I would like to initiate some discussion about Stephane Dion. I do not see much reason for optimism about his economic policies, but am interested in reading alternative views.
After observing that many progressive Canadians seem supportive of Dion, Murray Dobbin convincingly argues that a Liberal majority government would not be more progressive than the current government.
However, even Dobbin seems relatively positive about the new Liberal leader, suggesting that â€œDion is genuinely to the left of recent Liberal leaders and he has no ties to Bay Street.â€ He characterizes Dionâ€™s platform as â€œa strong (government guided) economy, sustainable development and social justice.â€ I am not sure on what basis Dobbin inserts â€œgovernment guidedâ€ into Dionâ€™s â€˜three pillarsâ€™.
Jim Stanford wrote a column on what â€œDion economicsâ€ might look like. Jim articulated a very progressive economic agenda, but is there any reason to believe that Dion would implement such an agenda?
The only grounds for optimism seem to be that Dion has said very little about economics and some good things about the environment. However, unless Dion says something different about economics, we have to assume that he accepts the right-wing orthodoxy of the governments in which he was a cabinet minister. Dionâ€™s legacy as environment minister was a bunch of bogus voluntary programs.
There are significant grounds for pessimism. In the last three parliamentary votes on anti-scab legislation, Dion opposed it twice and did not vote once. During the Liberal leadership race, he sneered that â€œthe NDP do not understand the market economyâ€ and defended the â€œcompassionâ€ of Paul Martinâ€™s 1995 budget cuts.