Against the CurrentBook - 2007
When Stéphane Dion won the leadership of the Liberal Party in December 2006, many Canadians were surprised at the dark-horse victory. They shouldn't have been. From his early days as an academic in Paris and Washington to his sudden entry into politics in 1996, Dion has confounded conventional wisdom to achieve goals against heavy odds. InAgainst the Current, award-winning journalist Linda Diebel charts Dion's transformation from neophyte underdog to political leader, illustrating the idiosyncratic mix of doggedness, intellectual consistency, and earnestness that propelled him there.
With material gathered during exclusive interviews with Dion and his family, Diebel chronicles his childhood in Quebec, growing up as the son of a steely French mother who'd lived through the German Occupation and a political scientist father who'd advised Quebec's leaders during the province's Quiet Revolution and beyond. Dion's academic career at home and abroad flourished until his spirited defence of federalism amid the hair-raising days of the 1995 Quebec referendum brought him to the attention of former prime minister Jean Chrétien. Though Dion had criticized Liberal strategy, Chrétien offered the awkward professor a cabinet position.
In a story that combines narrative momentum, shrewd political insight, and behind-the-scenes detail, Diebel traces Dion's impact from being the (sometimes hated) face of federalism to his "greening"as environment minister to his rocky debut as Opposition leader preparing to battle Stephen Harper's Conservative government. Entertaining and enlightening,Against the Current is a revealing portrait of a man and politician determined to shape Canadian political life.