "Dion%E2%80%99s response was quick, almost reflexive: “I%E2%80%99m still here.”

    One of the things I love about our system is how ruthless we are with former leaders – we can't wait to send them back to obscurity. Not much sentimentality for former PMs or other leaders and I think it is brilliant.

  18. "He defends the coalition that, however briefly, followed."

    Of course he did but it will be remembered as time of infamy, not something to celebrate, in the history books. What was Dion thinking … he's supposed to be fighting BQ … not forming coalition's with them …. he put personal ambition before everything else, much too desperate to be PM.

    "It has not been easy getting over the defeat."

    I think this must be really hard. Very personal – nation has just rejected you and tells you to buzz off. I think Dick Tuck spoke for a lot of election losers, "The people have spoken, the bastards"

    "Dion's response was quick, almost reflexive: “I'm still here.”

    One of the things I love about our system is how ruthless we are with former leaders – we can't wait to send them back to obscurity. Not much sentimentality for former PMs or other leaders and I think it is brilliant.

    • DO be serious chet.

  19. DO be serious chet.

  20. Canadians made their judgement about Dion. Yet here we have the usual suspects telling us that we're all wrong; that it was some kind of genius Conservative marketing campaign that made Dion into something he wasn't. Whatever. We're all stupid. You're all right. Woe is you.

  21. Funny, it's Stephen Harper who is trying to "screw everybody" now for sure . He's trying to make Canadians think like 3rd world citizens; ie. focus on wealth accumulation and nothing else. So Canadians ignore the true cost of his and their actions on the environment which will eventually hit them hard.

  22. Canadians made their judgement about Dion. Yet here we have the usual suspects telling us that we're all wrong; that it was some kind of genius Conservative marketing campaign that made Dion into something he wasn't. Whatever. We're all stupid. You're all right. Woe is you.

    • No one said anything about a 'genius Con marketing campaign'….I said 'cheap slogans and an accent'.

      Yes, woe is you.

      • It must have been genius since, according to some of you, it turned an absolutely brilliant candidate for PM into a hapless man with bad policies, poor leadership, and even worse communication skills.

        • If that's what you call genius, it's no wonder you're reduced to writing for Craig's list.

          • So you've run out of arguments again and are engaging in your usual lies and personal attacks. This from someone who claims Dion was a decent man of integrity. Consider the source. You can only be decent and have integrity to people like Emily/Nola if you're on her side politically. If not, watch out.

          • I wasn't arguing anything in the first place….mind the doorknob marks.

    • Dear Mark Steyn,

      You left Maclean's, that place that enabled your infamy, and for that I have nothing but thanks and admiration. However, you went nowhere, which means the trolls of the one-man global content provider, unfortunately, didn't follow you.

      Even us pinko commies have a limited supply garbage to feed them. For infinite garbage production, we only defer to you.

      So please, Mark(can I call you Mark), find a job. We're running dry.

      Respectfully,

      The Liberal Elite

      • What the heck are you going on about now?

  23. Funny, it's Stephen Harper who is trying to "screw everybody" now for sure . He's trying to make Canadians think like 3rd world citizens; ie. focus on wealth accumulation and nothing else. So Canadians ignore the true cost of his and their actions on the environment which will eventually hit them hard.

    • What none sense.

      Much better to adjust to environmental changes coming than to try and control nature.

      Human nature is as nature also. Individuals are not concerned about the environment in a practical way. Most people are only concerned with the environment in a theoretical way.

      If people would care about the environment in a more practical way, we wouldn't see so much consumerism take place. And what about driving less? I don't see it happening, do you?

      Such none sense to say that most individuals are concerned about the environment. It simply isn't true.

      • Harper thinks Canadians spend their time huddled under the covers worrying about taxation levels.

        • Harper doesn't think that, but you probably do.

          Harper supporters understand that low taxes is what gives Canadians independence over their own lives. People who are capable of leading an independent life style do not need a higher tax regime to keep them afloat. Independent thinkers know that any improvements to one's life can only be made by the self, and that only under extraordinary circumstances must the government be there to offer a hand for climing out, not offering a hand for digging a deeper hole.

          And the truly independent thinker does not need to be reminded of this. That's why I felt the need to remind you, Jan.

