Dion taps other leadership rivals
[PoliticsWatch updated 6:00 p.m. December 19, 2006]
Liberal leader Stephane Dion moved Tuesday to mend leadership race
wounds by naming four of his former rivals to key pre-election jobs
within the party.
Speaking at a news conference in Toronto, Dion
announced that Bob Rae and Scott Brison would be
co-chairs of the party's platform development, Gerard Kennedy
will become Dion's special advisor on party renewal and election
readiness and Martha Hall Findlay will be the party's
platform outreach chair.
"I want to use their talents and their enthusiasm as much as
possible," Dion said of the other Liberals.
Of the four who were given appointments, Brison is the only one with
a seat in the House of Commons.
On Monday, Dion named Liberal MP Michael Ignatieff his deputy
Two other leadership contenders were absent from Tuesday's news
conference -- Liberal MPs Ken Dryden and Joe Volpe.
Dion said Volpe will have an undisclosed "important role within the Parliament in the
House." As for Dryden, Dion said he is too big for a title but
will play an important role for the party.
"He is the heart of our party and I will make sure he will be fully
involved," Dion said.
He also said that Dryden will be with him when he visits Winnipeg on
Dion's decision to embrace his leadership rivals is in direct
contrast to former prime minister Paul Martin, who seemed to
want to get his rivals out of cabinet and out of town.
Rae praised Dion's outreach to the other candidates and said that in
his private meetings with him since the convention he has shown "great sensitivity" to the other leadership candidates.
With the exception of Ignatieff, Dion's shadow cabinet still is not
Dion is expected to reveal his shadow cabinet in the New Year,
probably before the Liberals hold a late January caucus retreat in
The Liberal leader's "Dream Team" will have to get to work
as quickly as possible to develop and sell a new policy to Liberals
as all federal parties are in a pre-election mode.
The Bloc Quebecois has warned that it could introduce non-confidence
motions as early as February.
And on Tuesday, the Toronto Star reported that senior Tories say
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has told the finance department
to fast track preparations for a federal budget.
Budgets are usually tabled in late February or early March, but the
Tories want a budget ready to go in case the other parties decide to
pull the plug on the Parliament.
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