Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mandatory blog posting, Quebec election edition

I've only ever been over to Quebec a handful of times, usually for a sporting event. For example, five or so years back I went to see my BC Lions play the Allouetes at McGill Stadium. A few rows in front of me sat Gilles Duceppe himself, and the jeunes filles positively swooned over him. Much like that mystified me, so does Quebec politics.

So, I'll keep my obligatory post-Quebec election posting to aimless and uninformed speculation on the possible implications for the federal scene. Although, I'm not sure I can do it better than Feschuk has this morning, with this skewering of the pathetic post-poll panel punditry:

For instance, Charest’s humbling is bad for Harper, in that Harper personally invested so much in their relationship, but it’s also good for Harper in that the separatists were routed, even though that’s bad for Harper because Quebecers may ultimately confer a sympathy vote on the Bloc in a federal election to demonstrate that they’re not quite as opposed to sovereignty as it looked last night, which is actually good for Harper because he’ll have a separatist threat to play against and rally the federalist vote, exploiting Dion’s current weakness, which is actually bad for Harper because it will set Dion’s bar of expectations very low, allowing the Liberal leader to generate momentum this spring, which is good for Harper because spring is a warm and happy season that puts people in a good mood, which is bad for Harper because he hates people who are in a good mood, especially if they are gay, which is good for Harper because fitted T-shirts don't suit him anyway. Back to you, Lloyd.

I do find it difficult to accept the emerging conventional media and CPC wisdom that this is a victory for Harper, given the fact Charest was clearly his boy, Harper backed-up a Brinks truck of taxpayer dollars and dumped it into Quebec, and all he could buy his boy was a minority. That has to be a slap in the face for Steve. Still, given the conservatism of the ADQ spinning their surge as a positive signal for Harper is not without merit. Steve has never struck me as one for personal loyalty, indeed, he seems to have been cultivating Dumont, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Charest get the heave-ho and Dumont become Harper's new fair-haired boy.

Were I a Conservative though, or especially one of those moderate voters the Conservatives are desperately courting, I'd be leery about Steve and Mario getting into bed together. A concerning social conservative side of the ADQ emerged during this campaign, with a number of candidates dumped for troubling statements about women and minorities. Two groups Harper is investing heavily in wooing. Would it really be wise for Harper to hitch his wagon to a Quebec version of the early Reform Party?

They do, at least, have firmer common ground on a devolving vision of federalism, and provincial rights. The pressure will be on though, from both Charest and Dumont, for more. More powers, more money. How far will Harper be willing to go?

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Joe Calgary said...

Well, you and your pundits have called just about everything else wrong... I'm pretty confident your wrong here too.

A BCer in Toronto said...

What else have I called wrong Joe? Anyway, seeing as how "my pundits" say this is a great Harper victory and I say maybe not, odds are one of us will be proven wrong.

A View From The Left said...

I’m not sure which one I have a harder time picturing, Duceppe at an Allouetes game, or girls swooning over him.

I don't think that the Quebec election will really have that much of an impact federally as I think that a larger part of the vote for the ADQ was a protest vote. There were also a large number of people who stayed home in protest, so I’m not sure things have really changed federally as much as they have provincially.

Miles Lunn said...

Getting too cozy with the ADQ could be risky, but also Harper also has to deal with the fact that of his 10 Quebec MPs, 6 are ADQ supporters and 4 are PLQ supporters, at least that is what I heard on CTV, so he really cannot play favourites with either. If he does get cozy with Dumont, I think he is hoping he can do what Mulroney did which is say one thing in French and another English, but I think today the media would pick up on it sooner and it wouldn't work.

Also the surge of the ADQ is puzzling in the sense that if a party in BC or Ontario made similiar statements, they wouldn't be so close to forming government, yet poll after poll shows Quebec is the most left wing jurisdiction north of the Rio Grande River. My only guess is it is kind of like Europe, generally be left leaning on most issues, but on a few issues such as immigration, is more conservative than the rest of Canada. I suspect thats why Dumont dropped his focus on his slash and burn economic policies and focused more on middle class issues and playing to people's fears of immigrants and minorities.