This article about the Quebec byelections describes the Liberal campaign debacle:
Last night’s three byelections were the first that Dion had to face since he became Liberal leader last December and many — both inside the Liberal party and outside of it — saw the byelections as a test of his ability to bring the Liberals back to power and to deliver Quebec. In the end, not only did the party lose one of the few safe ridings it has left in Quebec, but it polled in the single digits in the two other . . .Well, if they are, it won't take much.
Fueling the discontent even more was an article published over the weekend in which unnamed Liberal supporters of Dion and Michael Ignatieff traded barbs over whether the poor campaign was the result of incompetence, or of sabotage by Ignatieff supporters trying to undermine Dion’s leadership.
Because there's not much Dion leadership to undermine.
Dion's leadership so far has been nothing more than the Peter Principle in action -- first, he did a great job as Environment minister in convincing Canadians about the importance of taking global warming seriously, then he demonstrated great consensus-building skills in that UN environment conference in Montreal, then he ran a great leadership campaign... but it's been almost a year, and Dion just hasn't taken it to the next level.
He become the kind of politician who opens his mouth to change feet. When he says anything at all.
Several over at Liblogs are predicting the Liberals won't want a general election until 2009, because of these by-election results. But Harper will now be itching to go this fall, and so will the NDP -- if they can find or create a winning issue.
Luckily, Senate reform isn't it.
Senate reform would win top prize as the most boring topic in the history of the world, if anyone could stay awake long enough to write up the nomination.
But Harper's position on most issues is actually going to lose him votes -- when it comes to Afghanistan, climate change, customs union, softwood lumber, security partnership, etc., a majority of Canadians tend to support the "liberal" position, whether small-l or large-l.
This makes it all the more infuriating to see the Liberals being led so poorly right now. Because all we have to defend our progressive Canada from a majority government of Harper Conservatives are the Dion Liberals.