I had a very strange dream last night. It was February 2005 and I was a delegate at the Liberal Party's biennial policy convention. This is already alternate history stuff, as I didn't have an extra thousand bucks kicking around to get to Ottawa for the weekend. Anyways, I was there and after reading the draft of the Quebec Young Liberals' anti-BMD resolution, I used my standing as a riding association Policy Chair to get a 5-minute meeting with Prime Minister Paul Martin (apparently in dreams riding association policy chairs from ridings that haven't elected a Liberal since 1968 are empowered) to convince him of the folly of going along with the resolution and the repercussions that it would have.
I told him that caving in to the demands of the party's leftist youth wing would not be good for the country, and that he had to focus on the best interest of the Canadian Government instead of the Liberal Party. Let Parliament, not a political party convention, decide Government policy. If he did an about-face and denounced his stated position, he'd be pilloried as the "John Kerry of Canada" and portrayed as a weak, indecisive party manager instead of a strong, confident leader that could rally party opinion to his view. I reminded him that if he played ball with the Americans on security, he could probably get some concessions on softwood lumber much like the Australians got a free trade deal when they signed on for BMD. Obviously a lot of what I know in November 2006 influenced this set-in-February 2005 dream, but I told him that it would be the beginning of the end for his term as Prime Minister if he said no to BMD just because a small segment of his party was pushing him to do it. (Wow I said a lot in five minutes)
The PM listened to what I said, and told me that he would take that advice to heart in advance of his convention address later that afternoon, the day before all resolutions were voted on. He also told me to get in touch with a couple people who could arrange some employment stuff. Anyways, at the end of it all, he announced that whatever the result of the party's convention vote on BMD, he would still support the measure on a vote in the House of Commons and would devote considerable time and attention to explaining the case for cooperating with Washington.
I wish that there was a flash-forward for the next few months to see how history would have been altered, what the result of the 2006 election would have been (would there have been a 2006 election?), whether PMPM would still be around, and all the other "what could have been" counterfactual stuff, but the alarm clock had to go off at some point, I guess. Like I said, very strange. I've barely even spoken the name "Paul Martin" in the past couple months, having a dream about potentially saving his career was just plain bizarre.