Tuesday, October 03, 2006

On Quebec

It’s abundantly obvious that the one knock on Gerard Kennedy’s candidacy at this point will be the “Quebec issue”. To be frank, his French is a lot worse than that of the other frontrunners and his performance in La Belle Province this weekend was embarrassing.

I think the criticisms of his French are fair. This country’s Prime Minister must be bilingual and while Kennedy is technically bilingual, he’s going to have to improve his French. I’m sure he’s dedicated to improving it and with a French family at home, he’ll certainly have time to practice. I’m convinced he’ll be up to Harper’s level by the next election and that’s good enough for me. If you think Kennedy’s French is a liability in Quebec, you have to concede that Dion’s English will be a liability in the rest of Canada.

What I don’t think is a fair criticism is saying that because Kennedy did poorly in delegate selection meetings, that he can’t win Quebec in a general election. Less than 1% of Canadians are members of the Liberal Party and those who are members will vote Liberal regardless of who the candidate is. Equating the general population to the Liberal Party is what led to ridiculous polls showing that Ken Dryden would come out of this weekend in first place. Now we’re seeing the same mistake being done in reverse. During the last CPC leadership race, Belinda Stronach cleaned up in Quebec. However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that she would have been destroyed there in a general election. Instead, Harper was the right choice for the Tories in Quebec and he showed that last election. Belinda won Quebec because she had the best organization there and Kennedy’s weak showing in Quebec this weekend was because of a weak organization. And while organization is often an indicator of a candidate’s popularity among Liberals, it’s hard to infer those results to the population at large. Joe Volpe won more delegates than Scott Brison but does that mean he’s a better candidate than Scott? Nope. Ignatieff was first in Saskatchewan and fourth in BC – does that mean he’d win seats in Saskatchewan but lose them in BC? Not really. Any Dion or Rae supporter who says Kennedy couldn’t win Quebec because of his weak showing there is effectively saying that Gerard is more electable than their man in Ontario.

Given his perceived left leaning nature and progressive policies which I think should appeal to many in Quebec, I don’t see how electing Kennedy would be writing off the province in a general election. Gerard isn’t known there now but that means he’s not tied to the “old Liberal Party” of the Adscam years and he’d enter the province free of any baggage. It's a lot better to fail to get supporters because you're unknown than because you are known in my opinion.

Leadership races and general elections are two completely different animals. Obviously Kennedy will need to address the perception that he’s less electable in Quebec than other regions. That will mean calling Quebec delegates, doing events there, and trying to get endorsements from a few prominent francophones. It will also mean working on his French because how he speaks en francais on his Friday speech at the convention might very well determine whether or not he wins this race.

84 Comments:

  • Kudos to you CG for trying to put some perspective into the Quebec numbers.

    Kennedy couldn't get the backroom boys establishment organizers in Quebec behind him since the media and the Liberal establishment chose to ignore all the other candidates except Rae, Ignatieff and Dion.

    Let's talk about what the Quebec vote really means. How many Quebec voters actually came out to vote?? There are ridings where no one came out to vote and where 14 delegates spots were won on 6 votes! The fact is Quebec had the worst voter turnout in the country!

    Iggy, Rae and Dion should not be bragging about results in Quebec when they had plenty of machinery behind them and yet, Quebecers are still not engaged with the Liberal Party despite all the press Iggy, Rae and Dion received.

    If Kennedy had received equal press, we would at least have given Quebecers a fresh face and present a real change and renewal option.
    Hopefully, now that Kennedy as a contender cannot be denied, he will be given equal time in the Quebec press and Quebec Liberals will take a look at his leadership.

    By Blogger jnpliberal, at 7:26 PM  

  • Well put CG. I understand Gerard is in Quebec today.

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 7:43 PM  

  • There is no equivalence between Dion's English and Kennedy's French. He is nowhere near Dion's competence in English.

    It is unacceptable that the leader of the party of official bilingualism not speak French at an acceptable level. Kennedy is not sufficiently bilingual.

    By Blogger Peter Loewen, at 8:04 PM  

  • If you think Kennedy’s French is a liability in Quebec, you have to concede that Dion’s English will be a liability in the rest of Canada.

    True enough. Didn't seem to matter for Chretien, though.

    However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that (Stronach) would have been destroyed there in a general election.

    Yes, and apart from her other qualifications (or lack thereof), she could not speak French. That doesn't bode well for Kennedy, not at the moment anyway.

    Any Dion or Rae supporter who says Kennedy couldn’t win Quebec because of his weak showing there is effectively saying that Gerard is more electable than their man in Ontario.

    Which leaves Iggy, I suppose - he's the only candidate who received fairly broad-based support nationwide. You're quite right that a leadership campaign is not an election, and if Kennedy delivers a dynamite speech in French at the convention, my misgivings about his Quebec issue will be largely put at ease. So I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and it will be up to delegates on the second ballot to decide whether Kennedy's French is solid enough to be leader. The risk for Kennedy is that if it isn't good enough, it may diminish his standing as a potential contender or kingmaker. Fortunately, we all should have a better idea of each candidates prospects on the final ballot in two months.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 8:10 PM  

  • josh; Belinda could not speak French at all. Kennedy just can't speak French at a high enough level for many Liberals.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 8:14 PM  

  • Considering the Liberal track record in French Quebec for the last 25 years, now is not the time to choose a leader who thinks speaking French is an after-thought, some thing to be committed to only when it serves his purpose.

    Ignatieff will live in Canada only if it serves his purpose, Rae will be a Liberal party member only if it serves his purpose, Volpe will only consort with the living...what a bunch.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 8:15 PM  

  • Harper's French is excellent. To assume that Kennedy will achieve that level by the next election is wishful thinking Grit.

    By Blogger Wahid, at 8:23 PM  

  • Kennedy couldn't get the backroom boys establishment organizers in Quebec behind him since the media and the Liberal establishment chose to ignore all the other candidates except Rae, Ignatieff and Dion.

    False. The Toronto Star was practically a campaign brochure for Kennedy this past summer, especially during a two to three week stretch.

    Btw CG, organizations are all about strategy, and since his approach towards Quebec was flawed, it showed in his numbers over the weekend.

    I guess that's what you get when you pull a stunt like he did this summer. Quebecers truly see through this kind of political opportunism. If you don't believe me, take a look at your party's numbers there in the last election. ;-)

    By Blogger scott, at 8:33 PM  

  • I disagree completely.

    1.7% of delegates from Quebec is a disaster from which it should be impossible to recover.

    Whatever excuse is presented, it reflects a fundamental weakness of the candidate in Quebec.

    Perhaps the media was unfair. It will likely be unfair after the leadership convention too.

    Perhaps the party establishment selected other candidates. (I'll come back to this one.)

    Looking at the results

    In a large majority of ridings, Gerrard Kennedy could not even draw the enough support from confirmed Federal Liberals who bothered to show up to vote to elect even one delegate.

    One delegate only takes 7.14% of the vote.

    To put it in an Alberta perspective, The Alberta Liberal Party won 12.4% of the vote in the last provincial election in Rocky Mountain House.

    I don't think either of us believe that 12% puts Kevin Taft's party on the verge of a breakthrough in Rocky.

