Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Quebec and the Liberals

In reviewing potential Liberal leadership hopefuls, part of the calculation invariably surrounds how that person would play in Quebec. People are dismissed or projected based on how their candidacy would be interpreted within the province. I wonder if the last election campaign doesn't offer the Liberals some latitude on the Quebec question. Do the Liberals need a candidate that has the superficial appeals so often touted in the past?

No question, the biggest surprise of the last election was Harper's breaththrough in Quebec. I would suggest that the Conservatives rise in fortunes would have been even more remarkable had it not been for the apprehension regarding their social platform. This development allows the Liberals the opportunity to adopt a new approach in picking their next leader. Can we now assume that Quebecers don't have a "local" litmus test that must be passed for there to be any consideration?

The Liberal Party shouldn't require overt Quebec credentials as a prerequisite. I think Harper proved that Quebecers will listen to the message, despite the source. The Liberal Party is better served in developing palatable policy, rather than fixating on the superficial face. The complete lack of credibility in Quebec afforded the last two native sons, should serve as evidence of how flawed the current preference system works. Ideas, not leaders should be paramount and within this perspective votes should take care of themselves.

If a social conservative from Western Canada can put Duceppe on the defensive, what could a progressive from "insert region here" do, armed with a clear message? Hopefully, consideration for who the next Liberal leader will be predicated on Quebec credentials, because I think Harper has shown that other factors are equally important.

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