I'm sure my bias enters into the equation when I look at the Quebec turnout numbers. Others have pointed out low turnout numbers in other ridings, but I still think people should be careful in drawing any concrete conclusions about Quebec based on such paltry representation. Apparently, only 10% of Quebec Liberals bothered to cast a vote, despite the fact that a mail-in was developed to counter the lack of ground support. Comparing Quebec to Alberta (that Liberal hotbed), it shows a striking asymetry (h/t Calgary Grit):
97 ridings (21% of the total)= 3700 votes= 38 people per riding
39 ridings (8% of the total)= 3300 votes= 84 people per riding
2.21 times the turnout in the supposed Liberal hating province, as opposed to the traditional "base" province, who's support is so essential. Imagine the disparity if Quebecer's actually had to go to the polls, instead of hand-fed to coax a vote.
Yes, Rae, Ignatieff and Dion can claim they took the province, I don't dispute that. Yes, Kennedy had an abysmal showing that hurts his chances to win the leadership. However, I caution anyone who makes the logical leap that these results speak to any widespread support in the province (the polls too are simply name recognition at this point). In that same vein, Kennedy's ability to win seats in a general election, in Quebec, should not be weighed based on the opinion of a few old-guard Liberals in the province. These results tell me that no candidate has really "connected" with Quebecers, whereas other regions have shown some interest in the process. You can't say Ignatieff would do well in Quebec, nor can you say this represents support for his constitutional position, based on such a small sample size of highly partisan operatives.
The Quebec results will play a large role at the convention. However, in my mind they say little about the candidates, other than the fact that no one really seems to have distinguished themselves. I will go further, there is nothing in this turnout that suggests any type of real "renewal" in Quebec and I wouldn't expect much of a return to glory in the next election- there is alot of work too do, these numbers support that thesis. So, as Liberals, do we choose a leader based on one province, at the expense of others, who seem to be more engaged? I think it important to look at this race in totality, and not endorse or vilify someone based on regional disparities, especially when people don't seem to care anyways.