          • My father participated in the liberation of Holland – you're homeland – so I don't need any lessons from you on Canadians offering a hand to help others.

          • I am a Canadian. But in any case, you may not need any lessons from me, but perhaps you could ask your father (if by chance he would still be alive today) whether Ignatieff's vision of a 'peace keeping army' would have been able to liberate Holland or any other country overrun by a dictator.

            What are your own thoughts on this, Jan, assuming that you were raised by your father and his experience of war……

          • My taxes under Harper WENT UP! He rescinded an income tax break that the Liberals installed the previous year. Harper is a fraud.
            Low taxes is a talking point for the Cons…That's it.

  24. No one said anything about a 'genius Con marketing campaign'….I said 'cheap slogans and an accent'.

    Yes, woe is you.

  25. It must have been genius since, according to some of you, it turned an absolutely brilliant candidate for PM into a hapless man with bad policies, poor leadership, and even worse communication skills.

  26. Keep dreaming!

  27. Not!

  28. Hey everybody,

    take a look at Google News.

    The Liberals have a brand spanking new, attack on the CPC. One that shows creativity, and a fresh perspective that shows the Liberals out-of-the-box thinking. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you….

    ….drumroll please……

    Harper's "secret agenda".

    If the Conservatives would have been been able to orchestrate a sign of desperation to top Iggy's desperate "rise up" screech, I'm not sure if they could have topped the trotting out of the "hidden agenda" meme.

    Again I ask,

    is there a mole in the upper echelons of the Liberal campaign team?

  29. Hey everybody,

    take a look at Google News.

    The Liberals have a brand spanking new, attack on the CPC. One that shows creativity, and a fresh perspective that shows the Liberals out-of-the-box thinking. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you….

    ….drumroll please……

    Harper's "secret agenda".

    If the Conservatives would have been been able to orchestrate a sign of desperation to top Iggy's desperate "rise up" screech, I'm not sure if they could have topped the trotting out of the "hidden agenda" meme.

    Again I ask,

    is there a mole in the upper echelons of the Liberal campaign team?

    • Link please.

    • I love Con's little campaign manager complaining the Libs are using old quotes – two can play that game, kid. I expect lots of squealing from the chet section.

      • If by "squealing" you mean sitting back and watching the Liberal campaign team enter the desperation stage after Iggy's campaign shows no traction whatsoever after two weeks of this short campaign,

        then yes, I am squealing.

  30. What none sense.

    Much better to adjust to environmental changes coming than to try and control nature.

    Human nature is as nature also. Individuals are not concerned about the environment in a practical way. Most people are only concerned with the environment in a theoretical way.

    If people would care about the environment in a more practical way, we wouldn't see so much consumerism take place. And what about driving less? I don't see it happening, do you?

    Such none sense to say that most individuals are concerned about the environment. It simply isn't true.

  31. The last time the LPC elected its party leader, Dion came out the winner. The LPC has regretted it ever since.

    Therefore, it was deemed much more prudent to appoint a leader, and hence the decision to have crowned Ignatieff King of the LPC.

    (Could you imagine if the Liberal membership would have elected Rae as party leader. Oh, my, wouldn't that have been fun!)

  32. The last time the LPC elected its party leader, Dion came out the winner. The LPC has regretted it ever since.

    Therefore, it was deemed much more prudent to appoint a leader, and hence the decision to have crowned Ignatieff King of the LPC.

    (Could you imagine if the Liberal membership would have elected Rae as party leader. Oh, my, wouldn't that have been fun!)

  33. Link please.

  34. I met Dion in Sudbury, 2 years ago, when Ignatieff brought a big crew of his MPs & Senators to town. He shook hands with every person at the event, and stopped to chat with most of them, too. When he greeted me, I commiserated about the dreadful meanness of the Conservative onslaught, and said I guessed his carbon tax idea was a little ahead of its time. He humbly responded saying, "A politician should never be ahead of his time." A class act.

  35. I met Dion in Sudbury, 2 years ago, when Ignatieff brought a big crew of his MPs & Senators to town. He shook hands with every person at the event, and stopped to chat with most of them, too. When he greeted me, I commiserated about the dreadful meanness of the Conservative onslaught, and said I guessed his carbon tax idea was a little ahead of its time. He humbly responded saying, "A politician should never be ahead of his time." A class act.

