Monday, November 27, 2006

Kennedy stands out, gets desperate

One has to admire Gerard Kennedy for taking a stand. He says he will not support the upcoming resolution saying that Quebeckers constitute a nation within a united Canada. Given the resolution now has the support of most Liberals, he's probably going to be standing out as being diferent along with a handful of MPs who say they will vote "no" -- but we do need more people, especially in Parliament, to stand on their principles. It's the same reason why I respect people currently in the legislature like Garth Turner and alumni like John Nunziata and Janice Brown.

The Liberal Convention begins in just two days in Montréal, and "Steve" Harper's bombshell announcement last week forced the Liberals to think fast on their feet.

And while I supported Kennedy at the delegate selection for reasons entirely unconnected to the "nation" stance first proposed by Michael Ignatieff earlier this year, one has to wonder how much traction he has left. His French is adequate enough for conversational tête-à-têtes, but it's not good enough for the bureaucratic and commercial French that is essential to getting things done in Ottawa. That may explain his lacklustre support in Québec. If he defies kismet and pulls off a victory, or even if he doesn't, he desperately needs to get into a crash course to get up to speed.

That being said, it takes guts to say what Kennedy has said. We kind of expect the same kind of talk from Trudeau's kids as we have heard the last week. But many associate "Trudeau" with the past. This is the present, and Kennedy may have put his finger on what might end up a tangled mess. Personally I have no problem with the resolution as currently written. But Kennedy may have found his ace in the hole, the chip that may make him kingmaker on a second or third ballot.

On the other hand, some may see it as an act of desperation. Would any potential winner be willing to accept his entreaties and at what price? Or will Kennedy just lead a charge of delegates who walk off the convention floor in disgust? Either way, Saturday's vote is far from certain now.

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