Listening to Stéphane Dion on CBC Radio's The Current this morning was a breath of fresh air. After the Tory fumbling of the (albeit manufactured) Afghan issues and recent less than exciting polls, it was nice to hear a bumbling, English mangling Dion in full denial mode for half an hour. A reminder that, although things may have gone a little wobbly for the government in recent days, their troubles don't even come close to those of the Liberal party.
Challenged on the 10 years of Liberal inaction on Kyoto, Dion avoided the question - to the host's credit she did press him on this to the point that he admitted he wasn't going to answer it. Again and again he kept referring to "my plan as Minister of the Environment" - meaning the tiny attempts he made on the environment in Paul Martin's government. He was forced to fall back on the lame excuse that the Conservatives would have opposed Kyoto measures during the late 90s - of course he can't explain how exactly this stopped Chretien's majority government from doing something.
What also struck me was that in a full half-hour interview, Dion hardly mentioned his party or anyone else in it. He never used"we"; everything was "I" and "my plan". It was almost as though the Liberal party didn't exist. He wouldn't account for his party's actions while in government and he didn't talk about his party in any kind of future sense either. It was one man's ego against the climate. That works for a strong leader with charisma. 'Nuff said.
As a Conservative, it was a pleasure to listen to this interview and remember what we're up against. If I were a Liberal I'd have been cringing. I had thought the Liberals had been keeping Dion out of sight both in the House and outside it - and that this was helping their polls improve - but he escaped here. If this had been an election campaign stop the wheels would be falling off the campaign bus round about now.
As a special bonus, saving the best until last, Dion was extremely proud of his record on the protection of "endangered PCs". Who knew?