Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Denis Lebel Nationalist

As newly elected Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean Conservative MP Denis Lebel told CPAC last night "I am a nationalist and Mr. Harper knows that." Well that says it all. Harper played the Mulroney nationalist card and has won over voters from the BQ as well as the ADQ.

In fact this can also be seen in Saint Hyacinthe-Bagot which went neck and neck all night between the BQ and the Conservatives. While the NDP came in third there. In playing the nationalist card Harper bought himself a round of support in rural Quebec. It is the nationalists in rural Quebec who voted Conservative as they do BQ.

The NDP on the other hand are now a viable left wing alternative to the BQ in Quebec. Their position on the War and the Environment resonated with voters in Outremont and will in other urban Quebec ridings come the general election. Mulcair's acceptance speech last night emphasized that he was the Peace Candidate first and then the Environmental Candidate. The war will be as big an issue as the environment come the general election and that bodes well for the NDP.

"Today, Quebec has chosen a new direction," NDP Leader Jack Layton told supporters in Outremont, and praised them for "making history and changing the direction of politics in Quebec and across Canada. For the future we are hoping that what people see here now about the NDP is something that we are going to be able to take to the ballot box, not only in the election here in Quebec but the rest of Canada as well, as people realize we are a national party with representation everywhere," he said.

The Liberals lost last night, in all three by-elections and thus they can no longer claim the mantle of the Natural Governing Party. They can no longer take Quebec for granted and will be forced to retreat to Ontario as their base. They are no more important in Quebec now than the NDP and anyone who says they are a player needs only look at their standing in Roberval and Saint-Hyacinthe after last night. Those are not big numbers.

In a Liberal nightmare scenario-turned-reality, the party lost a traditional Montreal fortress and was reduced to single-digit support in two other Quebec ridings. A party that owned the province through much of Canada's history has now fallen below what was supposed to be the nadir of the post-sponsorship election last year.

Francophones deserted the party in all three ridings on Monday. Their last remaining stranglehold on multi-ethnic, federalist pockets of Montreal was slackened.

And in Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean
the Liberal candidate was high profile, a businesswoman who was head of the Chamber of Commerce, while the NDP ran a parachute part time candidate. She certainly lost big for the Liberals.

With high profile candidates the NDP can make a break through in the next election in Quebec while the Liberals will need to rebuild. Something they have failed to do for the past year. Petulant over Dion's victory, the Quebec Liberals abandoned the party to work for Charest and his victory should have been telling about the party's loss of power in Quebec. And last night was the result of their petulance.

The finger-pointing began before the ballot boxes even closed.

Some said it was incompetence on the part of Liberal officials. Others said it was the result of leadership rivals sabotaging the Liberal campaign.

Less than a year after Liberal Leader Stephane Dion moved to reunite his party after a winning a bloody leadership race, that fragile unity was in danger last night and questions swirled about his leadership ability after his party was shut out in three byelections — including the traditionally Liberal bastion of Outremont.

Liberal insiders recount a litany of organizational problems with the Outremont campaign, including an apparent power struggle between members of Dion’s entourage and personnel in the Quebec wing’s headquarters. For example, while some in the Quebec wing tried to keep Dion’s appearances in Quebec to a minimum, personnel in Dion’s office insisted on him making trips to his home province to campaign.

Fuelling the discontent even more was an article published over the weekend in which unnamed Liberal supporters of Dion and Michael Ignatieff traded barbs over whether the poor campaign was the result of incompetence, or of sabotage by Ignatieff supporters trying to undermine Dion’s leadership.
And so while the Liberals regroup some to lick their wounds and others to sharpening their knives. Good thing then that newly elected Saint- Hyacinthe MP Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac is not a Liberal.

Born in Vietnam, Thai Thi Lac was adopted by Quebecois parents and raised from the age of two on a local farm. She speaks French and reminded voters of her local roots by telling them during the campaign that, unlike the other candidates, she knows how to castrate a pig.


Sept. 11 for Dion

Politics is Local

Quebec By-elections

ind blog posts, photos, events and more off-site about:
, , , , , , ,,
, ,

, , , ,

No comments: