They call laughter the kiss of death in politics – and the smooches rained down upon Stephane Dion from the Conservative benches today.
By the time he finished a 45-minute speech in which he declared he would not bring down the government, the Liberal leader was deluged with derisive guffaws.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper joined in as his troops chuckled openly at Dion. The laughter first erupted when Dion declared that the Liberal party was tough on crime.
The mockery grew louder as Dion launched into a lengthy defence of his record on climate change while lambasting the Tories' abandonment of the Kyoto accord.
Dion persisted without acknowledging his opponents, who by this time were gobsmacked by a case of the mass giggles. It was so widespread at one point that even Michael Ignatieff – the Liberals' deputy leader who sits right next to Dion – cupped his face to stifle a laugh.
However, amid the knee-slapping chortles and incredulity from the Conservative benches, today may have brought a silver lining to the gloom that surrounds Dion.
After weeks in which his party was embroiled in infighting and back-stabbing, there were signs that the angst-ridden Liberals had reached rock-bottom and were looking to patch up their differences. Continued...