Saturday, January 29, 2005

The French Invasion

Day 1 of the Liberal Party's Alberta convention is in the books and it's become apparent that Same Sex Marriage will be the hot topic du jour. The president of the party's Alberta wing gave a passionate speech defending charter rights and urging Liberals to vote forward the pro-SSM policy resolution (well, indirectly. Much like our Prime Minister, he never actually said the words "same sex marriage", but it was pretty obvious what he was getting at). The buzz among delegates was all about gay marriage and it will certainly be the most hotly debated policy this weekend.

Interestingly, the key speakers tonight and tomorrow are both Quebeckers, and they come from opposite ends of the federalist spectrum; Jean Lapierre and Stephane Dion. Tonight was Lapierre's turn. Not surprisingly, Lapierre's "temporary ad hoc rainbow coalition" past was ignored in his bio. The introduction was along the lines of "Mr. Lapierre was first elected in 1979, fought hard for the Liberals in the 1988 election then...went into radio for 12 years before returning to politics last spring." I was shocked, shocked, that 1990-1995 got lost in translation.

As for the speech, it wasn't bad. His English is a lot better than Anne McLellan's French (reason #26 why she'll never be Prime Minister) and he's great at throwing passion into his voice. He had a great line along the lines of: "My wife is confused. She hears on the news that all we talk about in government is sex and then when I come home, I'm too tired out from all the talk about sex to...". He mentioned that Stephen Harper would not be able to break into Quebec (wow! shocker!) and that Gilles Ducceppe will leave to become leader of PQ (I believe Lapierre said "Premier of Quebec" which is not how I'd be wording it if I were a Jean Charest supporter). It sounds to me like the Liberal's Quebec strategy consists of hoping Gilles Ducceppe leaves federal politics and I'm not sure if this is really the best way to win back the province. But, then again, Jean Lapierre is a political genius and I'm not, so maybe it's not such a bad idea.

I'll be very interested to see Stephane Dion's take on things tomorrow.


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