Leadership Convention vs. Leadership Danceoff: You Be the Judge

As everyone knows, the greatest thing about finally moving out from home and being a first year university student is the tendency of your parents to call you almost constantly. In fact, I was confronted by such a phone call the other day and coerced into explaining to my parents the process by which the Liberal Party elects its leader.

Needless to say, explaining Form 6’s, DSM’s and convention was exhilarating. Those 17 hours of my life did, however, make me realize how much simpler the whole process would be if instead of all this bureaucracy, everything was decided via dance-off.

Do you remember the TV show “Dance 360?” I’ll summarize: one person throws down their best moves in the center of a large crowd (can you say delegates?). Then, another person jumps in. The climax is certainly the head-to-head round, where the two people “dance battle.” The winner is decided by applause.

Picture this and try to tell me with a straight face it’s not the most brilliant idea you’ve ever read: Ignatieff sporting the shopping cart (a personal fave) and Dion laying down the always popular cowboy. Or Kennedy rocking the fisherman and Rae keeping it classy with the chicken dance. If not efficient, it would at least be funny.

- Trevor

T- 44, 640 minutes until convention

With only a month left until registration opens I'm starting to have these disturbing thoughts. Thoughts about what to do on Sunday, December 3. And Monday December 4, and on and on and on. Regardless of outcome, I wonder what hindsight will teach me in the immediate post-convention future, but also what memories I will keep with me for the rest of my life. At only 22 years old, I might see a good many Leaderships in my day. What will make this one special?

I think Carrie's touching post is certainly an indication.

By far one of the best things about the last 6 months on the Dion campaign has been the random and casual moments where someone I know reveals themselves to be a fellow "Dionista" without me ever having known.

The amazing professor who asked me who I was supporting and responded, "Of course Dion. Me too."

Or my campus-job boss who I've known for five years and never talked politics once that said, "Oh you're involved in the Leadership? Who are you supporting? Because Stephane Dion is the one I want to win."

Or the former hill staffer friend who I thought had all but left politics that sent me an email out of the blue reading, "Following the race. Hear you're involved with Dion. He's gotta win, so don't screw up."

Along with the knowing nods from my friends in other parties and the thumbs up from strangers on the metro who see me sporting my Stephane Dion button, these are some of the best moments on the campaign.

- Denise


Where does your candidate stand on the issue of rap music?

I’m tired of all these hard-hitting blog interviews. It’s high time we stopped asking candidates about their opinions and ideas in favour of the goofy, the mundane, and the completely random.

So with that, I present to you my blog interview with the Hon. Stéphane Dion. Thanks to Young Liberals from all the camps for submitting such great questions.

DB: Hi Stéphane, I’m going to ask you some questions that Young Libs have always wanted to know, but have never had the chance to ask you. Answer as much or as little as you want.

SD: Okay

DB: What is your favourite food?

SD: Fresh trout that I have caught myself

DB: What is your favourite season of the year?

SD: Winter, because I like cross-country skiing.

DB: What is the last movie you watched?

SD: 8 Below.

DB: Do you have any guilty pleasures?

SD: Too many to consider

DB: Would you prefer to be really hot and step into a cold room, or really cold and step into a hot room?

SD: Be cold and go into a warm room because a warm room, especially if it’s a fire, is more natural. When it’s air conditioning it’s always a bit artificial.

DB: When you were 8 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

SD: I wanted to be a courier de bois. What is the translation for this? It’s someone who worked in the fur trade a long time ago…

DB: Uh… good question. I don’t know what it is in English either….

SD: Maybe there’s no translation. Just put courier de bois.

DB: Okay.

[Editor’s note: there isn’t in fact a good translation as “trapper” is a little big more vague, but feel free to check out wikipedia for a full and even possibly accurate description http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyageurs.]

DB: I notice you have a lot of art in your house. Do you have any favourite artists or paintings.