    And I don't see how less than 7% in a large majority of ridings among self-identified, more or less federalist, Quebec Liberal voters can be described as anything other fundamental failure.

    Less relevant in Quebec than Liberals in Rocky, that's not a position of strength.

    There is no large block of Quebec voters waiting for a not particularly bilingual Liberal messiah from Toronto.

    If Quebec voters wanted a left wing Torontonian as their PM, they'd have voted NDP. The didn't. And Layton is bilingual.

    I want to come back to the Quebec establishment comment.

    That argument is offensive.

    It assumes that Quebec Liberals, unlike those in the rest of the country, are sheep whose votes can be delivered by the bossman--that those Liberals members are incapable of forming independent thoughts.

    I don't think it is an argument worthy of Liberals.

    The Quebec Liberals I know are among the most politically engaged people I know.

    They live their politics every day in encounters with family andd friends who don't believe in the dream of Canada.

    They are independent thinkers, proud of their country and happy in their community.

    They didn't vote for Gerrard Kennedy.

    That's not their problem.

    And it is a complete misread of Quebec to try to blame them or some mysterious establishment.

    By Blogger CfSR, at 8:43 PM  

  • Quickly:

    What I don’t think is a fair criticism is saying that because Kennedy did poorly in delegate selection meetings, that he can’t win Quebec in a general election.

    You've said what I've been trying to say. Exactly.

    I'm not "endorsing" Kennedy or anything - I defend Ignatieff against silly criticism, and Kennedy against this.

    Well done, sport.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:08 PM  

  • CG,

    I thought it was a great post and persuasively argued!

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 9:31 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 9:35 PM  

  • There is a lot if misunderstanding about Quebec.

    CG's own post exemplifies it.

    Quebec is actually very right wing, not left wing, economically. They were the most supportive province of free trade for example.

    Socially they are very left wing and very liberal.

    The independence issue must be handled with deft, sensitivity and tact.

    The concern with Kennedy is that we are likely to have a Quebec provincial election before the federal election and both are likely to occur within eight months.

    Will Canadians and Liberals feel confident that he is up to the task?

    In short, and regrettably, the answer is no.

    We aren't prepared to roll the dice on the future of the country with an unproven leader.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 9:37 PM  

  • CG,

    I agree with you, that Kennedy most likely has the ability to improve. I'm just not convinced he is the man for the job... this time. However, at 46 he has a lot of political life left in him, and so I'm not writing him off altogether or anything like that.

    However, at the moment, I cannot support a candidate who isn't job ready right now. What happens if he can't get his French up to speed in time for a February election, not to mention to increase his exposure in Quebec? Consider this: if he did win, and a referendum (heaven forbid) surfaced with a successful Boisclair bid for government, do we really think that Kennedy is the right guy to lead the charge for the Federalists? Personally, I don't think so.

    But I don't want this to come off as an all-out knock on your guy. Like I said, I just don't think his time is now. In a decade, after having been elected a few times on the federal level, with some exposure to the demands of a national government, I think he would be a great contender. Now is not the time though. We need to be pragmatic, and think about who is going to beat Harper, who can deliver Canada (not just Ontario or Quebec), and who can rally the progressives in this country under one banner. In my mind, that only leaves one possibility.

    By Blogger Skip, at 9:40 PM  

  • CG,

    I agree with you, that Kennedy most likely has the ability to improve. I'm just not convinced he is the man for the job... this time. However, at 46 he has a lot of political life left in him, and so I'm not writing him off altogether or anything like that.

    However, at the moment, I cannot support a candidate who isn't job ready right now. What happens if he can't get his French up to speed in time for a February election, not to mention to increase his exposure in Quebec? Consider this: if he did win, and a referendum (heaven forbid) surfaced with a successful Boisclair bid for government, do we really think that Kennedy is the right guy to lead the charge for the Federalists? Personally, I don't think so.

    But I don't want this to come off as an all-out knock on your guy. Like I said, I just don't think his time is now. In a decade, after having been elected a few times on the federal level, with some exposure to the demands of a national government, I think he would be a great contender. Now is not the time though. We need to be pragmatic, and think about who is going to beat Harper, who can deliver Canada (not just Ontario or Quebec), and who can rally the progressives in this country under one banner. In my mind, that only leaves one possibility.

    By Blogger Skip, at 9:41 PM  

  • I don't think that it's possible to learn a language, especially french, in only 2 month. At the convention, Kennedy will probably be able to correctly read text in french, but it's a different story when it come to debate your idea face to face with Duceppe, Layton and Harper. It's sad because except this ''problem'', Kennedy would be very appeling here in Québec. Let's hope that he will continu his french classes and in 5-10 years, he will be a great leader for de Liberal Party.

    P.S. Harper's french is not excellent at all and the only reason why some Québecois voted for him is the sponsorship scandal. We had to listen at what the other National Party had to say.

    By Blogger ecrelin, at 9:50 PM  

  • Good post, CG. And you made it without even mentioning that what Kennedy's perceived losses in Quebec might be seem adequately made up for in the west where he is solid and even strong in Alberta. It wasn't so long ago that we won seats in Alberta and to concede any riding in any part of the country is making Harper's job easier.

    But I want to take up one thing I keep hearing from Kennedy supporters. The blaming of "organization", "establishment" and "media".

    If you believe you have a hope, you have to look at what happened in Quebec realistically. Indeed, even if you don't win this time but plan another run some day, you need to understand what just happened.

    1.7% is not about language and it is not about establishment, media or organization. As jnpliberal points out, in some ridings, there were only 6 votes. That cuts both ways because it begs the question, if it was so easy to get delegates, why didn't Kennedy get them?

    Here's what I think, and it is not meant as a smear.

    Kennedy is supposed to be this grassroots movement. I believe that to large extent. A grassroots movement by definition grows notwithstanding the lack of press, establishment support and big organization. In fact, the same national campaign team with the same establishment support (2nd most MPs, most provincial Ontario MPPs) that won Alberta, did solidly out west and came second in Ontario, barely registered in Quebec. You can't blame "organization", "establishment" and "media" in Quebec when that clearly didn't hamper you elsewhere in the country.

    People have heard him. Liberals in Quebec were paying attention. So why no grassroots support especially when the theory goes that Kennedy's policies are in line with Quebec values. (As an aside, it is that kind of thinking that has seen us lose more and more support in Quebec.)

    I think it is pretty clear that Kennedy just simply did not connect with Quebecers. Brison did just as well after all and he has far worse French and is clearly far more right. Dryden also, after all those years in Quebec did about the same and his French is as bad as Brison's. If he had connected, on any level, the organizers would have come to him, just like they did for the other frontrunners. But no one came, not even many English Quebecers came.

    So why did Kennedy not connect. I think that he reflects a problem in the party and its connection with Quebecers. When it comes to federal politics and picking a federal politician, Quebecers (rightly or wrongly) want to know what you think about Quebec. Kennedy's problem is that he just has not before now spent much time thinking about Quebec related federal issues like that and it showed.

    Rae, Ignatieff and Dion all publicly recognize that Quebec is a distinct society and that it is a nation within a country. Ignatieff goes a bit further and says that someday we need to start talking about recognizing that in the constitution. Rae thought that too until about a month ago (polling?).

