Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dion expected to step down Monday

Really, this time. Unless he changes his mind over the weekend, Stephane Dion has called a press conference for Monday where it's expected he will step down:
"St├ęphane Dion's short and troubled career as the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada is expected to come to an end on Monday.

Liberal insiders say that unless Mr. Dion changes his mind over the weekend, he will be stepping down, having been persuaded to show himself and his family some mercy after nearly two years of being punched around in the political arena.

Mr. Dion, who vowed in the closing days of the election campaign that "I am not a quitter," had wanted to remain opposition leader, fight for his leadership and face an automatic postelection leadership review in May.

However, during several days of secluded reflection and consultation with party officials, friends and colleagues, the 53-year-old Montreal MP was persuaded that such a battle would create turmoil in the party, would cost too much money and could fail."

It's the only reasonable course. There's no point in Dion carrying on to a leadership review that he couldn't possibly survive, at the helm of a party that's lining up behind him not in support but to push him overboard. Delaying the inevitable would only cause more disarray and damage to the Liberal brand.

The Liberals need to prove to supporters and to the electorate that they're a viable and robust party rather than rigor-mortised roadkill on the Canadian political highway. That won't happen as long as their leader is Harper's punching bag.