SOME DAY, history will get around to passing judgment on Stephane Dionís turbulent time as leader of the Liberal party. And on that day, perhaps weíll all have a better sense of who the man is and what he offered Canada.
Maybe weíll even see the side of Dion that briefly came to light during the English leadersí debate, when he had one of the best impromptu campaign pitches in years: more fun for Canadians.
During the segment of the debate on arts funding, Dion promised that a Liberal cultural policy would lead to "more movies, more music, more theatre: more fun!" He had a big smile on his face.
I donít know about you, but with just days to go before the election and the economy ready to implode, I was thrilled to hear a national political leader call for more fun. Itís about time.
Lately, fun has been as rare as jazz dancers at a Tory barbecue, and Dion hasnít had much himself. His greatest moment as leader was the day he got elected by his bewildered party, his band of smart-alec green Liberals triumphing over the party apparatus.
But itís been a rough ride ever since. There was muttering from the camps of leadership rivals Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae, unrest in the ranks of normally faithful Liberals and frustration at Dionís failure to connect with Canadians.
Fearing a calamity in an election, Dion shied away from confrontation with Stephen Harper in Parliament. He compromised, improvised, temporised, all the while knowing the axe had to fall some day.