Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nice guys finish last.


I've said it before, but it bears repeating, since I'm dedicating so much thought to this thing. I am not a Liberal Party supporter. I am accustomed to having them on Canada's political landscape, and they have governed the nation for most of its history, so I am a little saddened to watch their race to the wilderness, but I personally have nothing invested in them. In fact, federally, I think I voted Liberal once, and it was one of those votes against the Tories.

But Stephane Dion is a guy I found interesting. He was chosen to lead the Liberals, it seems, in spite of all the things that made him a good leader. He is intelligent, thoughtful, passionate, compassionate, partriotic, forward-thinking, a constitutional scholar, and environmentally conscious, as well as being, as far as I can tell, a genuinely nice guy.

He was clearly unfit to lead a Western Democracy.

That says more about our moral bankrupcy than it does about Dion.

However, the departure of Dion is a good thing for Greens. Politically, if not socially. Dion's carbon tax was weak, and it made too many exceptions, but it was the first time the carbon tax was foisted upon the consciousness of the average Canadian. I mixed blessing, to be sure. All of a sudden, people who resist action on carbon economies had a dirty word to fight with. The CPC cemented their support in the prairies by pointing out that the Libs hated them, and wanted to destroy their livelihood. On the other side, anyone who wanted environmental action and was sceptical of the chances of the Greens or the NDP could vote red and say they were helping.

The exit of Dion and his green policies do two things. It makes the Greens the only option for those truly concerned with sustainability. That was always the case, but the perception now meshes with reality. It's good for the Green Party. Though our numbers went up, I am sure that we lost protential votes to the Libs. It's bad for Canada. We are already way behind on out Kyoto commitments, and a Liberal Leader who does not have environmental action as a priority is unlikely to force (yes, force) the CPC to do anything at all. They were deniers until recently, and they still get a lot of support from Alberta.

The departure of Dion signals something much greater than the dismissal of environmental concerns from the Canadian zeitgeist. It reveals a deeper flaw in our system, not just the political system, but society as a whole. Apparently, though the rest of the world has tried on the neocon style of government and found it ill-fitting and prone to wear, Canadians are hell bent on having our turn in the fitting room. We are out of sync with the rest of the world.

Our reputation is about to take a big hit. My wife thinks I was joking the other night, but emigration is more and more appealing.

1 comment:

Brian said...

I agree - Dion seems like a very a nice guy. But the truth is that nice guys don't always make the best leaders. I think it's programmed into us to follow the alpha dog. Most people are followers and a few are leaders. Then there are those of us oddballs that don't fit in.

Dion is just not a natural leader.