  36. You can see the brilliance at work in the Liberal party with this fresh new attack.

    They"ve changed the tired, old, now laughable –

    "hidden"

    to

    the hereish, nowish, bold term showing the Liberals are the party of the new millenium –

    "secret".

    Genius. Pure genius.

  37. Seems to me the liberals dumped Dion faster than the voters did.

  38. You can see the brilliance at work in the Liberal party with this fresh new attack.

    They"ve changed the tired, old, now laughable –

    "hidden"

    to

    the hereish, nowish, bold term showing the Liberals are the party of the new millenium –

    "secret".

    Genius. Pure genius.

    • I think the old Liberal guard is trying to gain control. These sort of ads remind me of the Chretien years.

      Chretien was mostly about attacks on the right wing's 'hidden agenda'. The Chretien years are marked by winning goverment in such campaigning style. Now it seems Ignatieff is going in similar directions, but he forgets, strangely enough, that the political landscape in Canada has changed; no longer are there 2 Conservative parties through which devide the Liberals can climb out to be the victor. Those days are gone, but Ignatieff hasn't quite caught up to the facts

      .

  39. The only plot here is the one the liberals tried to bury him in.

  40. Harper thinks Canadians spend their time huddled under the covers worrying about taxation levels.

  41. I love Con's little campaign manager complaining the Libs are using old quotes – two can play that game, kid. I expect lots of squealing from the chet section.

  42. Harper doesn't think that, but you probably do.

    Harper supporters understand that low taxes is what gives Canadians independence over their own lives. People who are capable of leading an independent life style do not need a higher tax regime to keep them afloat. Independent thinkers know that any improvements to one's life can only be made by the self, and that only under extraordinary circumstances must the government be there to offer a hand for climing out, not offering a hand for digging a deeper hole.

    And the truly independent thinker does not need to be reminded of this. That's why I felt the need to remind you, Jan.

  43. He is a very decent mad and has handled his defeat very gracefully,I wish him luck. I think he is a lot better politician and has much better vision for Canada than Ignatieff , uff by a looooong mile, they didn't lose because of a negative ad campaign, they've lost because they are not leader material for different reasons. Dion doesn't have a commanding presence and struggles with his speech and Ignatieff is completely clueless.

  44. He is a very decent mad and has handled his defeat very gracefully,I wish him luck. I think he is a lot better politician and has much better vision for Canada than Ignatieff , uff by a looooong mile, they didn't lose because of a negative ad campaign, they've lost because they are not leader material for different reasons. Dion doesn't have a commanding presence and struggles with his speech and Ignatieff is completely clueless.

    • Well I think I will go with "clueless" over "classless" this time. Made a mistake last time, which was proven when my taxes went up right after Harper was elected.

  45. I think the old Liberal guard is trying to gain control. These sort of ads remind me of the Chretien years.

    Chretien was mostly about attacks on the right wing's 'hidden agenda'. The Chretien years are marked by winning goverment in such campaigning style. Now it seems Ignatieff is going in similar directions, but he forgets, strangely enough, that the political landscape in Canada has changed; no longer are there 2 Conservative parties through which devide the Liberals can climb out to be the victor. Those days are gone, but Ignatieff hasn't quite caught up to the facts

    .

  46. If by "squealing" you mean sitting back and watching the Liberal campaign team enter the desperation stage after Iggy's campaign shows no traction whatsoever after two weeks of this short campaign,

    then yes, I am squealing.

  47. "He still believes a price needs to be put on carbon and he says he feels “guilty” if his defeat has made politicians reluctant to deal with the environment."

    That's a serious, decent man. He's too hard on himself. He did what he could and is too willing to take the blame for everything, too Catholic. A good fault to have. Have Layton-Topp-Judy W-L etc. ever admitted any feelings of guilt for 2006 and its consequences? Poser la question, c'est y répondre.

  48. "He still believes a price needs to be put on carbon and he says he feels “guilty” if his defeat has made politicians reluctant to deal with the environment."

    That's a serious, decent man. He's too hard on himself. He did what he could and is too willing to take the blame for everything, too Catholic. A good fault to have. Have Layton-Topp-Judy W-L etc. ever admitted any feelings of guilt for 2006 and its consequences? Poser la question, c'est y répondre.

