Félicitations, Stéphane

I’ve spent the day watching the Liberal leadership convention, and Stéphane Dion was just announced the winner of the final ballot. Those of you who have been watching as well will remember Stéphane as the “green” candidate, literally. He was the only leadership contender whose supporters weren’t using red as their primary colour.

And, of course, I want to also congratulate my former Liberal opponent Bill Graham on the completion of a very successful leadership term. I like Bill a lot, and he’s been a good MP for Toronto Centre.

Watching the leadership race of a rival political party from some other parties can be a conflicted event. On the one hand, you want the best candidate to win for the sake of the country. On the other, you can’t help but speculate on which leadership candidate might be the greater benefit to your own party.

Thankfully, we don’t have that problem (or at least not nearly as much) in the Green party. At the end of the day, what’s good for our party is good for the country, because unlike other parties, we’ve explicitly said that the implementation of our policies and the health of our democracy come first. (It’s sometimes said that we’re the only party that hopes to work itself out of existence.)

Dion, therefore, was the best choice by both measures. Not only does he have the best values and priorities of any of the Liberal leadership contenders, he’ll also be the most willing to cooperate with Green MPs. His biggest challenge, of course, is that he’s still the leader of a party that is systematically invested in the status quo. It will therefore be harder for him to change our country’s disastrous course, which is just one of the reasons why we still need new voices in parliament.

The next few months will be interesting.

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