It occurs to me that the recent fate of the Liberal party has been a demonstration in the difference between what people say they want and what they actually want (or at least what they will vote for.)
Stephen Dion is, according to everyone who knows him or works with him, completely honest and ethical, smart, dedicated and sincere. If you took a poll and asked people (without naming names) if they could vote for such a person the reaction would be a resounding yes.
On the other hand Stephen Harper is, according to his colleagues and friends deeply partisan, arrogant, inflexible, and maintains absolute control over those around him. From the Toronto Star
""There's always been this concern that Harper believes he's the smartest guy in the room and that, no matter what, he's never wrong," confides the Harper acquaintance (who's also a Mulroney friend).If asked (without naming names) if they could vote for such a person the answer would be a resounding no - but Stephen Harper rolls on while Dion is mere days from a very short career as Liberal Party leader.
In interviews with federal associates of Harper, past and present, a picture emerges of a bright and driven man who does not take dissenting counsel especially well and is prone to profane outbursts.
"The people around him, the stable, has generally been bred for obedience, so that's what you get," says a confrere.
Another insider agrees "there's no question the Prime Minister rules by fear," which is not always productive.
"At some point, you know, you get up every day and you get kicked in the balls and, you know what, you get tired of it. So when people stop fighting back, I'm telling you, that's a most dangerous, dangerous, dangerous day," he says.
It was Harper who insisted that the Nov. 27 economic statement be used as a political weapon to bludgeon the Conservatives' foes."
If you took a poll and asked if Canadians would like the parties in Parliament to set aside their differences, combine their best ideas, and work together for the good of the country during the current economic recession - almost 100% would say that was exactly what they wanted. Sadly when three of the parties try to do just that they are vilified by the one party that has shown that it cannot work with others and doesn't really care what they think. When the Conservatives say that they want input from other parties it makes for good sound bites but it appears that the suggestions of the other parties are not seriously considered, or even taken seriously.
So, who do Canadians like better? The three parties that try to work together to set partisanship aside and find common solutions or the one party (and one leader) that is incapable of being non-partisan and that looks for personal gain in every situation? According to the CBC and Ekos research they like the party that refuses to work with others.
Personally I am sad that things went so poorly for Stephen Dion, but I know there is no changing people's minds about him now. I am disappointed that so many Canadians don't really want to see cooperation and consensus in our parliament but I will keep working to change their minds on that. I can and do support the coalition and it's efforts at cooperative solutions to our economic problems. The coalition may succeed and it may fail but either way, as is always the case in a democracy, Canadians will get what they ask for.