How does that line go? "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him"? I'm feeling a little like that about Stéphane Dion's political demise.
I buy, at least partly, the conventional wisdom that lack of leadership is what did Dion in.
But there's something else bugging me: that Dion's downfall may have had more to do with racism than people want to believe.
We're talking the subtle kind that's often directed, right here in supposedly multiculti Canada, at those whose grasp of English is a little less polished than ours.
"Can't understand a word he's saying. And he wants to be prime minister?"
The subtext is a familiar one for immigrants. "Can't speak English and you want to live in this country...?" Etc, etc.
CTV's now-famous ambush of Dion in that "Did-he-or-didn't-he-understand-the-question" clip was no accident. But the incident says more about the attitude of the Canadian public and its intolerance for non-English speakers than it does about CTV's bad news judgment.
Bloc leader, Gilles Duceppe has alluded to the language double standard in Ottawa, where he says the two official languages are English and simultaneous translation.
"[It's required] that a francophone speak an English that is almost perfect," he says, "but when an anglophone makes efforts they say he at least tries to speak French."
Seems cruel to say, but English-first-and-only speakers - EFOs, let's call them - rarely go the extra mile to really listen when distractions like a thick accent and messed-up syntax get in the way of the Queen's lingo. Impatience quickly gives way to intolerance.
I saw enough of that growing up in predominantly Italian St. Clair West. The attitude among EFOs is a little bit like the arrogance some
Canadians like to attribute to Americans who expect to be spoken to in English even when travelling in non-English-speaking countries.
Dion mentioned his own inability to hear certain tones when asked about his sometimes limited English during the campaign.
So in Dion's case it's an actual physical disability that sometimes leaves him tongue-tied en anglais. Whitebread Canada has no such excuse.
Where English dominates, Canada voted overwhelmingly against the Lib leader. Not so in Quebec, where the Grits made a comeback.
Seems fellow Quebeckers didn't have as much of a problem understanding the nutty professor.