    Without checking, without looking up on his website, what's Kennedy's view on that?

    I suspect most Kennedy supporters would say that they are "Trudeau Liberals" and take the "one Canada" view. That is a completely legit and reasonable position to take and to advocate strongly for. But it means you are dead in Quebec. For the campaign at any rate. In an election, tougher to say because Harper is a smart guy and the election is a long way off.

    So if you are taking the "Trudeau Liberal" position on Quebec, there really is no shame in your results in Quebec. In fact, Kennedy may have some space to be THE "Trudeau Liberal" on the Quebec question if he started shouting "one nation" loud and clear. It would distinguish him from Rae, Dion and Ignatieff, and there are enough within Quebec, or at least within Montreal, that he may pick up some later ballot delegates while also likely picking up ROC delegates for that position.

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 9:56 PM  

  • Skip,
    I am not sure about having Gerard wait 10 years before bidding for the Top Job. In ten years working for someone else, he will be bound to someone else's agenda. And someone else's mistakes.

    We all saw how Paul Martin tried to take credit for all the good things about the Chretien era, whilst telling voters he had nothing to do with the mistakes. It didn't fly.

    And it won't fly in 10 years, after GK would be a Top Minister in Afghani-Disaster-Harper-Iggy War.

    I actually like that GK has no baggage. I like that he hasn't spent 10 yrs in the federal govm't, fixing other ppl's problems and covering up someone else's f**kups, being the mouthpiece for things he doesn't believe in.

    We all know that these liberal MPs have to fall in line "or else".

    I think a GK Leadership would allow not just GK but many existing MPs to voice their TRUE opinions, and reshape the party the grass-roots way.

    Just a thought.

    By Blogger DivaRachel, at 9:58 PM  

  • The real story out of Quebec is the abysmal turnout. I don't think any campaign should necessarily brag about their Quebec support with so few people actually engaged. People didn't even show up at some polls and delegates were given based on one or two votes. I think this a testament that no Liberal currently enjoys a great deal of support in the province, at least not to the degree that has excited anyone. It would be interesting to weigh actual turnout when deciding what factor the Quebec results should really play in people's perceptions.

    By Blogger Steve V, at 10:05 PM  

  • Scott,

    The Toronto Star is NOT part of the Quebec press.

    Kennedy did NOT EVER say he was moving to Quebec, a reporter wrote that. He said he was going to spend part of the summer there with his family and that is what he did.

    Josh,

    You are right that Iggy is probably the only one that can claim significant support everywhere in Canada.

    cfsr,

    You are twisting points being made. No one is stating that the establishment controls all Liberals. However, you cannot have a significant organization in a province without some of the Party establishment in your corner and Kennedy didn't have that. I also think that many in the Liberal establishment in Quebec understimated how well Kennedy would do nationally. You also need press for Liberals to even hear about you. The amount of press in Quebec for Kennedy was very little. These are just the facts. I would argue that Kennedy has not had a major breakthrough in Quebec because he is an unknown not because of his French.

    Fadi,

    You are wrong. Kennedy did and does take his Quebec campaign seriously. I completely disagree with you. You do need some press to become known in a province where you are an unknown.

    By Blogger jnpliberal, at 10:06 PM  

  • Cerberus,

    To "connect" your opinions to Liberals in Quebec, you do need press time in Quebec. If the press only wants to hear from Rae, Iggy and Dion, then Kennedy has a problem. This is not a press conspiracy, this is just fact. I actually think that now he is part of the top 4, the Quebec press will hopefully give him more attention.

    You can find his comments on Quebec as a nation in the Toronto Star editorial board interview with Kennedy.

    I will agree with you that Kennedy should release more comments and policy on Quebec.

    However, I completely disagree that he had a low percentage in Quebec because he could not connect. Most Quebec Liberals still do not know who he is.

    By Blogger jnpliberal, at 10:19 PM  

  • This weekend's results reveal that Gerard will probably get about 2% of the Quebec delegates on the first ballot. Coupled with the 22% from the rest of the country, he will make it to the second ballot.

    Note the outside Quebec numbers are presently:

    Iggy - 849 (27%)
    Gerard - 688 (22%)
    Rae - 581 (18.5%)
    Dion - 384 (12%)

    The question is: How much second ballot support from Quebec can Gerard attain in the next two months?

    My answer is: ALOT! Enough to make it to the third ballot and enough to make it to the final ballot.

    What the Liberal Party needs in Quebec is someone who has SID (sincerity, integrity, decency) and who will make them forget the adscam affair.

    What the Liberal Party needs in Quebec is someone who not only claims to share their progressive attitudes, but who has a full resume that reflects that progressive attitude.

    What the Liberal Party needs in Quebec is someone who will not lose their support the moment he starts explaining why he voted with Harper while the majority of the rest of his colleagues did not (re: Afghanistan; if someone mentions it is because of the Kurds, please be reminded that that is the answer for the other country (Iraq)).

    What the Liberal Party needs in Quebec is Gerard Kennedy.

    MississaugaPeter

    By Blogger Peter, at 10:31 PM  

  • Kennedy's results in Quebec indicate that he is just not ready . . . . yet.

    I think he might be ready in 5 years but he would have to spend those 5 years working with someone who does understand Quebec.

    We have been one country for almost 140 years.

    We can't afford to gamble on our watch.

    It's Kennedy's turn to be the team player and the good soldier. Ontario Liberals say that he "doesn't play well and work well with others". Now is his chance to prove them wrong.

    He has great potential but must be patient. Just a little. Who is his best fit? Who may tire in 5 years?

    This all reminds me of young John Turner in 1968.

    His major convention speech started out with " I'm not running now so I can win in 1984".

    ( Which turned out to be the year of the next Liberal leadership convention.)

    If you really believe in Gerrard Kennedy, give him time to grow into the role. If he is not ready (e.g. Stockwell Day), he will skewer himself in no time in a federal election against confident, self-assured leader and possibly permanently.

    At the moment, Gerard is an asset to the Liberal party and to its future.

    Let's try not to squander that.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 10:33 PM  

  • I'm going to go on a limb here and suggest that if Kennedy spoke better French, he might actually get LESS support in Quebec.

    His policies simply won't fly in Quebec. A national education policy? Non merci. If fact, anything that gives the impression he wants to encroach provincial powers would be perceived as a very bad thing in Quebec.

    Two word that the Toronto Star loves must be avoided at all cost in Quebec: National Standards.

    But if Kennedy can stick to Employment Insurance and other federal jurisdictions, he may win over many Quebeckers.

    By Blogger Altavistagoogle, at 10:36 PM  

  • Down & Out in L A,

    I believe you are wrong about Gerard and Quebec.

    IMO, Gerard as leader of the Liberal Party in the next election will result in more Quebec seats, not less.

    Gerard has that "something" we have not seen in Canada for many years (and this is not an attack on Jean or Paul). Some call it charisma. I call it it SID.

    By Blogger Peter, at 10:40 PM  

  • Ted,

    I think you are wrong. Jean Chretien maintained a precense in Quebec for many years while taking a "Trudeau-esque" approach to federalism.

