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Dryden hopes to score votes, deflects shots about Dion

by Keith Corcoran


South Shore-St. Margarets Liberal candidate Dr. Bill Smith, left, peeks at the personal digital assistant belonging to Ken Dryden. Mr. Dryden, who is running in York Centre, visited Dr. Smith's Bridgewater headquarters October 2.
 BRIDGEWATER - In town to score support for the local Liberal candidate, hockey legend Ken Dryden also deflected suggestions leader Stéphane Dion isn't an asset to their campaign.

 "I think Stéphane is somebody who the more you know, the more you like," said Mr. Dryden, a former cabinet minister seeking re-election in York Centre.

 He then turned his comments to Conservative leader Stephen Harper. "Actually, conversely, Mr. Harper is the reverse of that. The more you know him, the more you're not sure of him."

 Mr. Dion is focused, purposeful and someone who got into politics for the right reasons, Mr. Dryden said, suggesting his leader has been unfairly caricatured by others.

 It took nine minutes into his speech at Dr. Bill Smith's Bridgewater headquarters October 2 before Mr. Dryden even mentioned Mr. Dion's name, spending more time attacking the Conservatives' record than propping up his own party's plan.

 Mr. Dryden said he was setting context and suggested it wasn't done on purpose.

 "Who do we want as prime minister? Somebody who has a real sense of direction or somebody who decisively goes in the wrong direction?" he said.

 Dr. Smith used the Liberal environmental plan as an example of how his party has created a green program and poverty reduction strategy all in one.

 "That's leadership," he said.

 Dr. Smith also shrugged off a political science professor's less-than-stellar assessment of Mr. Dion that was mentioned in a recent story in this newspaper. He indicated the professor hasn't been in South Shore-St. Margarets to see the good things that are happening for the Liberals.

 Meanwhile, Mr. Dryden addressed a room full of supporters during his brief stop.

 He started with a jab at the recent plagiarism charge against a Conservative speechwriter who lifted remarks stated by another world leader that ended up spoken by Mr. Harper in the House of Commons.

 "In the interest of full disclosure, I wrote this speech," Mr. Dryden said to laughter.

 His remarks painted Mr. Harper as a leader whose message isn't about people and lacks the benefit of clear guidance. He said the issues include the economy, environment and poverty, to name a few.

 "He wants this campaign to be about nothing," Mr. Dryden said. "He wants it to have no issues at all. He wants it about him and his leadership."

 After finishing his remarks, Mr. Dryden, a renowned goalie during the Montreal Canadiens' Stanley Cup triumphs in the 1970s, stayed to sign some autographs before heading back on the campaign trail.



posted on 10/07/08
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