SD: Well since I am colour blind it’s difficult to have a strong preference.

DB: Really, you’re colour-blind?

SD: Yes.

DB: Can I write that?

SD: Yes.

DB: Cool.

SD: And I would probably say Rembrandt, because it’s the daily life of people.

DB: Do you have a favourite type of music or favourite artist or favourite song?

SD: Yes. La Norma of Bellini

[Proceeds to spell it for me because I’m totally uncultured]

DB: What do you think of rap music?

SD: They speak too fast.

DB Even in French rap?

SD: Yes. It’s not a matter of language.

DB: Yeah, that’s fair. What is the most influential book you’ve ever read? Er, that’s kind of tough. What’s one of the most influential you’ve read?

SD: Democracy in America, from Toqueville.

DB: Have you ever failed a class?

SD: Yes

DB: Holy crap, really?

SD: I had difficulties adapting myself to Cegep.

[for those not familiar with Cegep, it’s pretty much like OAC or pre-college.]

DB: If you could have dinner with any 5 people, dead or alive, who would they be?

SD: This is a very tough one

[pauses for a second]

I would go with the 5 Jewish thinkers who gave strong contributions to humanity

Moses, who said that everything is law
Jesus, who said that everything is love
Marx, who said that everything is struggle
Freud, who said that everything is sex
And Einstein, who said, “you know, all this is very relative.”

DB: That’s awesome. Wow. Okay, how did you and your wife meet?

SD: At a party. Sorry to not be more original.

[Jeanne (his daughter) and I giggle a little bit]

DB: Okay, last question. If you win the leadership will it be the happiest moment of your political career?

[pauses for a long time]

SD: It’s very likely so.


Campaign Dress Code

People often think that if you work in politics you must dress really nicely all the time. I am pleased to report this is not the case. I've managed to spend almost this entire leadership campaign wearing sweatpants/pajama pants/pajama shorts/or some variation of what can only be described as "inactive wear." Many people might think this was made easier by the fact that our campaign rented a house in Ottawa instead of an office, and so I spent a good amount of time sleeping in the campaign office; however, I've managed to sport inactive wear in great cities across this country. Members of the youth team in Victoria, Toronto, Halifax...they've all seen me in inaction. Even SD, who got to see me in my Sunday best for a round of blog interviews yesterday, is cool that I work in sweatpants with stains on them (not shown in picture, but they're there) and an old rugby shirt that my dad gave me after he would no longer wear it in public. It's highly possibly he gave it to me so I stop wearing my "Vancouver Triathlon 1989" t-shirt.

And I just want to say that I'm proud to be on a campaign where I'm judged by my opinions and the content of my character rather than my appearance.

Also, I also took a few minutes to do a hard-hitting blog interview with Stephane which I will be posting shortly, so stay tuned :-)



Bridging Liberal past with a Liberal future

Richard from Manitoba here,

Stephane came off feistier than Kyoto in a dog park on Sunday, a performance that gathered many impressed "hmm" moments at the inter-camp debate gathering I attended. Dion stood up for the Liberal record against two party newcomers, and I think its important that every Liberal remember that renewal is different than rebuilding.

The 13-year dynasty of our party was not an accident, nor just a product of the "big red machine" in singing campaign mode. In 1993, Liberals had a purpose: to bring Canada to a point of fiscal balance, in anticipation of a day where Canada could afford to implement any policy or program it needed to address social and economic ills. Purpose drove policy, policy drove visible change, and visible change kept us in office. The finest campaigners of Power Corp would not have been able to market a government that appeared to do nothing when the country was in need of fiscal reform. Consider this: Liberals were able to survive the backlash of having to cut social spending (and indeed all kinds of spending), a chorus that could have easily sung the fat lady tune for our party; but no...our purpose was in synch with that of Canadians, and we succeeded.

Stephane, and all Liberals, should be proud of that, because it was an achievement that all Canadians sacrificed for. Our loss came not from that imminent backlash against program cuts: it came when we lost purpose.

