Craig Scott, a law professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and former NDP MP for Toronto-Danforth, has written a scathing attack on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Toronto Star for his handling of Stéphane Dion. M Dion is, Professor Scott argues, “a great Canadian who busted a gut fighting for this country’s unity, who bravely took an early lead in advocating the need for a Great Greenshift, who generally served as a model of decency and integrity in our political life, and who was actually performing strongly as foreign minister notwithstanding the poison chalice of the Saudi arms deal handed to him by the PMO.” I don’t know if I would go quite that far: M Dion does deserve our respect and gratitude for his work against the Quebec separatists and for giving us the Clarity Act; but his green shift, proposed when he was Liberal leader in 2008 was both bad policy and bad politics.
I always thought of M. Dion as a man ill suited to the rough and tumble of partisan politics and a man too inclined to “over-think” too many issues, perhaps those are the character “flaws” of successful academics. But I also saw him as a fundamentally decent, if often misguided man, and I agree with Professor Scott that Justin Trudeau and Team Trudeau treated him shabbily, to say the least. So, farewell, M Dion. I thank you for your service to your country and I wish you had been able to leave the political stage under better, more gentlemanly, circumstances; but perhaps it runs in the family because the way Pierre Trudeau treated his predecessor, Lester B Pearson, was also shabby.
Adieu M. Dion, and merci and bonne chance, and to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: a loud, rude raspberry, as written by Craig Scott is both in order and well deserved.