The fine art of not gloating


With Layton and Harper deciding to let the girl into the tree house after all, you’d think Dion would have rubbed it in a bit. But he didn’t.

Talking to reporters in a high school library in Walkerton, Ont. this afternoon, Dion merely asked allowed why they hadn’t agreed with him all along that Elizabeth May had to be let into the TV debate. “Everybody knows the Green party represents something in this country, including Madame May,” he said simply. “So it’s good news.”

Hard to know how to interpret the moment. Did Dion display a dignified reluctance to gloat, or a lack of the necessary instinct for the jugular? Will Canadians ultimately view his restraint as prime-ministerial, or are voters waiting to see more fight in the man?

By the way, the Liberal tour chose Walkerton, for obvious reasons, for Dion’s pledge of $50 million for beefed up food-safety inspections. Poor little town: it’s name our national shorthand for ingested death.

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The fine art of not gloating

  1. He wasn’t restraining an urge to gloat, he was restraining giddiness at having backup at the debate!

  2. From Dion’s perspective there are certainly pros and cons to May being at the debates.

    The Pros:

    Dion will now have his big sister on the playground to protect him from all that bullying by Harper. Dion and Sis will be saying the same things (as they support one another like siblings should) except Sis will probably say it in a way that we can comprehend.

    The Cons:

    the viewing public will see Dion’s big sister protecting him from all that bullying and no doubt outshining him (as the more dominant sibling sometimes does).

    (cross posted on Andrew’s thread on this topic)

  3. Alternatively,he may be reacting as a human being,not as a political animal. Poor guy.

  4. Once things for sure. This just shows that he is notaleader.

  5. Debate politcal spectrum:

    Political Centre

    ! ! !
    Duceppe !
    Layton ! Harper
    Dion !
    May !

  6. Oops, that didn’t quite work out. I tried to put the 4 names of Dion, Layton, May and Duceppe on the left of the space and Harper’s alone on the right but they all got thrown together in the post.

  7. I love the “recent comments” list. “Jarrid Jarrid Jarrid Jarrid Jarrid Jarrid…”

    Easy on the Red Bull there, sonny.

  8. Interesting side note: Dion took unfiltered questions from a high school audience. Not a single question even remotely related to tainted food or drink. Bravo, kids, for refusing to go along with the role the Liberals wanted you to play.

    Also, one kid said that Dion’s situation in the election campaign was comparable to that of the geeky kid who gets bullied in school. Unscripted is dangerous, guys.

  9. If May consistently sides with Dion in the debates the story will be that she’s a secret Liberal – as charged by Harper – and it will blow up in both of their faces.

    She can’t have it both ways – being both an issue advocate and a political partisan. She’s now boxed into the latter, and I don’t think it suits her, or furthers her aims.

  10. Dion took unfiltered questions from a high school audience. Not a single question even remotely related to tainted food or drink.

    Where’s the source on this? Did Heather tell you this during study hall?

  11. I like the unscripted questions and Dion seems happy to answer whatever is asked. Political reactions are so predictable, they get tiring. I prefer the more genuine response which allows one to focus on the content and the issues.

    May also strikes me as more genuine than either Harper or Layton and I look forward to seeing what she says. I don’t expect her to simply support Dion, although obviously she will argue that we have to do something about the environment right away rather than waiting for cap and trade – but that is simply the same one would hear from any environmental group.

  12. May is going to steal a lot of votes from Dion. He only said he wanted her in because he never thought the other parties would accept it.

    Now she’s going to eat his lunch. I’ll wager every point Green support goes up, Liberal support goes down. This is the nail in Dion’s coffin.

  13. Watching Dion focusing almost entirely on the Green issue, reminds me of when the Ottawa Rough Riders were in the CFL.

    Out of the myriad of potential names to choose from and only nine teams in the league, they (or Sask – don’t know which came first)choose one that another team already has.

  14. Ryan points out that people will be watching May and Dion at the debates . Yes, the made a deal not to challenge each other seats and announced it openly.

    I’m going to watch Harper and Layton at the debates to see if there is any evidence of them trying to help each other or treating each other with more respect than the others. I didn’t know they were working together until the debate blockade fell apart, and Emerson said Harper was supporting Layton in keeping May out. They didn’t tell people they had colluded on this. Why not say, the two of us talked (after all the meeting was more than 3 times longer than the meeting with Harper) and we have a deal to keep May out of the debates.

    May and Dion have cooperated because they have worked together on the environment and respect each other’s commitment to that issue. Whereas Harper and Layton have to work in secret because their reasons (working against the Liberals) wouldn’t look as good, would they?