    Being in support of a strong federal government does not spell doom in Quebec. In fact it was after Martin took a more assymetric approach to federalism that our fortunes faded in Quebec. Im not saying those two things are causally related; only that you can win in Quebec as a strong federalist.

    How convenient that your opinions on just about everything happen to naturally benefit your guy nowadays.

    By Blogger Kyle Carruthers, at 10:47 PM  

  • Peter: I applaud your loyalty, but you might want to change acronym.

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 10:51 PM  

  • The question is: How much second ballot support from Quebec can Gerard attain in the next two months?

    My answer is: ALOT! Enough to make it to the third ballot and enough to make it to the final ballot.


    Okay, but from whom will he receive this support from Quebec on the second ballot? Rae? Dion? Iggy? I highly doubt any of them will drop off after the first ballot, though it's not impossible, and that leaves only the 10 percent of delegates supporting the bottom four and those who are undeclared, assuming most of them show up.

    Of course, the picture may change considerably at the actual convention, since we don't know whose delegates are most likely to get there. That being said, it is being held in Quebec, which suggests that the mass of delegates declared for Iggy, Dion, and Rae will have less problem travelling to Montreal than will Kennedy's Alberta delegates. The effect may be to magnify his weakness in la belle province.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 10:51 PM  

  • "I suspect most Kennedy supporters would say that they are "Trudeau Liberals" and take the "one Canada" view. That is a completely legit and reasonable position to take and to advocate strongly for. But it means you are dead in Quebec."

    That sure says a lot for national unity...

    By Blogger Dan McKenzie, at 10:57 PM  

  • Kyle:

    "I think you are wrong. Jean Chretien maintained a precense in Quebec for many years while taking a "Trudeau-esque" approach to federalism."

    And yet, his support in Quebec kept going down and in 2000 was so low that he asked Martin to do joint ads with him.

    "In fact it was after Martin took a more assymetric approach to federalism that our fortunes faded in Quebec."

    Right, 'cause Adscam had nothing to do with it.

    My opinion about Quebec neither benefits Ignatieff nor Dion nor Rae. In fact, Dion and Rae together outdid Ignatieff but they all share the same view on Quebec's distinctiveness and not treading too much on their provincial jurisdiction.

    Kennedy, Dryden, Brison all did not share the same view as Rae, Dion and Ignatieff, and together they mustered together what? 5% all in?

    How else do you explain that? Kennedy had the same organizational, media and "establishment" disadvantages out west and in the east but did OK.

    If you want to stick with the organizational, media and "establishment" theme, then Kennedy will continue to always be a bridesmaid.

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 10:58 PM  

  • You're quite right, Kyle, and what really worries me is the prospect of another referendum. We came perilessly close to losing it all in 1995, and even Chretien's performance then was not overly inspiring. But to listen to his passionate - and patriotic - speeches in *French* was, well, remarkable.

    Insofar as being credible (read: experienced) on national unity, only Rae and (moreso) Dion really fit the bill. Maybe Ignatieff, but his long absence from the country and, more significantly, the great constitutional debates of the last 20 years makes him somewhat unsuitable.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 11:00 PM  

  • Thank you Dan. That's my point. We Liberals have allowed ourselves to become completely irrelevant in Quebec because we fail to discuss Quebec beyond the Trudeau vision. Quebecers don't even think that way or talk that way.

    Trudeau developed his vision of Canada and Quebec at a time when you were a separatist or federalist. That is not the dichotomy in Quebec anymore and hasn't been in a long time.

    You may not like what Ignatieff is suggesting about Quebec, but Rae and Dion hold the same view. Dion (and Rae after he changed his mind) believe that about Quebec but just don't want to change the constitution because it is too difficult right now.

    But Ignatieff sparked a conversation about it. It hasn't gone away for Quebecers just because the ROC isn't talking about it. And, regardless of what you think about his position, good for him because the PQ is likely going to win the next election. And if we screw up again like Chretien screwed up in 1995 (by not being prepared), then we'll really have a national unity problem on our hands.

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 11:12 PM  

  • And yet, his support in Quebec kept going down and in 2000 was so low that he asked Martin to do joint ads with him.

    And yet, the Liberals were running neck-and-neck with the Bloc and even beat them in the popular vote in the election. Following 9/11 and Chretien's decision to keep Canadian troops out of Iraq, the Liberals looked set to sweep Quebec as English Canadian columnists were speculating about the Bloc's demise and the PQ was turfed from power.

    Well, as well know, in Feb. 2004, la scandale des commandites broke and, rather than leaving the investigation to the RCMP and the legal system, Martin declared he was "mad as hell" and struck the televised Gomery Inquiry.

    Naturally, this did wonders for Liberal fortunes, especially in Quebec where the Inquiry became the favoured variant of reality television.

    No wonder Chretien never trusted Martin on Quebec! Not only did he ensure that la scandale was as politicized as possible, but he allowed the sovereigntists to seize on this evidence of the corruption not only of the Liberal Party but of federalism itself.

    Now, I don't really know what Kennedy's thoughts are on the national unity question - I'd be grateful to anyone who could point me toward such information, as I can't find much of anything on his website.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 11:21 PM  

  • And if we screw up again like Chretien screwed up in 1995 (by not being prepared), then we'll really have a national unity problem on our hands.

    Quite right, quite right - so why do you support someone who wasn't even in the country during those pivotal years? Oops! Was that a jab at Iggy? :)

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 11:24 PM  

  • Cerberus,

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Josh,

    Delegates are expected to vote on the first ballot for the candidate they were sent to vote for.

    However, they are not sheep, and are not obligated to vote for the same person they voted for on the first ballot.

    Since you asked, I will tell you. I believe Gerard will receive a large number of second ballot votes from those Quebec delegates who voted for Iggy on the first ballot.

    Why? Because Iggy voted with Harper on Afghanistan while the majority of the Liberal caucus voted against Harper. Because Afghanistan will be an issue in Montreal (and even more so if any soldiers from Quebec do not come back alive (which all good Canadians pray will not happen)).

    By Blogger Peter, at 11:30 PM  

  • Just visited Bourque.com,

    Good Canadians should be lowering their flags tonight. Two more of our brothers have fallen in Afghanistan today. Our prayers to their families.

    MississaugaPeter

    By Blogger Peter, at 11:49 PM  

  • Ted,

    You can deny that organization (or the lack thereof) played a major role in Gerard's poor Quebec showing all you want; but that is clearly what happened there. Gerard's french was poor when major Quebec organizers picked sides and by the time it had improved it was too late. This has nothing to do with "not appealing to Quebeckers". I have talked to more than one Quebecker from other campaigns who say Gerard is their second choice now that he has had an opportunity to prove himself.

    Your "Quebeckers wont vote for a federalist vision" has been debunked by the fact that Jean Chretien ruled successfully for many years with a Trudeau-esque vision of federalism.

    Of course this doesnt help your candidate so you just deny it.

    The LPC can take a chance with Gerard in Quebec, or they can lose the entire country when non-Liberal Canadians pass judgment on your guy. It will be Gerard or Stephen Harper appealing to Quebeckers in a referendum--your call.

    By Blogger Kyle Carruthers, at 11:57 PM  

  • "Now, I don't really know what Kennedy's thoughts are on the national unity question - I'd be grateful to anyone who could point me toward such information, as I can't find much of anything on his website."

