Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Better Know a Riding - Papineau

Welcome to part 2 of my 308 part series - better know a riding. Today, Papineau!

The riding of Papineau is, appropriately enough, named after a political family - Joseph Papineau and his son Louis-Joseph Papineau, famous for his political leadership and trendy hairstyles (pictured here), which would later be mimicked by future Papineau MPs as a tribute to Louis-Joseph. After engaging in protest, politics, and armed rebellion, Papineau helped found le parti rouge, a temporary ad hoc rainbow coalition which initially opposed the Union of Canada but would later sit in a coalition government with the grits in 1858...for less than 1 day, as part of Canada's shortest serving government ever (the government collapsed after Gilles Duceppe changed his mind about running for its leadership).

Today, Papineau is Canada's smallest riding and it has the lowest average family income in Canada...which, on the bright side, means the voters there didn't lose a ton of money today.

2006 Results
Vivian Bardot (BQ) 40.7%
Pierre Pettigrew (Lib) 38.5%
Mustaque Sarker (CPC) 8.3%
Marc Hasbani (NDP) 7.7%
Louis-Phillipe Verenka (Green) 3.6%

2008 Candidates

Vivian Barbot (BQ): This 67 year old (pictured above challenging Justin Trudeau to a thumb war) was a busy rookie in the Bloc caucus as Duceppe's intergovernmental affairs minister. Her long and distinguished career began...oh, who am I kidding...OMG JUSTIN TRUDEAU IS RUNNING!!!

Justin Trudeau (Lib): Trudeau was born Christmas Day 1971 and has been a political star ever since. He burst onto the Liberal Party scene at the last leadership convention when his well time endorsement of Gerard Kennedy catapulted the then third place Kennedy all the way to...fourth place. Since that convention, every single female young Liberal in the country has, at some time or another, had a picture of herself and Justin Trudeau as her facebook profile pic. Trudeau captured the Papineau nomination in April of last year.

In 2005, Trudeau married Sophie Gregoire and in 2007 the couple gave birth to their first son, Xavier Trudeau, already considered the frontrunner in the 2054 Liberal leadership race (slogan: "Mark an X for Xavier"). Oh, and he's also got a bit of an acting career on the side, playing yet another Papineau - Talbot Mercer Papineau - in an a CBC mini series.

Mustaque Sarker (CPC): Mustaque is looking to lose for the third straight time in Papineau...someone should really tell him that the way to get into the Senate as a Quebec Conservative is not by running for the party repeatedly, but by not running.

Costa Zafiropoulos (NDP): Costa seems like a quality candidate, his one weakness being that he is not the son Canada's most famous Prime Minister.

The FLQ Kids: The "Jeune Patriots" are a group of separatists who have launched an "anybody but Trudeau movement" in this tight Liberal-Bloc riding. Their official reason for protesting is that Trudeau refuses to recognize Quebecers as forming a nation...the same recognition that the Bloc Quebecois called "un cadeaux vide" in their recent commercials. The leader of the Patriots recently told journalists that if Trudeau (who they are working to defeat) won the seat, "it could even help our cause [of separatism]", perhaps explaining why the separatist movement isn't exactly the danger to Canada it once was...

Predictions: 79% of you who entered my election pool predicted a Trudeau win in Papineau and I tend to agree with that consensus. It's certainly a riding well tailored for Justin and the kid is a tireless campaigner hell bent on earning his ticket to the show. It's far too early to start talking about Trudeau for leadership but the Liberal caucus in Quebec could certainly use some fresh blood and Trudeau will provide just that.

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