June 17, 2005

Politics: The Man Who Would Not Be King

So Spooky has decided not to become leader of his own country, eh? And now the Parti Quebecois is trying not to vote for a girl because, well, they're icky or something. (Actually, it's brcause she's not hard-line enough for some tastes. Bienvenue a Canada.) There's even talk of re-enlisting Bernard Landry, in a move reminiscent of the NDP begging after Ed Broadbent when he left the leadership a couple decades back. Not the most impressive sight.

(Potential Emperor Update: 3 declared, no favorites yet)

Duceppe says he believes he can do more for the cause of seperation in he stays in the Federal government; this, in combination with a minority government, has led to some very interesting manouvers over the past few months, though not as strange as when the Bloc Quebecois formed the Official Opposition. The full title is Her Majestys Loyal Opposition, and don't you think that stuck in more than a few craws on the way out...

The end result is that the perpetually embattled Qubec Liberal Party has gained a little breathing room, which Jean Charest (the man who would be Saviour) could turn into another government, which could be good for Canada.

Could?

Canada's a better place with Quebec than without. So why the lukewarm emotion for a federalist win in a potentially seperatist province?

Because, while the federal Liberals are as close to the Quebec Liberals as they are to the British Columbian Liberals, or the Ontario ones (ie. each regards the other with suspicion at best), is a staggering federalist party really the best option? If they cock up this time around, the next general election could not only blow away the feds, but hand the provincial keys to the seperatists as well.

Which had me pondering what good Quebec is to the rest of Canada. It is an added dose of lifeblood to a fairly staid nation, certainly - culturally, it's a phenominal boon. Internationally, it brings us into closer contact with about a quarter of the world. Politically, it's one of the most liberal/socialist states in the world.

Yes, I consider that a good thing - don't get fresh.

Which brings to mind to the constant rhythm pounded out whenever the seperatists come anywhere near power in Quebec: "Only the Liberals can save Canada!" Which is not just irresponsible fearmongering, but also wrong. The Conservatives have been in power there before. (Okay, the last time was in 1891, but that counts, right?) More to the point, the Conservatives have been trying to gain ground there for a generation now (think Meech Lake) and may well have a breakthrough in the next federal election.

Interesting bit of paradox, that: the most liberal region may vote in Canadas most conservative party. The tom tom of Federalism ("The country is falling! The country is falling!") is still going to be hammeredout to the crowd, so the voters who are opposed to seperation will vote whoever they believe will defeat the Parti Quebecois; so far, that's been the Liberals. If the Tories can convince voters there that the Liberals need a solid thrashing for the current scandal, then the Conservatives will become the Only Party That Can Save Canada (tm), and those votes swing to that party. Talk about a province that needs PMS!

(Side note: I'm of the opinion that blaming PM Dithers for the sponsorship scandal is a bit like blaming Kennedys chauffeur for his assassination: sure, he was there, but...)

Of course, it's not like the Conservatives are entirely free of scandal in Quebec. Which tells me why the NDP, who you'd think would be a natural for the area, can't make headway: they're too bloody honest.

Wait. That can't be right.

But that's really the ony reason I can think of: they don't play hard enough to buy the support needed to win in Quebec. Their platform is one that allies itself to the political left, much like the BQ: in fact, Spooky recently said he couldn't support the NDP-revised budget because it gave tax breaks to auto manufacturers. The PQ and BQ have the left side sewn up, leaving the federalist parties to fight for the "right" votes, but since there aren't enough of these to make a government, they also resort to scare tactics. But if the NDP could stop the fear that the Liberals and Conservatives are selling, putting a rational face on federalism, then they might pull some votes from those folks who approve of a leftist stance, but only have the Bloc or Parti to choose in a federal of provincial election.

And that would be a good thing.

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posted by Thursday at 5:45 pm

2 Comments:

Blogger Gazetteer said...

Hey T'Day.

Just in case you didn't know, even HST once weighed in on the Quebec question.

For the straight dope, see my latest HST Friday edition.

10:42 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

Already read it!

I like this addition of yours.

2:53 pm  

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