An early favourite for Liberal leadership

I’m impressed by a quote from Stéphane Dion in today’s Globe and Mail. The article discusses four potential candidates for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada:  Dion, John Godfrey, Carolyn Bennett, and Scott Brison:

Potential candidates for the Liberal leadership are beginning to stake out the central policy positions for their bids, as they seek to attract enough organizational and financial support to make it possible to enter the race. …

Recent leadership races have seen candidates line up money and organizers and wait to unveil policy ideas later. But in a wide-open race expected to see more than a half-dozen serious entrants, some are talking about core policy concerns earlier.

All four of the potential candidates emphasize environmental issues. John Godfrey explains, “I think it’s up to us as the Liberal Party to grab this agenda, to show that we’re clearly different in our approach than the Conservatives, to win back the votes we lost to the NDP, to the Greens, and to the Bloc.”

But Stéphane Dion demonstrates an awareness of other issues as well:

Mr. Dion, 50, argued that the Liberals have traditionally had success combining social and economic development, but that sustainable development must become the “third pillar.”

“It’s not just the environment. It’s all industrial activity — agriculture, fisheries, forests, innovation — and universities, so that we have a hyper-educated population in the face of a China, which produces 300,000 engineers a year,” he said.

I’m still curious about Michael Ignatieff as another potential candidate, but I’ll pick Dion as my early favourite for the job. The issue that he identifies here, developing the skills necessary to compete in a truly global economy, is vital if Canada is to remain prosperous. Dion describes sustainable development as “the most important issue for the next generations.”

I also believe that the federal government must be led by someone who can push back on the provinces with their never-ending demands. No one else can point to a track record like that of Dion, who regularly and effectively rebutted the specious arguments of Quebec sovereigntists during the Chrétien era.

Imagine a federal election debate in which Harper and Dion square off against each other. The next election might actually turn on substantive policy issues:  what a novel concept!


3 thoughts on “An early favourite for Liberal leadership

  1. In 1972 a group of scientists were commissioned to do a report on the world environment to the Club of Rome. The team concluded that in approximately 100 years, the earth would have serious ecological breakdowns that would endanger all species on earth, including our own. subsequently this was turned into a book entitled “Limits To Growth” which linked the economy and the environment.

    From this the concept of sustainable development was produced, the standard definition being “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

    Any Prime Minister that understands this and supports it will get my vote.

    I agree with Q to simply think of Sustainable development as an environmental problem as the other candidates seem to does not recognize the entire threat, and thus the extent of the solution proposed by through sustainable development.

    It involves economics industry resources finance and much much more.

  2. It would be nice to have an administration in office (anywhere) that recognizes not ALL environmental issues are cut and dried. There should always be room for reasonable and advantageous compromise on many fronts.

    It’s the one’s who repeatedly object to any compromise that make their green position seem so silly.

    So hope the CA Lib’s can rally around and support such a leader. Will not hold my breath, though.

  3. Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

    This is the best compromise I have seen.

    Because for industry it deals with production as much as the environment. It forces us to consider the future as part of the cost of production, and thus overcomes the so called limits of Growth.

    For the greens it ensures that resources will not be used indiscriminately.

    For both present and future generations of world citizens it ensures a more comfortable future.

    I may lean left and tread a somewhat green path but I drive a car and eat red meat, so I won’t be out in front of parliament protesting the rights of the cow, or riding my bike 25 kms to work each morning.

    The whole debate over Kyoto however will have to wait for a new post as I am a bit behind on my reading on Kyoto.

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