The latter Chretien years and fully the Martin years were defined moreso by conditions and actions thrust upon us by popular demand. Chretien's defining 2003 refusal on Iraq was a neccessary reaction to the unilateral action of the U.S: didn't create the mission, we simply said no. Same sex marriage was moved first by nearly every provincial court, even the Supreme Court of Canada, before it was decided. Martin was there to watch the vote.

Overall, there was a vacuum left when we had slayed the deficit. Chalk it up to whatever reason you may, we did not switch modes from fiscal savers to social restorers as the vision initially entailed. At the end, we were managers more than leaders, so busy coping with the day-to-day funcion of governing that we forgot why we were doing it.

Stephane's work on the environment came at the tail end of this. Its clear to see that Stephane always saw the environment as his purpose, but it is equally clear that purpose was not generally embraced by the whole government, nor the whole party. For whatever didn't get done we cannot blame only one of us. The Liberal party gets things done when we all buy into a common and focused purpose, and the environment wasnt it.

Stephane is trying to make the envrionment that Liberal purpose, equal to that of fiscal management back in 1993. Its important that Liberals see our need for such a common purpose. No other leadership candidate has stepped up with such a focus on a grand enough issue. The Liberal Party has proven it can get accomplish amazing feats if it has a purpose...environmental sustainability need be that new purpose, and Stephane need be the leader who can express and act on that purpose: our ability to once again realize this party's potential depends wholly on it.


Dion Rocked the Debate!

I just wanted to say that DION absolutely rocked yesterday's debate. I think that Don Newman confirmed what I have thought about Stephane all along... he is such an outstanding individual and would make such a great leader for the Liberal Party (and Prime Minister for Canada, of course) that the only thing Mr. Newman could think of criticizing him for is his "accent francais!" In a country where we celebrate cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, I am surprised to see that so much attention is focused on such a trivial attribute.

Yes, the ability to communicate in French and English is a requisite, in my opinion, to successful leadership of this country. A great leader, however, is not determined by his or her capacity to communicate flawlessly in Canada's two official languages. Rather, it is determined by the candidates aptitude, compassion, honesty, integrity, adaptability and a proven record of success. No other canidadate more closely fits the mold than Dion. Dion proved that yesterday.

Best 3 DION quotes of the debate:
“I’m proud to be a Liberal, and for me it did not take a leadership race for me to say so.”

I think it's very important to choose a leader who has some credentials regarding fiscal discipline. I was there when the tough decisions had to be made, and I'm very proud of that.”

I have always been clear and consistent in my words and actions, and I have never had to apologize for any of them.”

I am proud to be Canadian, I am proud to be a Liberal and I am proud to be a Dionista!

-Kaley (AB)


Dog Lovers for Dion Days Looking for Dollars!

Nothing makes for a lovely afternoon blogpost like some excessive illiteration and a grassroots fundraising campaign. So drumroll please...

Hello Fellow Dion Supporters,

Sunday is the last official debate, and the it's the home stretch! Whether your issue is national unity, the environment, beating Stephen Harper in the next election, owning a cute husky dog, Dion's the man for you.

So be the change you wish to see and donate to Equipe Dion. $10, $20, $50, $100, any amount will help. And in case you're still not sure, check out these happy faces and tell me you don't want to be a part of this ;-)



so i'm getting writer's block thinking of a title!

i'm in a meeting this afternoon with one of my professors, trying somehow to get advice and direction for my future -- you know, one of those meetings... and the question of the day comes up -- do i take my LSATs at mcgill in december (at convention) or do i wait until february and get denied entrance to law school because my application won't be completed until too late? ahh.. ... sometimes i wonder about the liberal party! super weekend AND convention on lsat days!