    Exactly. I'm not trying to jump down Kennedy's throat here folks, but he failed in Quebec because he didn't speak to their issues or even try to make them a big part of his campaign.

    If his views are so in line with theirs, why weren't organizers volunteering, coming out of the woodwork, the way they were for Kennedy elsewhere in the country? Why no grassroots movement in Quebec for Kennedy?

    If he had gotten even 6 or 7%, I might buy "media", "establishment" or "organization". Those elements are certainly necessary to put you over the top, but you can't point the finger theret when you can only get 18 delegates.

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 11:58 PM  

  • If his views are so in line with theirs, why weren't organizers volunteering, coming out of the woodwork, the way they were for Kennedy elsewhere in the country? Why no grassroots movement in Quebec for Kennedy?

    We have explained that over and over again but you ignore it because its in your candidates interests to do so--because he didn't speak very good french for most of the time leading up to DSM's

    By Blogger Kyle Carruthers, at 12:11 AM  

  • CG,

    I know your post seems reasonable, but it has serious flaws.

    First, if Kennedy is a percieved candidate who can win seats in Alberta because of his Alberta support, he shouldn't be able to do the same in Quebec.

    Second, the excuse that he is not known in Quebec, is quite frankly, the failure of the candidate to get known.

    I commend you though for recognizing the weaknesses in his French, which has been said throughout his candidacy by many. Though I recall you ignoring it before this vote... even dismissing it.

    By Blogger c-lo, at 1:03 AM  

  • To those who say Chretien did poorly in 1995 against the separatists, might I remind you that the Federalists in Quebec asked Ottawa to stay out of the campaign.

    Only when it was clear that they were in danger of losing, did Chretien and the federal government get involved.

    Public support of Federalism improved dramatically after that.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 1:38 AM  

  • Every Liberal should read this editorial from the Ottawa Sun and then give their heads one last shake.

    Wakey Wakey.

    Ottawa Sun Editorial

    Tuesday, October 3, 2006

    "Far be it from us to tell the federal Liberals, who seem to be leaning toward electing Bob Rae as their leader, to think again.

    Perhaps they see something that we don't in Rae's disastrous record as Ontario premier from 1990 to 1995, from which our province is still recovering.

    Then there's the fact that the last time Rae was actually in charge of a government, he was a New Democrat.

    Then again, these are Liberals. They're adaptable.

    For our money, on this so-called "Super Weekend" of delegate selection by the Grits, only three of the eight remaining candidates in the race have distinguished themselves.

    The first is Michael Ignatieff, who, unusual for a Liberal, actually seems capable of taking a clear stand and sticking to it -- support for our military mission in Afghanistan.

    Of course, the early frontrunner has been attacked for this by other candidates who are opportunistically backtracking on the mission their own government sent our soldiers on back when it was in power.

    Ignatieff suffers most from ring rust due to the fact he's been out of the country for so long and hasn't run for office, well, ever (before last January). That's why he's proposed dumb ideas like reopening the Constitution to recognize Quebec as a "nation" inside the "country" of Canada. Right.

    Our second notable Liberal is Stephane Dion. While he's as fuzzy on Afghanistan as most Grits, it's intriguing to see a Quebec intellectual who is unabashedly pro-Canada in a field rife with separatists.

    We think it's admirable that Dion fought for a united Canada when it counted, knowing it would bring down the wrath of so many of his Quebec peers.

    That suggests someone willing to sacrifice personal comfort and easy popularity for the sake of an ideal. That's something we need in a leader, particularly during a crisis.

    While we worry Dion would blow up the federal budget with his stubborn support of the discredited Kyoto treaty, at least he too seems capable of taking a principled stand.

    The third candidate who intrigues us, whom we suspect would be doing much better in the polls if the Liberals were genuinely interested in party renewal instead of just victory is Martha Hall Findlay. First into the race and bilingual, she has impressed Liberals wherever she's gone, which would be a much bigger deal if they had opted for a "one person, one vote" contest instead of an old-fashioned brokered convention.

    We're not saying Findlay would have won, but we bet she'd be doing a lot better than the low single-digit numbers she has recorded in the polls up to now.

    Too bad the Liberals aren't interested in learning from their mistakes, but in choosing a leader they think has the best shot of giving them a quick, easy ride back to power.

    Then again, Liberals really do think of themselves as our natural governing party, so why should we be surprised? "

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 1:56 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger matt, at 2:04 AM  

  • a. I think it's fair to assume that Quebec Liberals vote, in part, based on who they think will be a winner in their neck of the woods (or, put another way, the perception of "winner" is a function of where one is from). So, Kennedy tanking in Quebec is bad a d a valid commentary on his chances, if not a definitive burial.

    b. Harper's French is good, better than it ought to have been for the debates. It improved quickly. I'll concede that Kennedy might be able to make similar progress, with two caveats:
    1. Harper's French learning curve is *steepening*, for those who listen to him in QP. He's getting better faster while on the job.
    2. why hasn't Kennedy already done so while his job is running for Liberal leader rather than, in Harper's case, Prime Minister?

    By Blogger matt, at 2:05 AM  

  • Here's a tidbit from libnews.ca

    John Ibbitson, Globe and Mail -

    “But Mr. Kennedy’s campaign died in Quebec, where he received, at the latest count, about 1 per cent of votes cast. It has been said the Liberal Party is so weak in Quebec that fewer votes were cast in the entire province this weekend than in the suburban ridings surrounding Toronto, an allegation that points to the urgent need for the Liberals to rebuild their party in Quebec, not to the advisability of electing a leader utterly devoid of support there.”

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:13 AM  

  • From the outside looking in, here's my take on why Liberal support in Quebec sucks almost as bad as it does in Alberta:

    "Well, as well know, in Feb. 2004, la scandale des commandites broke and, rather than leaving the investigation to the RCMP and the legal system, Martin declared he was "mad as hell" and struck the televised Gomery Inquiry.

    Naturally, this did wonders for Liberal fortunes,"

    Because why? Are you so foolish as to believe the Quebeckers would forget if it wasn't in the news 24/7?

    How many Albertans that were here in the 80s have YET TO FORGET the dreaded NEP?

    Get your heads out of your collective butts.

    And that's the last bit of advice you'll get from this CPC supporter, and I'm only doing it because I don't want to see the conservative movement go down the same path of entitlement and graft that could easily occur with a crappy opposition. Parliamentary systems only work with strong parties (and the NDP & Bloc don't count).

    By Blogger Candace, at 2:16 AM  

  • I don't think that Dion's english can possibly be a liability in the rest of Canada -- two words: Jean Chretien. And that guy won big majorities.

    By Blogger Left Right and Center, at 8:18 AM  

  • I should also add that the Liberal Party is in a bit of a quandry because it is becoming clear that if Liberals choose Iggy and there's an unpopular war in Afghanistan that he strongly supports running in the background to an election -- there is little difference between the current PM and Iggy himself on foreign policy. This assumes, of course, that the next election becomes a referendum on Canada's role in Afghanistan. Should Rae win the leadership, he'll be hard pressed to run an election campaign against Canada's role in Afghanistan when it was a Liberal government that sent Canadians there in the first place... just sayin, that's all.

