Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Quebecers Don't Like Dion

Bottomline, to suggest otherwise is delusional. The by-elections are just another item to put in the ledger, every other indicator suggests the same. Coming to the realization is a healthy first-step, if there is a glimmer of hope in the next election. The Liberals are now at their lowest seat total in Quebec since Confederation and Dion shows no signs of bucking the trend.

The question we should be asking today isn't whether or not to turf Dion, but how exactly the Liberal Party goes about selling its brand, with Dion as leader. Dion desperately needs to re-invent himself in his home province and recite Trudeauisms isn't the way to do it. Speaking highly, and defending Chretien isn't wise, personal opinion aside. The challenge for Dion, bring the Liberal version of federalism into the 21st century. The old arguments are largely irrelevant, and from all indications Quebecers are moving beyond the traditional dichotomy.

Dion is known to be stubborn, but I would argue that he needs to be pragmatic, because the Liberal Party has essentially wasted another year, with no real effort to re-introduce the party to Quebecers. As a matter of fact, Dion seems content to just carry on with the usual language, no new ideas to excite Quebecers and at least present the notion that party has moved forward. We have even heard whispers that Dion is prepared to sacrifice Quebec in the short-term, hoping the "Captain Canada" routine bears fruit elsewhere, for counter-balance. I like to refer to this strategy as the suicide pact, because it ensures defeat. You don't have to play footsie with nationalists like Harper, but you do have to confront the reality of a leader who is highly unpopular in his home province. Pretend that it isn't as bad as it seems, prepare for a Harper majority and the Conservative full-monty. Quebecers don't like Dion, and anything short of a complete makeover and acceptance guarantees future failure.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I concur.

-Lib Outsider

Anonymous said...

Do you know what it means "to recant" (as in "recanting Trudeauisms")? Essentially, it is to repudiate or withdraw a previously held belief.

If I follow the thrust of your aticle correctly, it was not the verb you were looking for.

Steve V said...

Oops, recite :)

Antonio said...

"Quebecers Don't Like Dion"

FINALLY!

This has been widely reognized in Quebec for the past 10 years.

There are 230 some odd seats elsewhere, you'll have to pick from among those.

Steve V said...

"There are 230 some odd seats elsewhere, you'll have to pick from among those."

That won't work, no more divided right in Ontario for comfort.

Anonymous said...

"We must be really proud that the parties that believe in Canada are stronger* tonight". - Stephane Dion

Does this mean the Liberal Party of Montreal is going to change to a 'Canada first' policy? The Liberals have put their Party above the country for so many years now it is hard to imagine that they can change.

Mushroom said...

Coupled a unified right in Ontario with a dog fight against the Dippers in the Fraser River delta to hold onto the seats we have there. This shows that Quebec matters a lot for a party that has traditionally represent national unity.

The irony is that Dion has not been reciting Trudeauisms. He supported Meech in the late 80s and the Quebec as a nation issue. Also believed Muslim women should unveil at the polling station (this could be unforgivable). The closest to supporting so-called Trudeauisms are Gerard and Justin, and the irony is that they have more traction in certain areas of Montreal than Stephane.

The Grits need to dig a trench and ensure that Justin knocks off Vivienne Barbot in Papineau. This means walking through broken bottles in Little Haiti and convincing new voters that liberalism matters. Demographic change gives more advantage to us than Harper's Cons. However, new voters are also cannon fodder for the Dippers and you can see Layton and Mulcair licking their chops.

Steve V said...

"The Liberals have put their Party above the country for so many years now it is hard to imagine that they can change."

Pretty rich coming from a Con, who's party is currently doing backflips to curry favor. Rich indeed.

Miles Lunn said...

I agree that we cannot write off Quebec. In the case of Ontario, we can gain seats, but we won't sweep the province like we did in the 90s. Rural Ontario is probably going to go predominately conservative no matter what, the question is can we at least win some rural seats like we did in 2004, or get decimated like we did in 2006. A breakthrough in the West would be nice, but we need a fallback in case it doesn't happen. I am very confidence we will do well in Atlantic Canada, but we already hold the majority of seats there.

Now my solution is that the issue is not just Dion's fault, but rather we have lost touch with those outside Montreal. I don't know the answers, but my suggestion is to have regular town hall meetings with locals who are not members of political parties and see what issues matter to them. Sometimes stepping back and listening rather than just dictating is the best solution. Lets find out why we aren't reasonating and then we can do something about it. If we don't know the reason, we are doomed to fail.

Anonymous said...

After all said and done in the last couple of days - the new Decima poll shows the CPC and Liberals neck in neck federally - go figure eh?

Steve V said...

miles

Sounds pretty sensible from here.

Steve V said...

anon

Here is the money quote from that poll:

"For the Liberal party, these numbers reveal an opportunity dropped, at least so far; if voters seem cool to the Conservatives, they are not warming to Mr. Dion."

People don't like Harper either.

Looney in Lotusland said...

Dennis Mills on Newman today stated the issue as honestly as I have heard it. Paraphrasing; as a former Liberal MP, even I don't know where the party stands on most issues, particularly Afghanistan. Our party is in renewal and we have chosen a new leader, but what we have to do next is solidify policies and positions. We must also utilize all of the talent of the MP's who have been left sitting on the sidelines.

Now I don't know if Mills has some sort of axe to grind, but he has certainly identified the problems that I see. Reading blogs and comments most of you are writing about improving the image of the brand, new talking points and riding trench warfare strategies, rather then taking on the big picture issues head on.

Dion should not be the focus, but rather ideas, which should be expressed clearly. Not all things to all people (pragmatic?) depending on the speaker, the day and the location is neither saleable or possibly emotional. If you stand for nothing, who is going to get excited about it???