Thursday, March 15, 2007

This can only be good for the Liberals

Saw this in today's Globe & Mail. This is good news for the Liberals and should make anyone (on the left coast anyways) think twice before voting Conservative. I'm reprinting part of it here. Hope that doesn't upset anyone at the Globe.

Environmentalist Briony Penn climbs out on a limb with the Liberals
Special to The Globe and Mail
VICTORIA -- Briony Penn, a leading light of the environmental movement on the West Coast, has announced her candidacy for the Liberal Party in the next federal election.
Ms. Penn, 46, filed her nomination papers yesterday for the riding of Saanich Gulf-Islands, currently held by Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn.
Her decision to join the Liberals and resign from the Green Party, which she has supported for more than a decade, will likely enhance Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion's reputation as a champion of the environment but bitterly disappoint Greens loyal to Leader Elizabeth May.
Ms. Penn, a well-known eco-activist, author and media personality who once portrayed Lady Godiva in a protest in downtown Vancouver, said she is running for the Liberals "with my green shirt on" as part of an unofficial Liberal/Green alliance she sees developing across the country.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Dion in Vancouver

I went to the fundraiser for Stephane Dion at the Imperial Chinese Seafood Restaurant in Vancouver. Not much to say that hasn't been said in the papers. I thought he was a bit flat at first but seemed to get into a bit of a groove after a few minutes. The emphasis was on how Stephen Harper was simply recycling parts of Liberal programs he cancelled or delayed when he came to office. Fair enough. Sort of the nice guys version of the vicious personal attacks that Harper has descended to lately (good thing for Liberals in a way).

On the other hand it was disappointing for him not to put any more color on his vision. He has the framework so why not spend a bit more time adding some color if even to explain the relationship between each of the pillars of his framework (i.e. the now well worn economic prosperity, social justice and environmental sustainability).

The other thing that I find disappointing with Mr. Dion's cross country trek is that it was, for the most part focused on shoring up support in the party. I'm sure there are very pragmatic reasons for this, but as long as you're on the road why not take advantage of it. Maybe some interviews on local news or entertainment shows. Maybe take some questions from the audience. Or how about trying to book a lecture at universities in one or two of the larger stops. And while you're at it how about doing what Noam Chomsky does on his tours and have a post lecture discussion in a more intimate setting. Chomsky does this to very good effect. Given his academic background it should be an environment Dion is comfortable in. Record the sessions and put them on YouTube or use them as advertorial during the election.

I work in technology. When we launched a new product, or new version of a product, we went out on the road with our CEO and we filled up every possible moment of his day. Customer meetings, analyst briefings, press, lectures whatever we could find for him while we had him. He was our visionary and having him spread the gospel was a key component of our success. Not doing the same with Dion while he's available makes me wonder. Maybe politics is different. Maybe it shouldn't be.