    By Blogger Left Right and Center, at 8:24 AM  

  • It simply isn't true if Kennedy's French is a factor in Quebec than Dion's English is a factor.

    First off, they're not remotely comparable. Dion speaks and undertands English very well, albeit with an accent. This has never been a handicap for politicians.

    Kennedy's French is nowhere close to Dion's English. And it IS a handicap. Comparisons to Harper (whose French is infinitely superior anyway) are not valid. The only reason Harper is Conservative leader in the first place was the lack of credible candidates.

    If Kennedy was running in a field consisting only of himself, Joe Volpe and Hedy Fry, I have no doubt he'd be Liberal leader. But that's not the case and this isn't going to be his time.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 8:27 AM  

  • THANKS for that Ottawa Sun bit on Martha Hall Findlay! She's still the rockingest in my book - I've said many times I'm disgusted with the poor showing Liberals have given her. She deserved/deserves better. Hopefully next time she'll get some realistic treatment.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 10:19 AM  

  • We provide cowbridge cleaning services, cowbridge cleaning Darr

    By Blogger quirin, at 10:49 AM  

  • And it's not just about speaking the language.

    It's about understanding and speaking to the constitutional nuances, especially when there is a strong possibility that Quebec will soon be electing another separatist government at the provincial level.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 10:59 AM  

  • For years western Canada has gone without leaders who speak the language and understand the culture. It wouldn't kill Quebec to have a Prime Minister that isn't bilingual - but he should work on that ability.

    By Blogger Saskboy, at 11:09 AM  

  • I agree with Sheila Copps.


    Kennedy a winner

    The Ottawa Sun
    Wed 04 Oct 2006
    Page: 13
    Section: Editorial/Opinion

    Byline: BY SHEILA COPPS


    The real winner of this past "Super Weekend" in the Liberal leadership race
    is Gerard Kennedy.
    Notwithstanding his Ontario roots, he managed an impressive showing across
    the country that far outstripped anyone's expectations. His Achilles heel
    has been rightfully identified as Quebec, but he has time in the next two
    months to turn that around.
    With virtually no media attention, Kennedy emerged neck-and-neck with media
    favourites Stephane Dion and Bob Rae in what is now a four-man fight.
    As for frontrunner Michael Ignatieff, with 70% of current delegates in other
    camps, victory seems elusive at best. The early Ignatieff stampede, with
    one-quarter of the caucus on board the day he announced, has stalled to a
    trickle.
    Unless the frontrunner can rapidly reverse the impression that his campaign
    is losing steam, his growth potential is in danger.
    Most ex-officio voters, including former ministers, current MPs, riding
    presidents and executive members, like to be on a winning team. They also
    like to think their vote can make a difference.
    Former PM Paul Martin encouraged his supporters to remain neutral in this
    race in the hopes they could move as a bloc at the right moment. Many
    ignored his advice, with the majority of Martin supporters sprinkled between
    the Ignatieff and the Dion camps.
    If it looks as though Ignatieff is stalled, more than l,000 ex-officio
    members may wait until the December convention to make their move.
    Ignatieff also faces the danger of an "anybody but" campaign. As Kennedy
    knows from personal experience, frontrunner status is a double-edged sword.
    He went into the 1996 Ontario Liberal Party leadership in first place on
    multiple ballots, only to see the crown snatched by fourth-place Dalton
    McGuinty.
    Those who think Ignatieff has it in the bag need to only to look at the
    results in Canada's most vote-rich province -- Ontario. Kennedy and
    Ignatieff share the lead in a part of the country that has been crucial to
    Liberal electoral fortunes. That fact is not lost on Liberal MPs past and
    present.
    NEEDS HEAVY HITTERS
    As for Quebec, Kennedy desperately needs to land some heavy-hitters in a
    province that is largely dependent on paid organizers. He also needs to
    focus on showing that his Acadian wife and bilingual children have a dad who
    can linguistically keep up with them.
    It would be foolish to write off his chances based on his poor Quebec
    showing when a few good organizers could easily turn the situation around.
    Who remembers how Stephen Harper was written off in la belle province just
    weeks before he garnered 10 seats there?
    Last weekend's boost will stimulate Kennedy's supporters, resulting in a
    greater turnout at the convention. With delegates forking out almost $1,000
    for the right to vote, who shows up will play a large role in the outcome.
    The losers last weekend were Canadian women. The lone female, Martha
    Hall-Findlay, enters the final stretch with fewer votes than any man in the
    race. She has bravely vowed to stay put. But her last-place status is an
    embarrassment to a party that prides itself on equality.
    To see her voting base outstripped by Joe Volpe makes many Liberals shake
    their heads in dismay. Does the party really think a candidate with his
    record (his campaign was just fined $20,000 for inappropriately buying
    memberships in Quebec) is more attractive than the only woman still in the
    race?
    Politics is no worse than other sectors when it comes to sexism. But to see
    a trilingual, dynamic candidate bring up the rear in a race of also-rans
    should be troubling to all of us.

    By Blogger jill, at 11:17 AM  

  • CG

    "I’m convinced he’ll be up to Harper’s level by the next election and that’s good enough for me. "

    Not a chance. Harper's french is actually quite good now, and still improving.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 11:25 AM  

  • It might not kill Quebec to have a PM who isn't bilingual, but unless you can convince Quebecers (and Ontarians) of that, we'll never know.

    To win, the Liberals need to rebuild their bases in Quebec, Ontario, BC and Atlantic Canada. Even in defeat, the Liberals got 96 of the 249 seats there, while the Cons got 76. In 2004 though, it was 126 to 53.

    They can sweep Saskatchewan's 14 seats and it won't make a difference.

    As for Alberta, a little dose of reality here - in order for the Liberals to win more than one or two seats in Alberta while Harper is PM, the Cons would have to screw up so badly that there would be a Liberal sweep in the rest of the country.

    When the Liberals won 4 seats in Alberta in 93 that came with winning 98 in Ontario and 19 in Quebec.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 11:31 AM  

  • I see no reason why Hall Findlay should feel badly about being "beaten" by Volpe.

    Her level of support is probably about right for someone who has never held any elected office in her life. She has attracted notice and should have a bright future in politics if she wants one. And her support is real, coming from people who believe in her strongly enough to vote for her knowing she has never had even a remote chance of winning. She isn't in last place because she's a woman. She's in last place because that's where political neophytes with no money, experience or organization end up. All things considered, Dryden and Brison's showings are far more humiliating.

    Volpe's support is meaningless. It comes from dead people and paid-for memberships. His career is over, and the leadership campaign is what killed it. He'll never be in cabinet again. He exposed the party to ridicule and made it an easy target for the Conservatives. He will never be forgiven.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 11:42 AM  

  • I would caution against quoting Sheila Copps as a credible political prognosticator.

    Her political acumen can be politely described as inconsistent.

    As often as not, she has backed the wrong horse.

    Interesting opinions and perspective but her advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 11:56 AM  

  • Jill:

    If you really want to help Kennedy, I suggest you avoid quoting Sheila Copps's support and analysis.

    Ignatieff's victory "elusive at best"? She not only bucks conventional wisdom, she chucks wisdom right out the window.

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 12:18 PM  

  • Oh cerberus, please.

