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.