anyways... so this naturally leads to the topic of leadership and i tell her i'm supporting stephane dion. she puts her hands to her face, shakes her head and says... oh, i'm so happy -- in her cute polish accent. he's the only logical choice for the party, she says. i was watching super weekend results very closely, she says.... oh boy, i say, relieved as i hand her my law school referee forms (in a pre-addressed fed-ex envelope) and walk out the door... i thought she was conservative?

debate sunday in TO anyone?


the beautiful appeal of stephane dion

i am so happy that my undying support is directed at stephane dion. i have received so much praise from friends in other camps for backing such a strong, experienced, and inspiring candidate. i love how everyone can concede that stephane is really the most qualified and suiting candidate to fill the position of leader. driving back from home at the end of this thanksgiving weekend, two friends and i argued over the candidates in the leadership race. each one admitted that dion is the only top-four candidtae without baggage that would prove to be divisive to the liberal party. i guess people really do believe in a united party, a united canada. J'ADORE DION!

Why I'm thankful for being a Dionista

Richard from Manitoba here.

On this thanksgiving weekend (shout out to the Aboriginal people that "gave" [read had stolen] all this land we live on) I'd like to tell everyone why I'm thankful for being a Dionista:

10. The relief of enviro-guilt (you know, the kind that you get every time you see a smoke stack, or when the tumbleweeds of McDonalds wrappers go rolling by)

9. Knowing that Trudeau federalism is still alive in someone.

8. A charming accent (!) that everyone should adore.

7. Bountiful dog food for Kyoto.

6. Kyoto. (Ya, ya, the vote. We all know that you don't send your campaign manager going door to door during an election. The best thing Stephane could do for Kyoto is to keep on campaigning so he can finish what he could only start with the late (too late), great Project Green.)

5. The elderly lady I drove an hour to pick up to vote for Dion on Super Weekend. I hope I'm graceful and intelligent when I'm old (kind of hard, seeing as I'm neither as of now)

4. The "Liberal on Board" window sticker in the back of my Civic hatchback (keep it small, SUV haters)

3. The fact that the two-year countdown to Bush-free day is going to start soon!

2. Being able to get along with anyone else's leadership camps (I haven't seen a Stop Dion website thus far)

and finally, the #1 reason being a Dionista is so gangsta....

Going to the FRENCH pubs in Montreal with our man!


A New Contest: Where's Waldo (er, Colin)

Following on the heels of the last photo contest, here's another one! Remember how great it was to read those "Where's Waldo" books as a child? Scouring the page for that goofy little face staring back at you? Well look hard at this photo and see if you can find our own youth campaign's Waldo, Colin....


Photo Contest Winner!

The official winner of our informal "Best Balloon Arch at a Dion Event" Competition is clearly, clearly, clearly North Vancouver. Congratulations!


SuperWeekend Diary: Day 3

Denise's Day 2 Stats recap (ticker soon to be available):

Hours awake so far: 17
Emails received: 252
Times I was so happy I almost cried: 2
Times I was so stressed I almost threw up: 0
Number of pizza slices I ate: 1
Number of people in campaign office who dissed my music selection: 0
Number of drinks I've had since polls closed (a new ticker feature): 9

So here we are on Sunday night. Hooray, we made it! Not to get too sappy, since politics is "rough-and-tumble," but let me say that I had a lot of good experiences this weekend with a lot of wonderful and respectful people from all camps.

Have a good sleep everyone. We deserve it :-)


Dion Rocks Nova Scotia Student Clubs

Hey all,

Score one for the Dionista youth team! After all is said and done, Dion took 7 of the 16 student club spots in Nova Scotia. Brison placed second with 6 and Iggy third with 3.

Here's the breakdown for anyone who is interested:

Saint Mary's

Dion 3
Brison 1

St. FX

Dion 2
Brison 1
Iggy 1


Iggy 2
Dion 1
Brison 1


Brison 3
Dion 1

The Bluenose Dionistas are comin to Montreal with a bang!! Watch Out!

Colin Hebb