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Stéphane Dion is a fighter on Liberal TV, despite wanting Canadian troops to have a non-combat role in Afghanistan. Not…

By Jessica Smith , in A podium and a mic Blogs , on February 9, 2008

Stéphane Dion is a fighter on Liberal TV, despite wanting Canadian troops to have a non-combat role in Afghanistan.

Not a sneering comment from a right-winger on the liberal bias of media, Liberal TV is video-on-demand on the federal Liberal’s website. There is just over two years worth of posts, each a short video that encapsulate the Liberal position on an issue.

The most recent addition is the Liberal position on Afghanistan, posted February 7, after Dion and Michael Ignatieff’s return from Afghanistan. It is complied of short clips, beginning with a media scrum.

In the first bite, Dion sounds a bit like a school marm asking Canadian troops to respect propriety the rules.

“We don’t want the extension of the combat mission after 2009, we don’t think it’s good for the mission. When a country comes to a country with a combat mission with a time line, the time line must be respected. This being said we want to play a role after,” he said.

It’s unfortunate, because I think he could have made a strong point, something along the lines of ‘if we stay fighting longer than we promised the Afghanis we would, how can they know we’re there for peace instead of occupation?’ But that’s just my opinion, it may not be Dion’s.

Fortunately for him it gets better.

“Security, training, development, to do something about this narco economy, a lot of roles to play. When we went there, Mr. Ignatieff and I, we have seen how much Canada may have a lot of possibilities as a role, but a combat mission,” he said.

Slightly broken English does not detract from the force Dion spoke that with. In fact, that he speeds up and lets go of the careful consideration of words that often hinders him, he seems to believe what he’s saying and be genuinely passionate. I find it a little thrilling. There should be more of that in politics.

After a clip on explaining that a non-combat role would still mean fighting, but not pro-actively seeking aggression, the video goes to the commons chamber and Dion is yelling over objections from the other side of the isle, behind the camera.

“How can Canadians have any trust in this prime minister with his plan for a never-ending mission? A prime minister that controls everything, but runs nothing!”

Dion has been called “embattled” over and over again the news–almost as if his title is “the embattled” instead of “Hon.” or “L’hon.”–and here he is on the attack. He does not look like the weak leader, unable to respond the threat of an election that he often portrayed as.

The rest of the video is a calm, a little bit sneering and sarcastic, Ignatieff. He is effective back-up, and the two appear to make a strong team in the video.

If the Liberals get their message out looking like this they will have a literally fighting chance in the upcoming election. It will be interesting to see how it plays on real TV, that they do not control.