Have you ever had a friend who was involved with someone and you just couldn’t understand what he saw in her? Well, that’s sort of what Liberals have got to be thinking about Paul Martin’s love fling with Jean Lapierre. To fill people in, Jean Lapierre was the co-founder of the Bloc Québeçois, after he quit the Liberals the day after Paul Martin lost to Jean Chrétien for the leadership of the party. During his time with the Bloc, Lapierre is reported to have fed them Liberal secrets to discredit the federal party and he was an advocate for a separate Québec. Now, in Lapierre’s defense, he can’t remember how he voted in the 1995 referendum (apparently no one in Ottawa can remember anything anymore). But, the facts remain, he was a separatist.
And now he’s Paul Martin’s Québec lieutenant, the man who will deliver soft-separatist votes to Paul, deliver 60 seats, and wipe out the BQ. Opps. Now, obviously Lapierre is not completely to blame for the monumental collapse of the Liberals in that province, but let’s consider his accomplishments:
1) Completely discredit the Clarity Bill, considered by many to be the shinning achievement of Jean Chrétien. Lapierre said it was worthless, causing Paul to give his usual “well, gosh, on odd-numbered days its worthless, but on even numbered days I’m completely committed to it” answer. On top of this, the two of them tried to run one of the smartest men in government, Stéphane Dion out of town. Dion has shown nothing but complete support to Martin since he won leadership but the two made it known that as the Clarity Bill author, he was not welcome in the party.
2) Absolutely messed up the nomination process in Québec. Although to be fair to Lapierre, there have been messes in the nominations in Ontario too…and BC…and Alberta…and, well, you get the picture. But the sheer hypocrisy in the way Stephen Hogue was treated under the pretext of getting more “female candidates” in remarkable (while at the same time, females were denied the right to run against Denis Dawson and Jean Lapierre). I could go on for a while about this, but Paul Wells catalogues it a lot better than I ever could in a million years.
3) Openly mussed that it would help the Liberals if the RCMP could just “lay some charges already” in that darn sponsorship probe. Since, you know, getting those star female candidates election in kamikaze ridings is more important than justice and law. As a result, when the RCMP finally laid charges, the opposition could point to Lapierre’s comments and muse that it was “convenient” that the charges were laid now.
4) He’s recruited “star” separatist candidates to run for the Liberals in the next election. This was the tilting point which cause Warren Kinsella to declare he wouldn’t vote Liberal in the next election. Obviously Martin has forgotten that federalists outside of Québec actually have an alternative option to the Liberals (two in fact).
The problem with Lapierre is that he has absolutely no credibility whatsoever. He quit the party in a huff when Martin lost and spent a decade trying to destroy Canada. So when he accused Stephen Hogue of not being a loyal Liberal, it caused a few jaws to drop. Likewise, last night, I saw him on the National telling the Québéquers that their interests could not be served by voting for an opposition party like the Bloc. The same party he founded and ran for.
Sometimes when your friend is involved with a complete mess-up, it tells you more about your friend that the person their involved with. Canadians need to think twice about Martin's taste in Lieutenants.