Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What About Quebec?

As Dion tours the country, I can't help but wonder where Quebec fits into the Liberal strategy. Quebec has been largely absent from the cross-country sales pitch to date, and while the summer is still young (or middle aged as the case may be), I find the omission concerning. It's sort of my pet peeve, this sense within the Liberal hierarchy that Quebec doesn't offer many short-term opportunities for the Liberals, because ultimately, without the convenience of the former divided right, any hopes for the future of the Liberal Party will be a rebirth in Quebec.

IMHO, and I've said this before, this summer should have been about Quebec first, second and third, the focus on rebuilding the Liberal brand and Dion's image in his home province. Realism suggests the status quo will be the best the Liberals can hope for next election, possibly a couple of pickups, but nothing extraordinary. That reality misses the point in my estimation because it implies resignation. Armed with a new policy, which polls show might have more appeal in Quebec than other regions, I would view it as opportunity.

I had heard that Coderre was set to blitz all Quebec ridings this summer, a pledge I haven't really heard much on (anyone?). That's great, but for the Liberals to turn any corner, the perception of Dion is the starting point. Where are the sit downs with Quebec paper editorial boards, where are the television appearances, where are the townhalls, where's the buzz?

It's good to hear that Westmount is being taken seriously, the Liberals seem to be "in the game", a fact Conservatives seem prepared to acknowledge. It would be nice to sense that same seriousness elsewhere in the province, because at the moment the opposite is more evident. Now, of course this could all change, if Dion comes off his vacation with an emphasis on Quebec. It will be interesting to see the rest of the summer unfold, and the schedule will speak volumes about Liberal strategy moving forward.


Anonymous said...

"That's great, but for the Liberals to turn any corner, the perception of Dion is the starting point."
If Dion seems uncertain about bringing down the Harper government in the fall, this only confirms his image as an indicisive leader. How can he motivate the voters and the donors?

Steve V said...


I think it pretty certain, but only a fool completely telegraphs his intentions. That's a big NOTHING in my view.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I wonder if Dion might be taking some Q-beck support for granted based on their traditional support for environmentalism. With Dion's refocusing on green issues and building his entire campaign around environmental policy, has he gained back some Q votes?

Anonymous said...

just a guess, but Dion probably has Quebec dates sceduled thru Aug to coincide with the 400th anniv events.

knb said...

jimbobby, I highly doubt it. He knows what is at stake.

I agree completely Steve and have been wondering about this for a while.

I don't know if it's not happening or it's just not being covered.

Anon @1:59 has a point. Additionally, a lot of manufacturing shuts down for 2 weeks in July.

That doesn't preclude doing town halls of course.

Dion is on vacation this week and has 2 engagements that I know of in Ontario in Aug.

Steve V said...

"I don't know if it's not happening or it's just not being covered. "

I've sort of followed where Dion has gone day to day, and apart from maybe missing one appearance, I don't think he's done anything in Quebec since the "tour" began. Now, maybe August is the month, if that's true then fine, but given the current weakness, not to mention the fact this plan might just resonate better in Quebec, the omission is disappointing.

knb said...

Oh, I think you're right Steve, I was referring more to others in the party. Activity in Quebec in general.

Hopefully August is the month.

Steve V said...

Well Coderre was supposed to visit 70 ridings, so he better get busy ;) I have scanned some Quebec papers, and I never see much.

Angelle Desrochers said...

a factor maybe that it is the annual 2 week holiday break (last two weeks in July)in Quebec,(at least for all the contruction, and related industries) The month of August is very close.
Sometines a simple explanation is available, and think about it who would want to be leave their vacation for those events.
A bientot,

Steve V said...


That may well be, and as I said, the summer isn't over. Just more curious than anything.