The Liberals have a good day

There's no question the federal Liberal party and its national caucus is going through some difficult days. Some MPs and Liberal insiders are bitterly upset with their leader Stephane Dion and there is broad disagreement within the caucus over strategy and timing to force an election.

But for all that, there is the odd good day, as I wrote today.

Yesterday, a radiant, beaming Martha Hall Findlay finally walked into the House of Commons as a Member of Parliament. I was sitting in the press gallery above the Speaker's chair and Findlay's smile as she entered the Commons at the other end of the Chamber was as bright as a beacon. Joyce Murray, who won a squeaker in Vancouver Quadra — squeakers aren't supposed to happen to Liberals in that riding, heightening concern some Liberals already had about Dion — looked thrilled if a bit overawed on her entry.

And Bob Rae looked like he was putting on a comfortable sweater he hadn't seen in years. There are politicians who, no matter what they do, just have an aura of leadership about them. Rae is one of them. Ignatieff might be another. Dion, not so much. At least not so much in the House.

But at a short campaign-style rally/party the Liberals held in a bar on Elgin Street in Ottawa tonight to welcome their new MPs, Dion looks so much more comfortable. Unlike Stephen Harper who, in Opposition, was cold and lifeless in front of crowds or 1,000 or 10, Dion is a much better politician outside the House of Commons. He's got a good wit; he's self-deprecating; and he can be quick on his feet. Some Liberal MPs, in fact, suggested that maybe he ought to spend more time outside the House, building the party, and less time worrying about preparing for Question Period.

By and large, Liberals tonight seemed festive and in good spirits. Some MPs I spoke to are clearly worried about a campaign, worried they'll be able to motivate their campaign workers, and worried how they're leader will perform.

But that's for another day, a day that may not come until the fall of 2009. For the Liberal caucus, with three new MPs, today and yesterday were good days.

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2 thoughts on “The Liberals have a good day”

  1. Nice to see you are keeping your “journalistic” integrity by not getting too emotionally involved with the liberals.
    Way to go.
    P.S. Why not do a nice mussy story about how two conservative members of parliament, met and fell in love?? Oh…yeah that would not portray the “right message” you reporters like to weave about conservatives. Come to think of it….lets hear more mush about the liberals.

  2. It's nice that the Liberals could have a party and pretend they are happy. Isn't it interesting… you couldn't even make a glowing comment about the Liberals without dragging Stephen Harper down.
    Do you think for one moment I care whether Harper or Dion for that matter can smooze at a cocktail party? There are many of we ordinary Canadians who could not do it either.
    I want my politican and the leader of my country to be decisive, have integrity, deal with issues quickly and in the best interest of the country.
    Instead of worrying about Dion and his ability to smooze determine whether he has the qualities of a leader. He certainly doesn't evidence it.
    Of course when he is buying you drinks I guess you have to say something nice.

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