Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dion the Invisible Green Man.

This is from National Post Blogs.

This is the reward that Dion receives for his service to the Liberal Party: oblivion. The same fate is in the store for Dion's Green Shift. It has been replaced by the Ignatieff Tar Sands Promotion Plan.

Steve Janke: Dion absent from Ignatieff's shadow cabinet
Posted: January 23, 2009, 12:35 PM by Kelly McParland

The Liberal Party critics list is out, and I've reproduced it here:
Liberal Opposition Critics Michael Ignatieff - Intergovernmental Affairs John McCallum - Finance Bob Rae - Foreign Affairs Denis Coderre - Defence and Quebec Lieutenant David McGuinty - Environment & Energy Carolyn Bennett - Health Marc Garneau - Industry, Science & Technology Mark Holland - Public Safety & National Security Geoff Regan - Natural Resources Dominic LeBlanc - Justice and Attorney-General Scott Brison - International Trade Martha Hall Findlay - Public Works and Government Services Todd Russell - Indian Affairs Larry Bagnell - Arctic Issues & Northern Development Joe Volpe - Transport Gerard Kennedy - Infrastructure, Communities and Cities Maurizio Bevilacqua - Citizenship & Immigration Judy Sgro - Veterans Affairs, Seniors & Pensions Yasmin Ratansi - National Revenue Gerry Byrne - Fisheries & Oceans Jean-Claude D'Amours - Atlantic Gateway and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Pablo Rodriguez - Canadian Heritage & Official Languages Maria Minna - Labour Dan McTeague - Treasury Board, Consumer Affairs and Consular Affairs Mike Savage - Human Resources & Skills Development Anita Neville - Status of Women Wayne Easter - Agriculture, Agri-food and Canadian Wheat Board Sukh Dhaliwal - Asia-Pacific Gateway & Western Economic Development Ruby Dhalla - Youth & Multiculturalism Keith Martin - Amateur Sport, Health Promotion and the Vancouver Olympics Alexandra Mendes - Economic Development Agency for Regions of Quebec Glen Pearson - International Cooperation Raymonde Folco - La Francophonie Ken Dryden - National Outreach Advisor, Working Families & Poverty Special Liason, National Fundraising
Yup, Stephane Dion is gone.
The author of the clarity act is not Intergovernmental Affairs critic. Instead, Michael Ignatieff is doing that job himself.
Pablo Rodriguez is critic for Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, which the news release states recognizes "the importance of cultural strengthening our national unity."
The Liberal Party's greenest leader who offered the Green Shift to Canadians in order to save the planet is not environmental critic. That job goes to David McGuinty of Ontario.
I'd say it was a fair chance that Stephane Dion turned down a position as critic instead of not being offered a position. But I strongly suspect that if Dion was offered a critic's post, it wasn't in intergovernmental affairs or the environment. It would have been in something completely unconnected to either, something harmless and unimportant. I would guess Transport, since it was given to Joe Volpe, who has never held a cabinet post related to transportation (though it was his critic post under Stephane Dion), suggesting that Ignatieff had no strong feelings with regards to who had this critic's post, and is using it as a generic reward of little importance.
Dion would have turned Transport down, according to my theory, quite possibly to Michael Ignatieff's relief. Immediately, that critic's post reverted back to Joe Volpe.
Maybe it was a different critic post that was offered. Or, as some no doubt suspect, Stephane Dion was not offered anything whatsoever.
There is the possibility that Dion wanted no post at all, and made that clear before Ingatieff started compiling his list, but that seems odd to me, given Dion's passion for the environment. You'd think that if he really thought Canada's 2% contribution to greenhouse gas emissions was going to roast the planet, he'd fight to keep a hand in there.
And not just because of his own feelings on the issue, but because of the alliance he built with the Green Party.
Dion's banishment (willing or otherwise) from the centre of Liberal Party power and decision-making puts the Green Party under Elizabeth May back on the farthest fringes of Canadian political relevance. I'm speculating here, but I would think that any information flowing between the Liberal Party and the Green Party went through Stephane Dion. I think that if Elizabeth May had an advocate inside the Liberal Party, either for adopting Green Party policies or for making future formal electoral alliances or for arranging for May to be appointed to the Senate, that advocate was Stephane Dion. Dion would be the only Liberal proposing a strategy of presenting a Liberal platform skewed heavily to the green in order to scoop up votes from Green Party supporters (with the approval of May, much to the consternation of Green Party candidates).I'd be surprised if Michael Ignatieff supported having Elizabeth May in the next leaders debate. That was a Dion thing. The Liberals aren't doing that anymore.
Update: Some of the comments make note that Ralph Goodale is not on the list. That's because Ralph Goodale is House Leader, which is not a critic position:

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