Here’s a bit of friendly advice to the Canadian Liberal Party: It’s not about more money. You can’t buy vision with more money. More money will not guarantee that the leader listens to advisers, or has the savvy to make hay out of unforeseen circumstances. Money also won’t buy a party united behind the leader; I could hear Michael Ignatieff grinding his teeth all the way across the Canadian Shield.
Announcing this afternoon that he is stepping down, Stéphane Dion said, “I still think that if we would have been equipped to explain why I’m fighting for my country, what kind of leader I would have been, what kind of prime minister I would have been and what kind of policy we’re proposing, we would have won this election and we would have today a much better government than the one we have,” and “It has been a mistake to go ahead with the Green Shift because we are not equipped to explain what it was”.
By “equipped” M. Dion means more campaign funds. But he had the attention of the Canadian media, and a number of bloggers for five weeks. In our household, we heard news reports just about hourly on CBC radio about each of the parties, including the Liberals. The nightly news, CBC and CTV, covered each of the parties, including the Liberals. All of the news outlets had strong online presences with up-to-the minute updates. Did M. Dion make the most of the free coverage? Honestly, no. Indeed, it was a mistake to go ahead with the Green Shift because the Liberals weren’t able or equipped in any sense to explain what it was.
However, if by “equipped” the Liberals mean instead a vision and a clear message, and the ability to stay on message, as well as flexibility and being able to think on their feet when presented with the virtual gift of an economic crisis and an incumbent Prime Minister who’s not nearly as warm and fuzzy as he thinks he is, then they just might be on to something.
And that advice, my friends, is free.