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April 24, 2008

Dion Charms the Crowd in Peterborough

GlobalwarmingStéphane Dion thoroughly charmed the crowd in Peterborough this morning. He was warm, personable, and funny in his wonderfully low-key way. He talked about the link between environmental change and human health and did a fabulous job of fielding questions from the crowd on a wide variety of issues: social justice, economic sustainability, the environment, and more specifically the link between poverty and health (both in Canada and abroad), immigration, NAFTA and environmental rights, bio-fuel and other alternative energy sources), job creation in an environmentally sound economy, nuclear energy, rehabilitation of the tar stands, water as a basic human right, and much more.

His passion for making a difference for Canadians came through in everything he said.

I had the last question of the day. I thanked him for standing fast in the face of personal attacks that were unprecedented outside an election period and told him that I thought he was a real class act. (Clearly the majority of the people in the room agreed with what I had to say because there was thunderous applause in response to this statement.) I then asked him what ordinary citizens could do to help spread the word about what he has to offer Canadians, given that his message is all-too-often obscured by the mainstream media.

He didn't say anything negative about the mainstream media (what did I just finish saying about what a class act this gentleman is?), but he commented briefly about what keeps him going. He said (and I'm paraphrasing): "When you're driven by your convictions, you keep going." He then talked about how committed he was to making a difference for Canadians: how he wanted to become Canada's next Prime Minister so he could work for a world in which Canada was a leader in the area of environmental change, social justice, and economic sustainability.

This is a man who is speaking from the heart and who has the intelligence and the determination to be a brilliant Prime Minister. It's no wonder Stephen Harper (also not a stupid man) has been running scared and resorting to bully-style attacks since practically the day Dion became leader of the Liberal Party. After all, you don't invest massive energy and resources trying to take down an unworthy opponent. You save your energy for someone who has the potential to take you down.

Dion was introduced by Federal Liberal candidate Betsy McGregor (Peterborough Riding) and thanked by former MP Peter Adams (also Peterborough Riding).

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Comments

As you'd expect, someone from the audience did ask that question. (We're all wondering about that the timing of the next election -- or at least the political junkies are.)

He answered the question very astutely. He said that he and his party will decide when it's the right time for an election, since Harper has decided to give him that power [ or words to that effect -- once again I'm paraphrasing ].

I liked the way he turned the situation around and stepped out of the passive role into which he is too often unfairly cast by stereotypical caricatures that don't actually capture who he is as a man or a politician. He showed the crowd that a leader can be strong, decisive and in control without resorting to bullying or attack tactics.

He demonstrated what leadership can and should be -- and what it has traditionally been about in Canada: based on bold new ideas and a positive vision; and something that is earned rather than demanded of people.

It makes me yearn for a time when I can feel proud of my Federal government again.

Did he say anything about getting ready for that June election?

;)

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