Yes I was very disappointed by the by-election losses in Quebec on Monday. Congrats to the NDP on their second-ever Quebec win. We'll see if it holds in the general election (the last Quebec NDP by-election victory in 1990 didn't exactly translate into new Quebec support in the subsequent federal election.)
No doubt, the loss in Outremont will serve as a wake-up call to both Liberal leader Stephane Dion and the party as a whole. I don't buy the allegations that supporters of other failed leadership candidates deliberately sabotaged efforts in Outremont.
But the badly run campaign (apparently Liberal signs didn't show up in Outremont until September, almost a month after NDP signs went up) shows much work needs to be done to get the party's organizational structure fixed. I'm sure Dion knows that now.
Stephane Dion was never a natural politician. His areas of strength have always been in policy and driving the country forward in government, not organizing a well-oiled by-election effort. But Dion has also shown a remarkable ability to adapt, to take on new challenges and re-invent himself. Leadership of the party is the greatest challenge he will ever face, and I'm confident that Dion will view the losses as a chance to improve.
Even the conservative media is coming to the defence of Dion, which says a lot. Check out today's columns by Greg Weston in the Sun and John Moore in the National Post.
And while you're at it, check out this letter in the Montreal Gazette from a voter in Outremont. Very revealing.