Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion said this election is crucial to his future, as well as the country’s, on tonight’s installment of Canada’s most watched talk show, Tout le monde en parle, on Radio-Canada television.
The show, a must-see in Quebec with about 1.5 million viewers every Sunday, like many talk shows in France, hosts numerous guests around a table in a very brightly-lit, modern studio.
Dion, whose party is struggling in the polls across the country, and particularly in Quebec, was reminded by host Guy Lepage that the election is crucial for the future of the country. “But isn’t it for you as well?” he asked.
“Yes,” Dion replied solemnly. “It’s the fight of my life.”
Dion had a couple of good moments during the show, despite looking a bit like a deer in the headlights.
When Lepage told him that the public is having trouble understanding his “Green Shift” plan, a centerpiece of the Liberal platform, he offered Dion 60 seconds to explain it.
“Cut income taxes, shift to pollution,” he said. It’s a line he’s used more often recently, but Lepage seemed to like it: “And you still have 55 seconds!”
Dion also scored points when he spoke of strategic voting and the need for progressive forces to unite behind the Liberals. In Quebec, he said, while it might be fine to vote for the Bloc Quebecois as a protest against Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a vote for the Liberals is a step toward replacing him – something the Bloc could never do.
The ever sober-looking Dion managed to elicit a laugh from the audience when Lepage asked him, in English, whether his poor command of English would be a problem in the English debate. “I don’t understand,” Dion replied with a grin.