    You are all partisan hack now. Sounds like you starting to get worried that no one will back your plateaued American/Canadian candidate.

    By Blogger jill, at 12:29 PM  

  • Not a chance. Harper's french is actually quite good now, and still improving.

    Well then, that just goes to show that someone can improve their French in a short period of time then, doesn't it?

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:58 PM  

  • jimtan:

    “But Mr. Kennedy’s campaign died in Quebec, where he received, at the latest count, about 1 per cent of votes cast. It has been said the Liberal Party is so weak in Quebec that fewer votes were cast in the entire province this weekend than in the suburban ridings surrounding Toronto, an allegation that points to the urgent need for the Liberals to rebuild their party in Quebec, not to the advisability of electing a leader utterly devoid of support there.”


    All the more reason to pick a candidate commited to rebuilding the party from the grass roots up.

    Given the low turn-out in Quebec, I suspect that GK is a strong second in popular vote (ie. one member, one vote) across the country.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:59 PM  

  • left right and center, (shouldn't that be "centre"?)

    Canada's Afghanistan mission has changed since the Liberals lost power and the Conservatives came to power.

    That is why there were few Canadian casualties while the Liberals formed the government and why there are so many more casualties since the Conservatives took over the government.

    May's House of Commons rushed vote is directly responsible for this. Unfortunately Iggy sided with Harper on the vote while 2/3 of the rest of the Liberal caucus did not.

    Jill,

    Don't be too harsh on Cerberus. He does spin for Iggy but he has very good acumen otherwise.

    MississaugaPeter

    By Blogger Peter, at 2:01 PM  

  • Awww, MP. How sweet. I take back everything I've been telling people about you behind your back.

    ;-)

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 2:51 PM  

  • Good post CalgaryGrit, for a moment I actually forgot that it is a skilful spin on a disaster.

    That is what happened for Kennedy in Quebec, a disaster. You can blame the media, the small turnout, or anything else you want. His success in the west is more or less irrelevant since the Liberals can't pick up too many more seats from the Tory uber-majorities out there as reality bites said.

    Kennedy is in a strong position in Ontario sure, and that's important. But it doesn't make up for the fact that the Liberals need Quebec.

    As an Ontarian, I can't say I've been impressed with Kennedy's short life as a politician and I think that is his greatest weakness. He really doesn't have the political experience to do well in an election. Maybe that is why Quebec abandoned him.

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 3:03 PM  

  • If Kennedy's decade as an elected politican is not enough expereince, I truly hope you do not consider Ignatieff and his 6 months expereince.

    By Blogger Manitoba Liberal, at 3:14 PM  

  • southernontarion; There are as many seats to be picked up in the West as in Quebec, if not more. (thanks for the post idea...)

    Now, that's not to say Kennedy is the best to win seats in the west or the worst to win them in Quebec, but to write off Western Canada would be a big mistake for this party if it ever wants to win a majority government again.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:51 PM  

  • I'm with CG on that one. Every single seat must be considered open and none conceded. That doesn't mean we pour in the same election campaign effort into Harper's fairly safe riding or into a Liberal stronghold the same effort we put into, say, Trinity Spadina or other tight tight races (like the ones Rae was financing last election ;-) ), but we have to think beyond just "defending" our old turf. An aggressive winning attitude is the only way to beat Harper. Not saying at all that that is what it takes, but without it we are dead.

    Kennedy, a no name outside of Ontario in reality, has pulled in some very strong support in the west, especially Alberta.

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 4:38 PM  

  • He built some strong support among Liberal party members, running against other Liberals.

    He may have strong enough coat tails to win a couple of seats. Hell, even Chrétien won four Alberta seats in 93.

    Of course Chrétien wasn't running against an Alberta-based prime minister at the time.

    But there's no reason to believe that Kennedy has some magic power over Alberta voters just because he happens to be the most popular Liberal to other Liberals.

    Personally, of course, I'd love to see the Conservatives swept out of Alberta and every other province. But reality is that it will not happen. It's their stronghold.

    Even Mark Foley could easily get elected as a Conservative in Alberta, as long as he promised he wouldn't actually marry any male pages.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 4:53 PM  

  • I wonder how Kennedy's french stacks up with pre-PM Harper's abilities with the tongue. Any comparisons out there?

    By Blogger C. LaRoche, at 5:54 PM  

  • For information on Harper's abilities with the tongue you'd have to ask Laureen Teskey.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 6:00 PM  

  • CG says

    “All the more reason to pick a candidate commited to rebuilding the party from the grass roots up.

    Given the low turn-out in Quebec, I suspect that GK is a strong second in popular vote (ie. one member, one vote) across the country.”

    The DEM weekend is only one hurdle. It has separated the wheat from the chaff. Kennedy’s strength at this stage does not guarantee success in Montreal. Indeed, that was the situation when Kennedy faced off with his rivals at the Ontario Liberal Party. At the end, last-place McGuinty won the support of the majority of the delegates, not Kennedy.

    In Montreal, the Liberal Party will be focused on two sacred cows. Winning the next election, and keeping Quebec in the family. At this time, Kennedy can do neither. Kennedy’s platform of renewal requires time to mature. Ditto for Kennedy’s rapport with Quebec. Unfortunately, the next general elections may be only months away.

    In addition, the party establishment will be leery of Kennedy’s call for renewal. I think that he will be the last choice of the ex-officio delegates. Therefore, his Quebec performance will be doubly damning.

    Some say that the Liberals will sacrifice necessary renewal for short-term election gains. Not necessarily true. Kennedy has the option as kingmaker to cut a deal to ensure that renewal will proceed, and Kennedy will have a key role.

    Remember that there will be a series of resolutions presented to the convention. It is important that he doesn’t get himself shut out at this stage. Can he work as part of a team?

    It makes sense to do well (not necessarily a win) at the next general election, before going deep into a process of renewal. It is easier to renew when the party is recovering (e.g. a minority government), than when the party is weak (after a rout).

    The Progressive Conservatives could not regroup after the 1993 disaster. The Liberals became overbearing. Preston Manning led a splinter group out of the PC. And, the rest is history.

    And, that’s the big picture.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 9:02 PM  

  • There are as many seats to be picked up in the West as in Quebec, if not more.

    Jesus almight, EXACTLY.

    I'm not even a Liberal for god's sake, and even I can see that any party should never take a seat for granted. Do Liberals want McClellan's seat back, or no? Do they want 4 seats in Alberta, or no? As Cerberus says, no seat should be conceded - yet that's exactly what most Liberals are saying - "Let's just concede Alberta". Wow, great strategy. Harper never conceded in Quebec - there's something to learn from that.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 11:19 PM  

  • There is a major difference between the Conservatives in Quebec and the Liberals in the West. Harper appealed to Quebec federalists disappointed with the Liberals. The West has very very few of those kinds of voters THAT willing to take the plunge.

    Sure I'm not saying the Grits should abandon the west. But I'm saying that in Quebec they were once at 44% of the popular vote and holding 36 seats out of 75. In Alberta they once held 4 of 26 at their height in 1993. Even in BC, Liberal strength is at its highest in 15 years. They won 9 of 36 seats in 2006. In total that makes 13 of 52 as compared to 36 of 75. (Of which the Liberals now hold 9/13 and 13/36)

    Percentage-wise, there are more potential voters (and seats) in Quebec than in BC/Alberta for the Liberals. That makes Quebec a better target in general, and hence surrendering it in favour of BC/Alberta is a poor strategic decision.

