Stéphane Maurice Dion PC MP (born September 28, 1955) is a Canadian politician who has been the Member of Parliament for the riding of Saint-Laurent–Cartierville in Montreal since 1996. He was the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and the Leader of the Opposition in the Canadian House of Commons from 2006 to 2008. Dion resigned as Liberal leader after the party's defeat in the 2008 general election, but remained in Parliament and was re-elected in his riding in the 2011 election.
Dion is a former academic who served as a cabinet minister under Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin and, as such, is a Member of the Privy Council.
In anticipation of by-elections in early 1996, Jean Chrétien appointed two new "star candidates" from Quebec – Stéphane Dion and Pierre Pettigrew – to Cabinet. On January 25, 1996, Dion was named Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Pettigrew was named Minister for International Cooperation, and both were sworn into the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.
Chrétien felt safe in appointing Dion to Cabinet because Dion was slated to run in Saint-Laurent–Cartierville, the second-safest Liberal riding in Quebec. In the March 25 by-election, he was easily elected. This was not without precedent; in 1941, Mackenzie King had appointed Louis St. Laurent to Cabinet after nominating him to run in a safe Quebec riding. Dion won a full term in the general election of 1997, and was reelected again in the 2000, 2004, and 2006 elections.
Dion continued to serve as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs until the end of Jean Chrétien's ministry on December 12, 2003.
In September 2009, it was reported that Denis Coderre, Ignatieff's Quebec lieutenant, was attempting to oust Dion and fellow Montreal-area MPs Raymonde Folco, Lise Zarac, and Bernard Patry for the next election, replacing them with star candidates. An October 25, 2009, poll suggested that Ignatieff had a lower popularity than Dion at his worst showing as Liberal leader. On November 20, 2009, Dion's outspoken wife Janine Krieber wrote a scathing letter on her Facebook page in which she suggested that the Liberal Party was in full collapse and the future appeared bleak. She questioned Michael Ignatieff's ability to lead the party out of its current woes, alleging that party members were duped by Ignatieff and would have recognized his obvious shortcomings if they'd only taken the time to read his academic writings.
Krieber claimed that Dion was working to rebuild the party after the disappointing 2008 election, but their efforts were stymied by Ignatieff, who turned down the coalition with the other opposition parties, and who "dethroned Dion without a leadership race". Dion was said to have no involvement in the criticism letter and later asked Kreiber to remove the Facebook post, which talks of deep divisions in the Liberal Party.
2011 federal election
In the 2011 general election, he was re-elected with a significant lead over the 2nd place NDP candidate.