In this the 2nd of our 3 part interview with Mr. Dryden we read of the leadership candidates refusal to accept our two election strategy scenario, his position on hockey in Winnipeg, and his response to the question emailed to us by none other than Warren Kinsella.
Part 2 of 3.
NF. I have read the 20th anniversary edition of your best seller, “The Game”, a book that deals with - among other things – ways to win and winning as a team sometimes in spite of an individuals own shortcomings… What does the Liberal party need to do to win the next election and do you not agree that a 2 election strategy is more likely given Mr. Harper’s focused and seemingly well organized government?
KD. To answer the 2nd part first. No I do not agree at all. I think that winning the next election is critical. That the 2 election strategy is too clinical; that the impact of loosing the next election and being out of power for four years and beyond...too much can happen in that time...but no I don't believe at all in a 2 election strategy. It is like teams that decide in a rebuilding strategy...and all you end up doing is rebuild and rebuild and rebuild. You can rebuild and win at the same time.
I think that the first thing is that parties and business organizations, there purpose is to win. That is what they are created for and the fundamental loyalty of anybody who is part of any of those entities is to winning. I remember almost being disappointed when I discovered that in Montreal. What you would like to think is that the loyalty is to the person that is next to you, that you want just good things for those around you and for yourself. You do want those things, but what you really want is to win. That is what keeps people together. It is why when you loose more often than you expect, any kind of loyalty that seemed to be present starts to fray and dissappear, it is when people start to realize that they can't win that kind of way.
In sports the real test, when you discover that is when people get traded and as you read the Game you might remember I made reference to the Peter Mahovolich trade. Pete was a great guy and a terrific teammate, people really loved to be around Pete...and then the trade happens and everybody is stunned, and the first question out of everbody's mouth was "...who did we get?" and then deep down if you believed that who you got was better...then let the next guy come into the room. That would have been the same for me or anybody else if that next name had been better than my name. So the first thing is that we need to have that absolute strategy on winning and NOT a two election strategy, a one election strategy.
The other part which makes it even more critical, which I refered to (earlier), is that the consequence of loosing are that much greater than they were. If this was 20 years ago and you had the Liberals and the Conservatives a change of government would not change a lot, you would have some things that were a little bit different...but really it wasn't a heck of a lot different, so really you felt different because you were the party in power, but the public did not feel an immense impact, there wasn't that much difference between the parties.
NF. That seems not to be the case now.
KD. That is not the case now. That's right. It is not the case now. It is Kelowna or it isn't. It is childcare or it isn't. It is Kioto or it isn't. So it is not variations any longer. It is or it isn't. It is a yes or it is a no. That is a big part of the reason why we are going to win next time because people are going to realize that (and) that what was there is gone and it is not a variation of one or the other.
NF. Would your government financially support a hockey team in Winnipeg? Would you be prepared to invest tax dollars to bring that franchise back?
KD. (Pauses)Not knowing the details...but conceptually I would strongly doubt it.
NF. Really? So you are not the candidate that is going to bring hockey back to Winnipeg or Quebec City?
KD. I don't think that that is how teams get back into places.
NF. But given how governments have assisted corporations in the past...we know that monies have been spent money in the past to (prop up) companies and we know how important hockey is to Canada and in markets like Winnipeg and Quebec City, would that not be something that your leadership might endorse?
KD. What has to exit is the strong local entity that can make any kind of assistance work, and I am not sure that there is any either place. In the NHL it is a lot more possible now...the sad part is that the salary cap came in when it did, that is did not come in several years earlier.
NF. They may have still been around.
KD. They may have still been around and that would still be a stretch and maybe a significant one. But the drive and the initiative would need to come locally, then it would be the question afterwards, how close can they come, how valid is the proposal, could it work, and then you might get in to the realm of others pitching in, Municipal, Provincial or Federal governments, but it all needs to come from the drive locally, the ownership group and of course from the league itself.
NF. A question came to me by way of Warren Kinsella who wanted me to ask you this : Bill Davis said that "...bland works..."
NF. (Laughs)...and a lot of people, even those who like you consider you to be the "dull" candidate. Do you consider this an asset? Especially in light of the fact that candidates like Rae or Ignatieff are or might become more controversial through the course of the campaign.
This sounds like question period, where you stand up to answer and say "...I reject the premise of the question..."
KD. (Laughs) I mean, people have whatever reaction they have. I have never heard that said by people who have watched me in a smallish group, and their reaction is exactly the opposite and their reaction is that it turns into an "exchange", I hear back instead that I am accessible, authentic, a real person, somebody who is really listening. From those who don't cover those occasions I hear one thing, from those who attend the smaller groups, their reaction is different. You are what you are and I think that all you can do is get across to people what you are. I guess I can say that in the other things I have done in my life it has worked out pretty well.
When I was a goalie for the Montreal Canadiens, did I play goalie like Mike Palmateer or like Doug Favell where I was bouncing from side to side, and twenty feet out of my net and racing back and diving, flipping? No. Did how I play work for the team I played on? Ya, it worked pretty well.
I mean you are what you are. I think that what people are looking for whether they are in business or in a school board or in politics is someone who they are comfortable with, someone they feel confident about. Someone they believe they can trust. Somebody that they think they know. Somebody they think they can count on. I think that what they are looking to come out of all that is a feeling of hope, a feeling that things are imaginably going to be better tomorrow than they are today. That is what is so disturbing about the Conservative government. It is so small. It is so pinched. It is so ungenerous. It is so unhappy. It is a government that is so about now and so about me. And now and me are so important but we want tomorrow to be part of it and not just now. And we want our neighbour to be part of it and not just me. And we feel better if both are a part of it, and I don't think that that is what the Conservatives offer.
The way in which I look at this country is, that this country is a place of proper ambition; of big and proper ambition and that is the life I have lived here, that is the Canada that I see and that is the Canada that I see for the future and that is the Canada that I think I represent and express to people.
NF. So you think you are getting that message out.
KD. I think so.
Next week we post our final installment of the Dryden interview live from the beach in Indian Rocks, Florida, with questions on the December convention and the candidates strategy for that crucial weekend.