The spectre of Stephane Dion


A New Democrat MP worries that the party might end up with its third choice.

Mr. Brahmi said the current situation reminds him of the 2006 Liberal convention, where Stéphane Dion came from behind to beat Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae. He added that at the 1995 NDP leadership convention, Alexa McDonough finished in second place on the first ballot, but still won the crown when Svend Robinson conceded victory.

Mr. Brahmi called on fellow MPs to remind NDP members to “be very careful” about their second choice on their ballots in the one-member, one-vote leadership convention. “I’m behind Thomas Mulcair,” he said. “However, I’d prefer if the winner were Brian Topp instead of everyone’s second choice.”

In this analogy, Paul Dewar and Peggy Nash are potential versions of Stephane Dion, at least insofar as how they might come to win the NDP leadership and at least so long as you assume that Mr. Mulcair and Mr. Topp are running first and second (or second and first). Whether that would then doom Mr. Dewar or Ms. Nash to something like Mr. Dion’s fate is another question entirely.


The spectre of Stephane Dion

  1. Does anyone know which candidate has sold the most memberships, likely the determining factor in the result? For example, what if the NS druggist andidate has worked the Sikh communities in ON and BC for members and comes to the convention with thousands of votes? And if he wins?

  2. This has always bugged me about preferential balloting…the spectre of two strong canidates coming to dislike each other so much one of them would prefer to back a third candiate or as in the case of Rae refuse to throw his support to Ignatieff allowing Dion to become the default guy.
    I like the fact the system allows everybodie’s choice to be proportionately accommodated eventually – noones vote is valueless…so i wonder if it has to be this way…is a strong candidate who doesn’t automatically have an overwhelming support from the get go doomed to be “compromised” whether he/she like it or not? Or is this simply complaining about how democracy should work…you don’t get to win without showing you have broad support?

    * noted [ i think?] that the liberal convention was not omov yet but still delegated[ and still is on most issues]…how does that change things, or does it?

    • The preferential ballot isn’t the same as what we did back in the day, which was have rounds of voting.  Then you had some candidates bowing out and sending their support to one or another front-runner before the next round of voting.  With the preferential ballot, there is no gaming in between.  Nobody knows who the second choice is for sure, that second choice can’t bow out unless they remove themselves before people have voted at all.  As with our President race, the guy polling indicated was in last place on the night before the vote did bow out and give his support to the eventual winner–but we had a FPTP ballot, so that is nothing new.

      • Oh, but there’s nothing proportional about a preferential ballot!

  3. The Dippers would be so lucky to end up with a Leader with one tenth the integrity and intelligence of a Stéphane Dion.

    He has contributed and continues to contribute far more in the way of innovative ideas to the national debate then any one of the mealy-mouthed detractors from the Cons or the Dippers will ever make to this country.

    He put himself on the line 1995 and that alone puts him head-and-shoulders above any of those others, and despite everything he has faced since he continues to contribute.

    • While he was fighting valiantly to keep the country together, Harper was writing firewall letters. 

      • Exactly.

    • +1

      I thought he would have made a very good Prime Minister.

      and FU Duffy!

  4. I suppose I don’t buy the premise that Dion was so very bad.

    I think Harper would have won his majority first time out against Ignatieff (for sure) or Rae — Dion did well to keep 77 seats.

    And I thought at the time that they’d’ve done better to keep Dion in 2008 than to pitch him over the side.  (I practice what I preach — I’m going to Niagara Falls this weekend to vote to keep Hudak on for the Ontario PCs.)

    The idea of keeping around a leader with a certain skillset and working with him has a history — the Grits kept Pearson after Diefenbaker gave him a pasting in 1958, and eventually did win with him.

    • Exactly.

      Turner had a second shot.  McGuinty and Harris both had second shots.  Same might work out for your guy Tim, although I don’t hope so, but that’s for the Ontario populace to decide.

      • I’d have kept Tory on for a second crack at it.  But it is hard to take a loss from the jaws of victory.  I don’t like Hudak at all.  But good on you. 

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