Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quebec Is Killing Liberal Fortunes

The latest EKOS highlights the underlying reason why the Liberals are in "disarray". On the national front, the Conservatives lead is down to 4.6%, and nobody can brag about 31.7% support for a sitting government. However, this storyline will continue to be muted, and the Liberals will remain the focus, until on simple thing changes- the Liberals get some traction in Quebec.

You might be surprised to know that despite the lowly 26.8% national total, the Liberals actually lead in Canada's most populus province. EKOS gives the Liberals are very respectable 36.1%, 4 points ahead of the Conservatives. If nothing else, these findings prove once again that Ontario is beyond volatile, the latest story can change fortunes dramatically. Of note, the Liberals also lead in Atlantic Canada.

Turning our gaze to Quebec, we see another pathetic 18.9% score for the Liberals, a number which is now commonplace. I would submit, that most of this merger, Liberals in freefall conversation, would be muted if the party was simply doing better in Quebec. The Liberals were in the 30's for more than a few months, then drifted back to the high 20's and its been downward since. Even if the party had MODEST numbers in Quebec, you can add a couple points nationally, and SUDDENLY you've got a close horserace and most of these "storylines" run basically as background noise.

If the people around Ignatieff really want to strengthen his hand, then everyone should be focused on getting some bloody traction in Quebec. These numbers are dragging down our national numbers, they are the underlying reason why all these questions swirl around the party. I'm not suggesting a couple points translates to a juggernaut, but given how little movements are routinely amplified, nobody who watches this game can dismiss the impact.

The Liberals have plenty of problems, but in terms of appearances, figuring out a way to boost our prospects in Quebec is job one, and in so doing, we might just find other issues lose their supposed urgency.

21 comments:

bigcitylib said...

"If the people around Ignatieff really want to strengthen his hand, then everyone should be focused on getting some bloody traction in Quebec."

Got any ideas? For example, fighting for the gun registry to their last breath and, if it does get killed, blame Jack Layton.

Steve V said...

That's a good issue.

In a more general sense, I see absolutely no Ignatieff presence in the province, nada, nothing. There is nothing happening to suggest anybody sees urgency in Quebec, no thrust, no major speeches, no attempt to get in the news. Since Coderre, I've seen little of consequence.

CK said...

Honestly, Iggy is too Americanized for Quebec and he's from Toronto. As most may know by now, your garden variety French so-called soft nationalist resents leaders from Toronto just as they resent folks who live in Westmount (rich Anglo area in Montreal).

Plus, like many Harpercon cheerleaders, Quebecers are still holding fast to the sponsorhip scandal. They believe the yes side would have won had it not been for that.

For the Liberals to have any kind of chance would require a new leader. Preferably somebody with a French sounding name (ok, Mulroney was an exception, but he's not from Montreal's west end neither; he's from one of the regions; small town Quebec).

Between my coworkers, aquaintances and friends, they seem to like Domenic Leblanc; many (English speaking, naturally) like Justin Trudeau too and even said if he were leading, they would go back to contributing to the Liberal party.

Trying to salvage Iggy in order to prevent Bob Rae from taking over is absurd. Both of them need to go and I don't get why this all has to wait until after the next election; it will be too little; too late then. Harper will have his majority and try getting rid of him after that. Won't be possible.

RuralSandi said...

Perhaps if Layton spent as much time or more attacking Conservatives instead of the Liberals he might aid in getting rid of Harper.

Mother/child and women's rights might be something to dwell on.

william said...

Again, speaking as a candidate in QC... I am in the media every other week, presenting different platform pieces, attacking Cons and BQ positions, letters to the editor, consulting with community groups, attending events. The past 4 months I've hosted 5 MPs, in the next two and a half another 5 at least.

What the hell else am I supposed to do????

Oh, wait, hope that other candidates do the same thing, which most aren't...

Oh, and get the leader here more than once a year...

Scott Tribe said...

CK, you are far too gloomy, sometimes.

Annie... said...

It also does not help with Jean Charest..A Liberal is a Liberal.....

DL said...

"Honestly, Iggy is too Americanized for Quebec and he's from Toronto. As most may know by now, your garden variety French so-called soft nationalist resents leaders from Toronto"

Jack Layton is much more identified with Toronto (he's actually lived there for the last 40 years compared to Iggy's last 4 years) than Iggy is and he's the most popular federal politician in Quebec.

Steve V said...

Yes, Quebecers love Layton so much they are at a whopping 12% and have one lone seat. Pretty much Layton mania. It just proves approval levels for 4th party leaders are indicative of little.

ol lib curmudgeon said...

Maybe Denny Coderre could reign in his self interest and start working for the party

DL said...

The NDP as a party has to deal with not being seen as "viable", but everytime Quebecers are asked who would make the best PM - its almost always Layton and we saw in the Angus Reid poll that if Layton led a Liberal Democratic party - he would sweep Quebec while the new party would flop if led by Ignatieff or Rae. Clearly Quebecers dislike SOME Toronto politicians and like others. Is this supposed to be a surprise??