  15. Having seen May’s propensity to barge in and interrupt almost uncontrollably, I predict the “knockout punch” in this debate will be some variation of Harper telling Dion to stop hiding behind Elizabeth May

  16. Jeez, John, I don’t know, this sure looks like gloating to me…

    Stephen Harper and Jack Layton follow Stéphane Dion’s leadership

    WALKERTON – Bowing to pressure from Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion and tens of thousands of Canadians from all political affiliations, the Conservative Party, the Bloc Québécois and New Democratic Party of Canada have finally dropped their objections to allowing Green Party Leader Elizabeth May to participate in the televised leaders’ debates on October 1 and 2.

    “I’m glad to see that Stephen Harper and Jack Layton are following my leadership, and have agreed to a full debate,” said Mr. Dion. “This is clearly a victory for democracy, a victory for Canadians.”

    During a roundtable discussion this morning with Liberal women candidates, Mr. Dion repeated his support for Ms. May’s inclusion, and called on the leaders of the other parties, as well as the broadcast consortium to explain their decision to exclude the Green Party Leader.

    “Since the beginning of this election campaign, it has been the Liberal Party that has been leading the debate, not just regarding Ms. May, but on all of the important issues facing Canadians in this election,” said Mr. Dion.

    “Today we have further proof that it is Liberals that are setting the agenda, and now that Mr. Harper, Mr. Duceppe and Mr. Layton have dropped their partisan objections, I look forward to seeing Ms. May on the podium with us during our debates.”

    “Unlike Mr. Harper and Mr. Layton, I’m not afraid to discuss my ideas with all Canadians. I’m glad to see they backed down, I only wish it hadn’t taken them so long to do the right thing.”

  17. hope Dion gets a word in edgewise with May there. She could further erode his leadership with no benefit to the GP.

    As long as the candidates stay away from cliches about pigs and lipstick it should be suitably boring.

  18. Catherine, the Conservatives and NDP have been working together since the last election. A case of the enemy of my enemy. Makes for good TV, too, as they represent the boogeymen to each other’s base.

  19. “He only said he wanted her in because he never thought the other parties would accept it.”


    Dion (who now apparently has an ‘English only’ hearing problem that causes him to fuddle and muddle) was facing the prospect of the spotlight being squarely on his muddling.

    But now he’s in the unenviable position of being seen as the first leader of the Liberal party to have an assistant on stage to speak for him on his signature issue.

    He was able to avoid the prospect of looking “frightened” of having the more…ahem…overbearing May speaking on HIS issue.

    Now he’s going to get what he pretended he wanted.

    It will be great fun to watch.

  20. Dion (who now apparently has an ‘English only’ hearing problem that causes him to fuddle and muddle)

    Seriously. Could you guys *try* to grow up just a little bit.

  21. Dion (who now apparently has an ‘English only’ hearing problem that causes him to fuddle and muddle) was facing the prospect of the spotlight being squarely on his muddling.

    Seriously, Kody. Can you stop sounding like complete idiot?

  22. As the parent of a moderately hard of hearing child I can tell you that learning any language is a tough slog. The child eventually learns the spoken language and begins to “fill in” the sounds unheard, and uses the brain to understand what is being said using cues like lip-reading and context. For someone with this problem to learn to use another language less familiar, the process will take longer. Over time the child/person will learn to communicate and understand in the spoken language.

    The child however will generally have no problem reading or writing in either language. Only the hearing and speaking will be affected.

    It is unfortunate that more people do not know how a hearing-challenged person learns. It is also unfortunate that many people are not more understanding of the effort it takes to become proficient in speaking normally when burdened with hearing loss.

    I appreciate Mr. Dion’s honesty and forthrightness in telling Canadians about his hearing disability. Hearing loss is increasing in our society. The more people who understand it the better.

    I tell you from experience that there is nothing quite as hurtful as being mocked and bullied because of a hearing disability.

  23. Are you guys serious.

    Your leader is in perpetual victim mode, and actually said he has an affliction which affects his English (but not French).

    I suspect that the same group that ridicules Harper for …….. wearing a vest……..

    would likely have a thing or two to say if Harper claimed he had Frenchitis.

  24. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 7:35 pm, kody has an epiphany and like about 65% of Canadian voters did before him, realized that Harper is not a leader, merely a bully.

  25. Seeing as it seems so hard to figure out, I’ll spell it out for you.

    When Stephane Dion was a child he learned, as many of us do, his mother tounge in an environment where only one person is speaking at a time (home, a classroom, etc). It’s also possible that the hearing condition wasn’t as pronounced in childhood. Either way, he perfected his French.

    As with anyone, a second language is difficult. Compound it with a hearing problem and things get worse.

    Many people with hearing problems have difficulty picking out sounds in a crowd. They normally compensate for it by staring intently at the lips as they move, attempting to figure out what the person is saying.

    This is even more difficult in a second language.

    Unfortunately, all Kody has proven is that there’s many adults out there who don’t actually understand (or care) about the problems people with disabilities face. Sad, really.

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