Monday, December 04, 2006


On Saturday I suggested the apparent Dion-Kennedy alliance harked back to the great Canadian political partnerships of Baldwin-Lafontaine, Macdonald-Cartier, Laurier-Sifton, and King-Lapointe.

Hours later Andrew Potter noticed the same theme.

Today, in the Toronto Star, Thomas Axworthy has picked up the meme.

Like the Robert Baldwin-Louis Lafontaine alliance of reformers in the 19th century, the Dion-Kennedy compact shifted the centre of gravity in the party and, if they continue to work together, may do so in the country.
Now, Dion and Kennedy have a very long way to go and massive accomplishments ahead of them if they are to deserve comparison to Baldwin-Lafontaine and the other historic pairs. Baldwin-Lafontaine established responsible government along with the intellectual and administrative foundations of modern Canada; Macdonald and Cartier's vision and action united the colonies of British North America into one nation; Laurier and Sifton secured the West by orchestrating the largest migration in Canadian history; King and Lapointe lead Canada through the Depression and the Second World War.

The Dion and Kennedy alliance is only suggestive of those past partnerships. While I think their ascendancy does indicate a new era for the Liberal party, they have significant work ahead of them if they are to truly deserve comparison with the great leadership partnerships of Canada's past.

Update, several minutes later, after a quick Google search:

Counterweights has also made the historical comparison, and incidentally, back on November 17th suggested that a Kennedy-Dion alliance could defeat Iggy and Rae. This looks like a blog I may be reading more of.

They also remind us of the Mackenzie-Papineau partnership. Mackenzie and Papineau are probably best known for their mini-revolution and failed coup against the governments of the Canadas in 1837-38. It could be argued however that they got the responsible government ball rolling whence it was picked up by Baldwin-Lafontaine who carried it to its more moderate and thoughtful (typically Canadian) conclusion.

Posted by Matthew @ 9:39 a.m.