JimmE said...

William,
While both your & Steve's points are valid there is another issue that Candidates in Quebec & elsewhere need to examine, ie, Doors vs Air.Far too often the candidate wants the central party to do it all for them while the CANDIDATE cuts ribbons & attends political events.
At present, there are 3 things EVERY candidate should be doing & we would see Liberal numbers rise (the present Leader notwithstanding):
1-KNOCK on Doors Every single day. (Have someone go with, & take notes, never go out alone
2-Have some smart folks enter the info from the doors into a database.
3- Follow-up with the people you meet.
You may already be doing this, but doing doors now until a writ is the way to connect to voters.
I may suggest if the Leader set this kind of example it would go a long, long way in EVERY region, including la belle province.

Steve V said...

DL, didn't it ever dawn on you, that the lack of viability is the chief reason Layton has always done well on this question? Best pm is the funniest one.

Tof KW said...

I’m not that enamoured with the prospects of a merged Lib+NDP party, but if it stifles the self-righteous indignation of militant dippers like DL …well I see one good reason for merger right there.

CuzBen said...

Easy solution:

"A Liberal government would re-organize the Ministry of Sport so that Quebec fields its own hockey team at the Olympics and the WHC in the same way Scotland and Northern Ireland field their own soccer and rugby teams in the UK."

Done.

JimmE said...

Cuz,

So yer solution is for Canada never to win an international team sport again? (I think we are talking Toronto Maple Leaf era the one & only time England won the world cup.)

RuralSandi said...

CK - 1988 Ed Broadbent had a 40% popularity rate until and electection - he and the NDP plummeted in the polls.

I remember Layton and his shenanigans when on Toronto Counsel. One time he was suspended because instead of attending council he was protesting with Eatons employees.

Do you believe CK that if Jack Layton was PM and there was a labour dispute that may be ridiculous in demands by unions that he would do the right thing for taxpayers? I don't.

william said...

JimmE,
Yes, I hear you on the doors, and do it now and then. Problem is I am running in a riding the size of PEI, so events and media are the best way...again, if we just had our candidates doing that, we would be ahead of the game...

Marpman said...

Ok DL...let me see if I follow your logic.

Layton is more popular than Harper or Ignatieff, but the fact that he only has 1 seat in Quebec is that he represents the wrong party. If he was the leader of the Liberal party they would win.
I don't think this popularity, especially between elections translates into true votes. Easy to like someone who will never be PM.

I think you are proving Steve's initial point. Ignatieff still cannot resonate with the voters of Quebec, nor is his presence significant.

Personally, I am not in favour of a combined party. I find that Layton consistently plays the hostage game, then flips. I actually think there is less of a platform for the NDP than they would want you to believe.
However, I am sure these meetings go on all the time within the highest ranks of these parties. I am not against it if it moves forward legislation which helps the Canadian people and keeps the Tories in check.

I hope we have an election soon. Whether the LPC has enough seats to unseat Harper is not the issue...we need to present the issues to the people. There are just too many things that Harper has done and walked away from, we need to let the Canadian people decide if they think this is ok.

Jerry Prager said...

Canadians - but Quebecois even more - like their intellectuals to know their own minds. Until Ignatieff finds a principle to stand on most of us will have very little respect for him. He is massively under-performing against his opponent and won't stand up to someone most of us dislike much more than we dislike him,. So besides having no principles which he is not willing to sacrifice in the name of peace in the home, he also has still not produced a vision for taking us in a direction that leads us away from all those ways currently taken by the demagogue who governs us.

Give Quebecers a thinker who knows his own mind.

dupmar said...

Conservative Party supporters are becoming unhinged on the subject of Quebec, and I don't think you are paying enough attention to this development - how often the theme of let's give Quebec the boot comes up for discussion on blogging tory blogs.

It is starting to catch the attention of some of their few francophone blog supporters in Quebec - for example Tym Machine - in recent exchanges in his own blog and Iceman's blog, where the usual array of Quebec-haters told him to take a hike.

The attitude is well summed up in a recent posting on Hunter's blog, where she argues:

"As for the government going in the right direction? Quebec slants the numbers. They are so used to sucking at the governments teat that they just can't imagine standing up on their own. Good luck with separating, if you don't want to go, the rest of Canada wants you to leave! I suggest we hold a Canada wide referendum, because socialist Quebec will be booted out of Canada so fast, they won't know why they were complaining in the first place. Let the whining begin."

Quite appropriate sentiments for supporters of the governing party.
As I have stated, we have not one, but two separatist parties in Canada's parliament, and one holds responsibility for governance, muzzles its MPs but allows its base to freely declare its intent.

Some commenters on Adrian McNair's blog, in a similar discussion, are not content with giving Quebec the boot, the want to see Newfoundland gone as well.

You should start making use of such material, particularly in your campaigning in Quebec, call attention to it and enquire of francophone Quebecers why they would give confidence to such people and identify with such perspective. If they wish to break up this country, they may as well vote Bloc.