In the Chamber -- Grant Mitchell's Blog

Three Important Messages from Stephane Dion

Posted 11/11/2007 by Grant Mitchell


Stéphane Dion had a very successful trip to Edmonton this week. He made three public appearances: a speech to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, a question and answer session at the Laurier Club, and a short presentation followed by a long question and answer period at a very well attended town hall meeting. He was forceful and determined in each case, leader-like and persistent in defining himself and the Liberal party.

Central to his message is the need to address the environment, climate change, water, and toxic emissions, among other matters. He continues to pound this message despite criticism that he might appear to be a one trick pony. Anyone who studies opposition politics seriously will understand that it is especially difficult for opposition parties to establish a “message presence” or to define themselves clearly between elections.  Media report government policy and opposition criticism (and then often criticize the opposition for not defining themselves or their message). The key for an opposition leader is to repeat a message until he or she can hardly bear to repeat it again and then repeat it some more. Stephane Dion is doing this on the environment and so he should. The environment is perhaps the single greatest issue facing us today.

He is also talking about the obligation to attack poverty in this remarkable and remarkably wealthy country in which there are still 1,000,000 children living in poverty. It is an important and value driven policy stance that clearly defines Stéphane Dion’s values..

He continues to speak of the need to define the Canadian role in Afghanistan. He makes the point powerfully that this is a  NATO obligation which will require very long term commitment, and it defies logic to assume that it can be fulfilled when only  one or a few NATO members are doing all the “heavy lifting”.

These are three important messages which Mr. Dion is delivering effectively and persistently.

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