  49. My father participated in the liberation of Holland – you're homeland – so I don't need any lessons from you on Canadians offering a hand to help others.

  50. .
    All water under the bridge.

    Harper went over to the dark side long ago. And liked it. That's the issue. Not the has-beens. Who cares?

    His cold-blooded political assassination of Guergis alone, however much she reviled the workers on a bad hair day, is more than enough to decide the issue in May.

    Add to that Oda incident, proroguing, eye-avoidance debate, F-35 waste (folks, there won't BE any manned fighters by 2020, and probably not 2018, this is ridiculous), detainee-doc suppression.

    Dion, Chretien. Whatever. Even Mulroney. Harper is just plain wrongness. Not another Gaddafi, more a pleasant-face Bashar Asad type.
    .

  51. .
    All water under the bridge.

    Harper went over to the dark side long ago. And liked it. That's the issue. Not the has-beens. Who cares?

    His cold-blooded political assassination of Guergis alone, however much she reviled the workers on a bad hair day, is more than enough to decide the issue in May.

    Add to that Oda incident, proroguing, eye-avoidance debate, F-35 waste (folks, there won't BE any manned fighters by 2020, and probably not 2018, this is ridiculous), detainee-doc suppression.

    Dion, Chretien. Whatever. Even Mulroney. Harper is just plain wrongness. Not another Gaddafi, more a pleasant-face Bashar Asad type.
    .

  52. I am a Canadian. But in any case, you may not need any lessons from me, but perhaps you could ask your father (if by chance he would still be alive today) whether Ignatieff's vision of a 'peace keeping army' would have been able to liberate Holland or any other country overrun by a dictator.

    What are your own thoughts on this, Jan, assuming that you were raised by your father and his experience of war……

  53. Read Rex's comment today. It's quite the eye opener.

    "With Macbeth, let us lament: “O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their Reason.”
    http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/Re

  54. If that's what you call genius, it's no wonder you're reduced to writing for Craig's list.

  55. Why would I dream about Canadians being victims? Get real.

  56. Actually, he resigned.

  57. So you've run out of arguments again and are engaging in your usual lies and personal attacks. This from someone who claims Dion was a decent man of integrity. Consider the source. You can only be decent and have integrity to people like Emily/Nola if you're on her side politically. If not, watch out.

  58. I wasn't arguing anything in the first place….mind the doorknob marks.

  59. I'm so pleased we haven't lost him after all. When it was announced Dion wasn't running again on one of these threads, that really depressed me (depressed me to such an extent that I didn't even think of checking, d'uh).

    Without question, Dion is a man of principle, and of honour. We need to keep all of those few that we have, and we need to vote in a lot more. So, the clouds have thinned in my world today. Thanks for the article, Aaron.

  60. I'm so pleased we haven't lost him after all. When it was announced Dion wasn't running again on one of these threads, that really depressed me (depressed me to such an extent that I didn't even think of checking, d'uh).

    Without question, Dion is a man of principle, and of honour. We need to keep all of those few that we have, and we need to vote in a lot more. So, the clouds have thinned in my world today. Thanks for the article, Aaron.

    • Very well said Jenn. In the few days after the election when Dion was deciding whether or not to stay on as leader, I had sent him an e-mail asking him to stay. Frankly, before him I wasn't all that interested in federal politics, so I owe my current fascination of all that goes on in Ottawa to him. I found him to be a very inspiring fellow indeed.

  61. Hello Francien. I read your Rex Murphy piece, it was amusing. So if we're going to be voting in Bolivia, I guess I know how you'll vote. Of course, it has nothing to do with Canada, or Canada's Green Party.

    But the article did bring a question to my mind. Hopefully, as you provided the link you agree completely with the article and can therefore answer. At the end, he speaks of "the conscious creature" (i.e., man). My question is, do you not believe all animals–or at the very least mammals, have a consciousness? Have you ever seen a dog dream, for example, or watch those nature shows where a wolf or a hyena try to apologize to the alpha head of the pack? Do you honestly believe that only humanity possesses a soul?

