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The long goodbye

Posted by padams under All, Media Commentary, Political Strategy

Paul Adams

Paul Adams is blogging the federal Liberal convention in Vancouver this weekend.

Last night’s tribute to Stéphane Dion began after 11:00 p.m. central time, presumably so that the majority of Canadians living east of Thunder Bay were unlikely even to stumble across it by accident.

A little earlier, Jean Chrétien had given a rollicking partisan speech, whose centre-piece was a riff on Stephen Harper’s absence from the “family photo” at the recent G-20 meeting, reportedly because he was in the bathroom.


Chrétien wows the crowd

Chrétien wows the crowd



This speech set a standard that nothing in the program to follow remotely matched.

There was the usual video tribute to the outgoing leader, followed by a speech by Paul Martin, more energetic than memorable. Michael Ignatieff also spoke briefly before Dion himself.

Dion’s speech was reminder to the roughly 2000 Liberals in the room, and the dwindling audience of those watching on CPAC, of why he is so widely regarded as a decent human being and a terrible politician. It was long (more than 30 minutes), earnest, hectoring, replete with a reference to Schopenauer, and utterly uncontaminated with applause lines.

After Dion finished, the Liberals for some reason had scheduled a further extensive program, including a speech by former Supreme Court Justice and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour.

But Arbour spoke to a nearly empty room — or so we are left to presume, since most of the media had also long since filed their stories and left the building.

Paul Adams, a former political correspondent for the CBC and Globe and Mail, is a member of Carleton’s journalism faculty and executive director of EKOS Research Associates. He is researching a book on the Liberal Party.


Dion hammers home a point

Dion hammers home a point