Garth then went to a power point presentation that was well done and I was so grateful to see that within it, he points out the costs of the Conservative plan, (the $65.00/tonne estimate) and points out that it is being hidden from the public because it too will increase the cost of various fuels, but the Con's will offer no tax relief.
He then went on to introduce Dion, which you can see here, courtesy of Garth's blog.
The evening went well and was by no means attended only by Liberals. There were a couple of climate change deniers who posed questions and others who were not in denial, but still cynical about the plan. Dion doesn't flinch at any question he is asked. He moves easily from topic to topic and while in a setting like this, his answers are sometimes more general than one would prefer, he doesn't do the 'evasive' political thing that we so often see. In fact, Turner kept telling him to he was too long winded, to which Dion laughed. Nor does he molly coddle those who disagree with him. He'll respectfully tell them that they are entitled to their own view but point out why he thinks they're wrong.
I left with a sense that the Liberal party has it's platform ready and in spite of all the speculating by the media, that Dion has a caucus that is solidly behind him and his platform.
What struck me the most however, is what this election will really be about. Oh sure, the talking points will be the economy and the environment, but it really is shaping up to be a contest between how Dion does politics and how that contrasts with Harper. Harper and his team have shown no indication that they are going to do anything but play dirty and continue producing misleading attack ads, etc. Dion on the other hand is presenting a vision of Canada that is prepared to deal with what lies ahead and to be honest about what that is.
The contrast will be stark and there is no way of knowing which style will win in the end, but outside of the 30% that support Harper, I've seen little evidence that Canadians are prepared to close their eyes to the facts and not seek solutions to what is our economic and environmental reality.
Two quick final points. I, along with many other blogger's participated in a conference call with Dion this week. He was open, honest and generous with his time and responses even when strategy was asked about. It was clear that he wants to engage as many people as he can.
Then this morning, I heard him interviewed on a right wing radio program. Other than speaking over Dion, the host was initially pretty cordial and even went as far as to say that he thinks Dion has the upper hand here, because he's set the agenda, not Harper. Toward the end, he challenged Dion on his strategy of not defeating the government earlier. Not once, not twice, but in as many ways as he could find but Dion wasn't backing down and in fact, I sensed that the more you fight him, the more determined he becomes in arguing his case. I'd say that is the professor in him and while not your typical politician, something tells me that is a great advantage.
I'll leave you with a few more shots, with my apologies as to the quality of all of those I've included. Unfortunately in the rush to get there, I forgot my zoom lens and additional flash.
Finishing up the Media Scrum