Reports emerging from Montreal Saturday said Janine Krieber, the wife of deposed federal Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, had posted to her Facebook account a scathing commentary about her husband’s replacement at the helm of Canada’s former Natural Governing Party.
Michael Ignatieff, that person, has since his successful palace coup in December 2008 led the once great national party down to 23 per cent in the polls from 26 per cent under Mr. Dion. This is a remarkable achievement, given that the person Mr. Ignatieff must inevitably be compared with is Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a man with all the charm of a dyspeptic badger.
“Dion’s wife goes rogue?” the Globe and Mail wondered in its Ottawa Notebook blog, which reprinted Ms. Krieber’s entire Facebook comment in its original French and also provided a convenient if clunky English translation for those of us who are, as Dear Oscar once observed, condamné à parler la langue de Shakespeare.
So, has she “gone rogue”? Far from it. Gone rouge more like! Leastways, what she had to say made sense – even if it had disappeared down the memory hole by mid-day Saturday – and needed to be said. It may even forecast the best way forward. So if indeed this statement is evidence she has “gone rogue” – a la Sarah Palin, an obvious reference for our U.S. obsessed media – it is a sorry commentary on the pathetic state of the once great Liberal Party of Canada.
Ms. Krieber speaks a profound truth when she states that “by refusing the historic coalition that would have placed (the Liberal Party) at the helm of the left, it will be punished by history.”
It gripes me to this day that Mr. Harper and his dittohead supporters managed to persuade Canadians that the coalition idea – a profound expression of the will of Canadians through our elected Parliament – was somehow “undemocratic.” It was the opposite, of course. Meanwhile, the unprecedented and unconstitutional prorogation of Parliament to prevent a vote of non-confidence by the elected members of the House of Commons was absurdly portrayed as an expression of democracy.
Had Canadian democracy not been suspended in the scheme hatched between the prime minister and the governor general, Canadians would have had about three years of stable and sensible policies from a democratically elected coalition of moderate Liberals and New Democrats. It is not much of a stretch to imagine that such a government could have been re-elected.
It is a national disgrace that last December’s suspension of the Constitution produced barely a whisper of dissent, let alone the “colour revolution” it deserved!
Shamefully, Ms. Krieber’s voice is almost the first one we have heard on this topic.
Mr. Ignatieff, of course, fled from the coalition idea, imagining to the joy of Mr. Harper and his supporters that he could somehow have all the glory himself. We see the results of that miscalculation in the polls cited yesterday by Ms. Krieber.
In the context of the current Afghanistan torture scandal dogging the Conservatives, she questions if a sometime intellectual apologist for torture like Mr. Ignatieff is the right man to speak for the majority of Canadians at this juncture, when the leader of the government so manifestly does not.
Of Mr. Harper and his unprogressive Conservatives, she said: “They are, slowly, like any dictatorship, changing the world. Torture doesn’t exist, corruption is a fabrication.” She then asked, sensibly: “Do we really have the right leader to discuss these questions?”
Ms. Krieber concluded, in the Globe’s awkward sounding translation: “I am starting a serious reflection. I will not give my voice to a party that will end up in the trashcan of history. I am looking around me, and certain things are attractive. Like a dedicated party that doesn’t challenge its leader at every hiccup in the polls. A party where the rule would be the principle of pleasure, and not assassination. A party where work ethic and competence would be respected and where smiles would be real. Maybe I’m not dreaming.”
Does she have a particular party in mind? The Canadian Press describes this comment as cryptic. Maybe it’s not so cryptic, though. And maybe she isn’t dreaming, seeing as there is a party in Parliament right now that fits the bill.
We spend a lot of time out here in Alberta gossiping about potential floor-crossers in the House. But maybe we’re talking about the wrong legislature? Maybe it’s time for Ms. Krieber’s husband, who is still the honorable member for Saint-Laurent-Cartierville after all, and four or 10 of his Parliamentary colleagues to make the long walk to the party of the centre-left that is not going to end up in the trashcan of history?
They could even dress in black if they like!