Has the media love affair with Dion already begun?

First, Kate McMillan and Bob Tarantino rout out a suspicious Dion friendly source used by CP.

Next, Lawrence Martin the Globe and Mail scribe, former Chretien biographer (two books…one was written under duress), and a man paid over $6000 by Liberal governments for two speaking jobs gives new Liberal leader Stephane Dion the highest of praises, and apologizes for one of Dion’s recent flip-flops (my comments in bold):

There is a suspicion out there that Stéphane Dion is a man of honour, a politician of dignity with true character. (there’s only one thing I’m suspicious of at this point Mr. Martin, and it’s not Dion)

True character is the reverse of trying to be all things to all people. It means not seeking others’ approval. (Lawrence never wrote any biographies about Paul Martin, you’ll note) When, as a political leader, you stop doing that, and just be the essential you, people want some of what you’ve got, some of that core. You’re the magnetic field. (oh captain, my captain!)

But politics is about selling, reaching out, pandering. (first hints of apology) And so here was St├ęphane Dion in his first week as Liberal leader, already in the grip of the ugly claws of the enterprise(the grip!… the ugly claws, poor Stephane!). He was faced with a middling controversy over whether he should maintain his dual French citizenship. It was a sensitive issue for him, one that cut to his heart and, in responding, he got testy. (I’ll make full disclosure for Lawrence Martin here… the Globe and Mail scribe is a dual citizen too)

His answer was sound enough (of course…), but he couldn’t help thinking of the political equation. Well, if maintaining my French citizenship loses me votes, he said, he might have to reconsider. In other words, let’s cast aside the principle involved here and make a decision on the basis of politics.

That wasn’t the man of honour talking. It was hardly the new politics. It was an example of him looking over his shoulder, seeing the dark shadow of pollsters in pursuit, about to smother the light within. (dark forces made Dion do it. Dion is made of pure light, by the way)

Martin then contrasts “honour” with big bad Stephen Harper:

Stephen Harper has an impressive skill set. He had a chance, himself, to bring more honour to governance. But since the opening bell when he elevated a floor-crosser and an unelected senator to his Cabinet, he has shown himself to be a leader whose abiding imperative is political opportunism (wow…). His Senate reform, announced yesterday, which would allow voters at last some say in Senate appointments, is a step forward that he need not have framed in the context of political partisanship. His brazen approach in this regard has cost him, as voters, turned off by this kind of politics, have responded with declining approval ratings. (brazen, turned off, declining!)

Hence the Dion opening is all the greater. The Leader of the Opposition must find a way to resist the temptation to respond in kind to the cheap attacks and slanders. To succeed, to avoid being dragged down into the brothel, the rules of engagement are many: He must be a champion of principle. He must remain stoic, keeping the level of discourse high and noble, holding to his true character (wow…). He must, while letting other caucus members tackle the seamy questions, be seen as frequently as possible with the other tower of integrity in the Liberal thicket, Ken Dryden.

It’s not difficult to figure out how Lawrence Martin votes.

Finally, when Dion named Ignatieff as the deputy of the opposition Liberal Party, it made the front page of the Globe and Mail. When Stephen Harper named Carol Skelton as deputy leader of the opposition Alliance party in 2003, no such fanfare from the Globe. However, it did make page A10 of the National Post!

UPDATE: You may have read in Macleans that Susan Delacourt and Greg Weston were snubbed from the PM’s media Christmas party. I’m also hearing that Delacourt, after her invite was “lost in the mail”, was trying to lobby her fellow PPG members to boycott the PM’s party. UPDATE: The pro-Delacourt camp assures me that this isn’t true!

Western Standard Party

While hanging out with fellow Manning conservatives this weekend, Ezra Levant told me about a little party that he was having on Sunday night for the ‘founders’ of the magazine. “Oh, and by the way” he said, “Lord Black of Crossharbour is going to be there.”

Well, no matter who you are (except perhaps Lord Black), that’s an intriguing guest list already.

As it turned out, there were a few other intriguing people at the small and intimate party (about 25 people) which was located in a suite at the Sutton Place Hotel.

I met fellow Blogging Tories Steve “you don’t look Angry” Janke and Bob Tarantino who both brought their charming better halves.

Journalists in attendance included the witty and lovely Rondi Adamson, fellow youngster Michael Taube, our over-worked host Ezra Levant and of course, National Post favourite Andrew Coyne.

Regular freedom fighter (or is that “fighter for freedom”) Gerry Nicholls also made an appearance.

Even CPC party MP Jason Kenney was in attendance. I asked Jason if he wanted to do a podcast one day. “Pot-cast?!” he asked shocked, “You want me to do pot?” Of course, I thought this was funny, so I shot back “I’m game if you are”. Hopefully Jason and I will spark up a conversation one day (to be available in downloadable syndicated MP3 format). I’ll bring the salty snacks.

Some old friends were in attendance as well including Michael Moore plaintiff Kaz Nejatian, Toronto CPC candidate Michael “pull the goalie” Mostyn, and my grade school friend Peter Kroll. My new pal Tasha Kheiriddin was also in attendance charming fellow party guests and promoting her exciting new book.

I had a chance to meet the controversial Lord Black and found him to be surprisingly talkative and I noticed that he still had his trademark streetfighter style. We chatted about the newspaper business and the evolution of the medium. I told him that I represented a group of online “citizen journalists”. He laughed and said that anything could be better than the paid ones.

Some say Lord Black is a hero of the Canadian right for how he provided a real opposition in the press to Liberal governments. However, minority shareholders of his companies have felt abused for years by his business practices. I found Lord Black to be a nice guy (from our 5 minute chat), however, I never invested in Hollinger.

Party guests drank Albertan Trad and Grasshopper, munched on veggies and dip and tried to look natural in front of Ezra’s professional photographer (expect to see us on the “Society Page” of the Western Standard next month). Ezra is one of the hardest working people in Canadian conservatism and I’m glad that he has a lot of fun doing it.

Pictures appear in the extended entry (click the “Continue Reading ‘Western Standard Party'” link below)

Continue reading Western Standard Party