    Which is what you are doing if you choose Kennedy. You are choosing to strategically surrender Quebec.

    Its the same reason why you would not choose Rae, since he is so weak in Ontario.

    In my opinion, the only candidate at this time that has shown the strength necessary to appeal to canadians across the country is Ignatieff. (and I don't like him very much either).

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 12:45 AM  

  • Jason Bo Green:

    It is important in a country as politically diverse as Canada to realize that you cannot appeal to absolutely everyone.

    There are seats that you cannot win. There are provinces where you'll be demolished.

    Should you fight for them? Sure! Should you expect to win them? Hell no! Should Bush pour millions of dollars and man hours into trying to win California? Or Washington DC? No! A party needs to prioritize and Quebec should be the Liberal priority because they have a proven record of being able to win there! If the Liberals were on the verge of being obsolete I would encourage them to take the plunge and go for Alberta. But they're not. They're only slightly behind.

    Harper had a masterful strategy for winning Quebec that was based off of very good timing and a respectful approach to Quebec provincial authority.

    Chretien had a 'slow and steady' approach that over 2 elections gained the Liberals solid control over Quebec by proving the Bloc to be irrelevant.

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 12:55 AM  

  • "Canada's Afghanistan mission has changed since the Liberals lost power and the Conservatives came to power."

    Don't believe for a second the lies now being touted by the Liberal Partisans. When the troops were first deployed, it was estimated that as many as 200 might not come home. Everything was known that is known now. And the mission remains exactly the same: to hand over to a strong Afghan Government force the control of the region, to allow the safe return home of NATO forces.

    But the mission is NOT a partisan one. It is an imperative not for one Party or another, but rather for the survival of society as we know it. (Unless you happen to favour the rule of religious exremists, as do the NDP)

    Because if we fail to defeat this enemy, they will gain strength and attack us from their friends across the globe, and kill thousands of Canadian civilians at a time of their own choosing.

    Most Liberals do understand this simple fact, even if they choose to vote in a partisan fashion. Let's not let ignorance replace debate.

    By Blogger Paul, at 3:15 AM  

  • DON’T TELL ME THE AFGHANISTAN MISSION HAS NOT CHANGED SINCE IGGY VOTED WITH HARPER!

    From March 2002 to May 17, 2006 (over 4 years) there were 16 Canadian casualties in Afghanistan

    From May 18, 2006 to October 3, 2006 (less than 5 months) there have been 23 casualties in Afghanistan

    2002 – 4 casualties by friendly fire, U.S. jet fighter pilot mistook Canadians
    2003 – 2 casualties
    2004 – 1 casualty
    2005 – 1 casualty
    2006 – BEFORE IGGY VOTED WITH HARPER – 7 casualties
    2006 – ON THE SAME DAY IGGY VOTED WITH HARPER – first Canadian female soldier to ever die in combat
    2006 – AFTER IGGY VOTED WITH HARPER – 23 casualties

    Remember 2/3 of the Liberal caucus voted AGAINST Iggy and Harper's limited debate, Afghanistan vote.

    Remember the Harper smile and Harper handshake given to Iggy after the vote.

    MississaugaPeter

    By Blogger Peter, at 4:50 AM  

  • jimtan; You think "keeping Quebec in Canada" will be on of the two big issues at the convention?

    If it is, that translates to a split on the "nation" question which doesn't bode well for Ignatieff.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:51 PM  

  • Kyle,

    Chretien did well as he was the only federalist option in Quebec.

    The Tories are back, so there is a federalist alternative.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 9:52 PM  

  • Guys as for the organizers, nobody will back a guy whose French was in that state in the month of April as it was, not after hearing that he was touted as fluently bilingual.

    YES it has improved, but organizers cannot wait until september to see if it happens either.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 9:53 PM  

  • The past 4 days MSM (including Warren) and the blogs have been criticizing Gerard's efforts in Quebec.

    Well I would not say Iggy, Rae, and Dion rejuvenated the Liberal Party in Quebec either.

    The Montreal Gazette reports:

    http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=af51a450-4a02-4b43-9e4f-cd98941ed5b2&k=74236

    that only about 10% of eligible Liberal voters actually voted this past weekend. That means:

    1. Only about 3,000 - 4,000 votes in all of Quebec were cast. That comes out to about 1,300 votes in all of Quebec for Iggy; about 1,100 votes in all of Quebec for Dion; and about 900 votes in all of Quebec for Dion. These total numbers are pathetic.

    2. With over 1,200 delegates coming from Quebec, that is about 1 delegate for every 3 votes. It just does not seem fair when I know of ridings that had hundreds of Liberal voters and only 14 delegates were chosen.

    IMO, if the Montreal Gazette article is correct, Iggy, Dion, and Rae are no better (and probably worse) candidates to rejuvenate the Liberal Party in Quebec than Gerard.

    By Blogger Peter, at 12:05 AM  

  • CG,

    "If it is, that translates to a split on the "nation" question which doesn't bode well for Ignatieff."

    There is no split on Quebec. MI is not in touch with Liberals. He says what he pleases.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:32 AM  

  • Paul,

    "Don't believe for a second the lies now being touted by the Liberal Partisans. When the troops were first deployed, it was estimated that as many as 200 might not come home. Everything was known that is known now. And the mission remains exactly the same: to hand over to a strong Afghan Government force the control of the region, to allow the safe return home of NATO forces."

    You are wrong in several respects.

    Paul Martin's government agreed to join NATO's adventure into southern Afghanistan because NATO called in its markers. This was despite the obvious American failures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    As has been mentioned, most Liberals have no appetite for a civil war in that country. The intention was to serve our time, and hand over to another NATO contingent. Harper and McKay have changed that intention.

    They will now carry on “until the mission is finished.” Unfortunately, it is our soldiers and many innocent civilians who will be finished. In the last six months, our soldiers have discovered that they have many enemies and few friends. This is not reconstruction. This is an exercise in brute military force.

    The neocons are wrong. It is not a war between civilizations; nor a war between civilization and terrorism; nor a war between democracy and fascism. The simple truth is that the neocons are bunglers who have created disorder and civil war in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are no credibility in their confrontation with Iran and North Korea.

    The conflict in Afghanistan is now a civil war. Unfortunately, there is no “strong Afghan Government force” to rescue NATO. There is no strong Afghan government. There is a weak Karzai government that is propping itself up by allying itself to warlords and dubious elements.

    NATO is far short of the resource that is needed to stalemate the rebels, much less ‘win’. All it can do is rely on its firepower, which bodes poorly for the ‘mission’. We need to find a political solution. Without a peaceful solution, we must extricate ourselves before NATO sprinkles cluster bombs like the Israelis in Lebanon.

    Here are my comments (posted as jimtan) on Malaya and Vietnam.

    http://thetyee.ca/Views/2006/10/03/Afghanistan/

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:16 AM  

  • We provide home help services, home help Darr

    By Blogger quirin, at 6:53 AM  

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