TO: Liberal Party Executive
FROM: Grits ‘R Us Consulting Inc.
RE: Operation Extreme Makeover
Congrats on choosing Stéphane Dion as your new leader. What a pleasant surprise. He wasn’t our first, second or even third choice but, now that we think of it, his selection means lots more work for us.
First off, everyone’s saying this guy is dull and boring. No worries because that’s an easy fix.
We recommend a few photo-ops to show Stéphane as a regular guy. How about having him attend a rodeo wearing a vest and a cowboy hat? Or maybe you could get him to arrive at his next press conference in a snowsuit riding a snowmobile? Just a thought.
Now some folks claim that Stéphane is not that popular in Québec. Frankly, we don’t see that as a problem. After all, he’s French Canadian, right? All he has to do is hum a few bars of "Mon Pays" and use the phrase "Québec nationalism" half a dozen times and he’s home free.
There’s been a lot of criticism about M. Dion’s fractured English. The traditional view is that he should spend a few months improving it. We say: "Don’t bother." It just wastes valuable time and it seldom works (e.g. - Bob Stanfield, Preston Manning and Brian Tobin).
Instead, we’re recommending a crash course to reduce Stéphane’s second language capability. Right now, he sounds like an intellectual with passable English. That’s two strikes against him right there. But teach him how to speak like Jean Chretien and he both loses the intellectual stigma and picks up a folksy, rural charm. Trust us; "le petit gars" plays a whole lot better than "that Ph.D. guy with glasses."
Speaking of glasses, ditch ‘em. If he can’t wear contacts, he’s still better off without glasses even if he’s as blind as a bat. Remember that transformation of David Peterson thirty years ago from spectacled geek to specs-free trendsetter? That was us. (As for his premature election call in 1990, that was his choice.)
Given the mammoth nature of this makeover project, we suggest starting as soon as humanly possible. Make no mistake; it’s going to be a tough job but far from impossible. Kind of like making a silk purse from a sow’s ear. But don’t forget, we’re the guys who helped Jean Chretien win three majorities so we’re used to achieving the impossible.