Heckling, Burnaby style

Announcing incentives for energy-efficient home retrofits this morning in verdant Burnaby, B.C., Stéphane Dion was heckled. A bit.

Cheryl Cannell, a resident of the Pine Ridge Housing Cooperative, where Dion staged the event, appeared unimpressed by the details, even the special tax break he promised for low-income folks who want to upgrade their domiciles.

“What about the homeless!” she shouted from a grassy hill looking down on the spot where they’d set up Dion’s podium.

“We’ll have lots of policies for the homeless,” Dion answered mildly. “Today is about greening homes.”

A smiling Liberal official hustled over to chat with Cannell. At the end of Dion’s remarks, I glanced over and she was clapping politely along with everybody else. I asked her and she admitted Dion was a hard guy to really dislike.

Not your typical voice of dissent. Hard to imagine a heckler shouting at Harper, and then easing off so readily. But, then, Dion is not the sort of politician who inspires passions, negative or positive. It could be his great weakness: he has trouble inspiring. Or his main reason to hope for a campaign turnaround: folks remain willing to be persuaded that he’s OK.

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