Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Hairnets Aside

All the buzz is on Gilles Duceppe and we’re certain to see the doom and gloom scenario repeated over and over again. You know the one:

1. Giles Duceppe runs for PQ leadership and wins
2. On the strength of his popularity, Duceppe defeats Jean Charest in two years and becomes Premier.
3. On the strength of his popularity and Adscam outrage, Duceppe calls a referendum and wins.

But let’s take a step back for a moment. Even if Duceppe runs for and wins the PQ leadership, he’s going to find provincial politics a much harder game than federal politics. As BQ leader, he can spout about “Quebec’s grievances” and Gomery, without so much as a worry about governing or the good of the country. Once he jumps to provincial politics, he’s going to have to take real stands and make unpopular decisions because he knows there’s a good chance he’ll be Premier one day. I think he’ll soon find that failed “fe-dee-RAW-lism” and feigned outrage will only take him so far. Ask the guy his opinion on tuition hikes and suddenly he’s going to have to take real, unpopular stands. Remember, two years ago Gilles Duceppe was seen as a spent force and a failure as politician. He’s been using the Adscam crutch but now he’s going to have to walk on his own.

When Lucien Bouchard jumped to provincial politics, he found out it’s a whole new ball game. Bouchard is one of the greatest politicians of the past century and a man who nearly destroyed Canada single handedly. Yet he got 76.7% on his first leadership review after becoming PQ leader, the same percentage Bernard Landry picked up last weekend. I also seem to recall another golden boy of federal politics with curly hair who went provincial and has had a rather rocky ride, to put it mildly. In fact, he’s the main reason the PQ is poised to regain power.

As for a referendum, it won’t happen and if it does happen, the Oui side will be defeated. Adscam pales in comparison to Meech, the later being a substance issue and the former being one party’s scandal. People are mad now but they’re not going to rip up the country over it. And Gilles Duceppe pales in comparison to Lucien Bouchard. If Bouchard couldn’t deliver, what makes anyone think Duceppe can?

17 Comments:

  • Looks like once again CG you have put things in a crystal clear context.

    I agree that a transistion to provincial politics will have a very short honeymoon period before it gets rough for D.

    JPorter
    Ottawa

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:05 PM  

  • "Feigned outrage" is basically what sustains the sovereigntist movement, both on the federal and provincial stage.

    The problem, though, is that Duceppe, if he does make the switch, wouldn't be going from head of the Bloc to Premier of Quebec. He'd happily bring his outraged underdog rhetoric with him and ride it to the polls and a referendum in 2008, before having to really answer to the public on actual issues ...

    I don't think they'll ever pull it off, but I do thin Duceppe might be able to play the same childish game here, unfortunately. And that's just bad for the province. Hell, give me Pauline Marois. She'd probably make Charest look good before election time...

    By Blogger Andrew Rose, at 2:46 PM  

  • Some thought from a French-Canadian from Montreal.

    First, the PQ is not the BQ. It's a party very hard to control Duceppe is not the kind of man who like dissidence in is party. The transition will be quite challenging to Duceppe.

    Second, I doubt that Charest will be a candidate for the next election. If Philippe Couillard is able to take Charest's job the liberal could defeat a PQ lead by Duceppe.

    I don't know if you saw the last poll about the separation. Here's the big line:

    -54% for the separation of the Quebec if there some kind of association remains with Canada.

    -46% for the separation of the Quebec if there no association with Canada.

    -52% think that “50%+1” is not enough the quit Canada.

    -56% think that the Canadian Flag is an important symbol and respect it.

    -54% think the Quebec will be better if we stay with Canada.

    -75% are proud to be Canadian.

    By Blogger David, at 5:08 PM  

  • Duceppe on the Oui side is only half the coin though. The other half of that coin is who the Prime Minister is at the point of another referendum.

    If we look back at the last election, I think that one of the things that probably saved the Canadian bacon was Chretien shutting up and Parizeau NOT shutting up. To play the what if game, what if those roles were reversed, what if Parizeau shut up and let the likes of Bouchard carry the banner, and Chretien didn't shut up as much as he did and really put himself front and center.

    Would that of been enough to change the minds of 1-2% of the vote? Just maybe...

    So looking forward if things go on like they are and there is a referendum, it's likely to be Duceppe vs Martin, I would give the Oui side a 30% chance of succeeding in that fight.

    Or worse it could be Duceppe vs Harper, which I'd give the Oui side a 60% chance of succeeding in that contest.

    Either way, those freaking odds make me sick. Martin and Harper both need to go, I'd feel a hell of alot more comfortable if it was either MacKay or Lord on the Conservative side and Tobin or McKenna on the Liberal side.

    Z

    By Blogger Sagan, at 9:39 PM  

  • duceppe v. harper. first one to charisma wins.