  62. Please, don't assume that I agree with the complete article. Such assumption would be fetched beyond reason.

    Be that as it may, you raise some questions regarding consciousness. And by doing so, you touch upon the topic of dreams. Mmmm….that makes me think that you and I must have a different understanding of what consciousness means.

    The following trend I find disturbing: the more specialized the professions have become, the less we have managed to learn about the understanding of relationships – and I'm not talking about relationships strictly held between humans. Consciousness is indeed about the field of relationships observed, experienced and processed. To then do it all over again, constantly uniting that which has been divided as a result of having been united. But such cannot be explained in a world of specialized professions. The world of today is being marked by having been closed off to that which remains outside the boxed-ins. The soul is being overlooked for the soul cannot be boxed in. The soul needs to be free in order to be.

    Do I sometimes feel sad about such trendy developments? For sure.

  63. Uh, yeah.

    So, do you believe that only humans have a soul? Are you of the opinion that the wolf does not realize he is a wolf? I accept that the presence of dreams does not automatically equate to the presence of a soul, but I would say that the absence of dreams would indicate the absence of a soul. But that's just my opinion, of course, since I have no learning in this area.

    I believe I agree with you about specialized professions being too tightly focussed (if that was what you were saying) and believe that trend is changing for the better as we now use pods of experts to examine a particular topic, in order to get around that. But how that delves into whether animals have a soul, I don't know.

  64. Jenn says:"I believe I agree with you about specialized professions being too tightly focussed (if that was what you were saying) and believe that trend is changing for the better as we now use pods of experts to examine a particular topic"

    Let me answer that part of your reply first and foremost, because before we can even attempt to put meaning behind such terms as 'consciousness' or 'soul, or 'dreams', we must come to terms with how we each see the world around us in development.

    In fact, I cannot find the evidence that for the shortcomings of specialized professions to be eliminated, we merely need to 'use pods of experts to examine a particular topic to get around that'. In fact, I would say that more experts weighing in on any issue would make the problems associated with specialization even more compounded.

    It's the fields of specialization which amount to producing the experts, which development marks the changes we are going through. Such undergoing changes are of the essence. That is the point I am trying to make, and perhaps some of Rex's piece touches upon that change of essence likewise.

    Regarding the question whether I think animals have a soul? It depends on how you would define the meaning of soul. I'm very interested in hearing what you consider to be the 'soul'. Could you give me a brief description of what you mean by 'soul' and then I will answer whether I think animals have a soul or not.

  65. Very well said Jenn. In the few days after the election when Dion was deciding whether or not to stay on as leader, I had sent him an e-mail asking him to stay. Frankly, before him I wasn't all that interested in federal politics, so I owe my current fascination of all that goes on in Ottawa to him. I found him to be a very inspiring fellow indeed.

  66. That's funny. That just reminded me of the Oda debacle. Which was as ridiculous as your post.

  67. What's worse are the folks falling for it.

  68. My taxes under Harper WENT UP! He rescinded an income tax break that the Liberals installed the previous year. Harper is a fraud.
    Low taxes is a talking point for the Cons…That's it.

  69. Well I think I will go with "clueless" over "classless" this time. Made a mistake last time, which was proven when my taxes went up right after Harper was elected.

  70. Experts in different fields, while tightly focussed themselves, when coming together and looking at an issue could give a very well rounded view.

    To me, the soul is outwardly presented by personality. Inwardly, it would involve consciousness of course, the hopes and dreams and desires, the thoughts above instincts. What makes an individual individual.

  71. Dear Mark Steyn,

    You left Maclean's, that place that enabled your infamy, and for that I have nothing but thanks and admiration. However, you went nowhere, which means the trolls of the one-man global content provider, unfortunately, didn't follow you.

    Even us pinko commies have a limited supply garbage to feed them. For infinite garbage production, we only defer to you.

    So please, Mark(can I call you Mark), find a job. We're running dry.

    Respectfully,

    The Liberal Elite

  72. Well, I think that looking in from various specialized fields will never really be able to reach an all around picture.

    But in any case, if consciousness would be the awareness of relationships, and if the soul would be an awareness of such relationships specifically, individually, than I would say that humans as well as animals have soul. Do I therefore think that the human soul is like the animal soul? No.

    Hopes and dreams and desires are too vaguely defined by you in your post for me to comment on.

  73. What the heck are you going on about now?