    By Blogger matt, at 11:00 PM  

  • Why would Canadians in Calgary care about Quebec separation?

    If I were in Alberta (or in Ontario, in BC or anywhere else, for that matter) I would definitely not be unhappy about Quebec leaving the country.

    Why care that much? Canada would survive the "loss" of Quebec. It might even end up being better off.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:08 PM  

  • uhhhh, how 'bout cuz I love Quebec and treasure the years I lived there?

    By Blogger matt, at 11:54 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Senator Catalyst, at 12:00 AM  

  • Hey Anonymous:

    Canada's a country, not a hair-metal band; provinces are not simply welcome to pursue solo projects!

    "From far and wide, Oh Canada,
    We stand on guard for thee..."

    That counts Calgary, Quebec City, and Loveshack Saskatchewan!

    Don't be an idiot!

    SC

    By Blogger Senator Catalyst, at 12:02 AM  

  • The PM side of things will be interesting. Martin has a bad rap on national unity and Harper would likely be worse. But who knows? If there's a referendum in 3 or 4 years, the PM could be anyome from Bernard Lord to John Manley to Michael Ignatief.

    More important will be the provincial Liberal leader at the time. Safe bet is that it won't be Charest.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:07 AM  

  • Anonymous, to answer your question as a Born and Raised Albertan and Currently living in British Colombia... lemme say simply:

    It's Canada, Stupid.

    Doesn't matter where you live in this country, if you're a Canadian then you're a my fellow Canadian citizen.

    Its nearly impossibly for me to put it into words, because it goes quite so deep into my very nature.

    Quebec is a part of Canada.
    Canada is a huge part of who I am.
    Hence Quebec is a part of who I am.

    Z

    By Blogger Sagan, at 12:32 AM  

  • Who was the Provincial Liberal leader the last time around? It wasn't Bourassa was it?

    Considering it doesn't really pop into my head right away I'm thinking he might of been a fairly non-entity in it all.

    Lets hope if there is a next time, that it won't be the same.

    Z

    By Blogger Sagan, at 1:21 AM  

  • Daniel Johnson, he was very ineffectual.

    By Blogger Mike McNair, at 2:29 AM  

  • I appreciate the sentiment here, and I don't mean to be rude, but here's what some Quebecers might think of your somewhat emotional responses to my question:

    - Why would Canadians with little or no knowledge of Quebec's language and/or culture feel such deep attachment to the province?

    I know that doesn't apply to a lot of Canadians who do know French and Quebec, but it's still what a lot of Quebecers would be tempted to think. Un amour étouffant, they might say.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:13 PM  

  • Wow CG

    That analysis is better than most Quebec pundits. Who ever said Albertans cant understand Quebec....Then again, there arent many Albertans quite like you

    Cheers from Fuddle Duddle

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 10:56 AM  

  • "Why would Canadians with little or no knowledge of Quebec's language and/or culture feel such deep attachment to the province?"

    I'd venture to say that most Canadians have a deep attachment to political stability and the current status quo. Particularly for those of us with connections to less stable parts of the world, Canada's a damned good place to live.

    The breakup of Canada could go smoothly (see Czechoslovakia). Or it could turn into a horrible mess (see Yugoslavia). Most likely it'll be somewhere in between; but in any event, there's huge uncertainties and risks. If Quebec and the rest of Canada can work out a modus vivendi (basically, French in Quebec, English outside Quebec), I think that'd be a far better outcome than breaking up the country.

    It doesn't have to be a formal agreement like the failed Meech Lake or Charlottetown. As long as anglophones can live with Bill 101 and francophones can live with nobody speaking French in the West, we should be okay.

    By Blogger Russil Wvong, at 7:12 PM  

  • I find it truly sad that someone can say "why should we care if Quebec leaves Canada? ... we might even be better off as a result."

    I am a CANADIAN. I love my country. Yes, including Quebec, Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and every other province and territory.

    The loss of Quebec would be a devastating blow that could never be compensated for by saving a few bucks on equalization payments.

    Canada is enriched immeasurably by the French language, French-Canadian/Quebecois culture, arts and other social, political and economic contributions.

    I am fed up with some Anglo-Canadians griping about Quebec all the time. I honestly can't understand what difference it would make if our constitution recognized Quebec as a "distinct society" either. I mean, have you ever been to Quebec? It's unlike any other part of the country. That's what distinct means. It's not about being better than other Canadians. It's all about recognizing Quebec for the profound impact that French Canadians have had on this country.

    I am proud of Quebec. I am proud of Canada. And it would be a disaster if Quebecers ever chose to leave us. It would break my heart and I hope it never happens.

    Matthew
    Toronto

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:49 AM  

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