He said the Liberals will be stumping in Quebec in early 2012 to pick up votes that now appear to be up for grabs. “I’m going to be spending quite a bit of time there in the new year and doing what I can to have an impact.”
Reads of this blog will know I've gone on and on for years imploring the Liberals to devise a more robust and AGGRESSIVE Quebec strategy. Whenever I have had an occasion to speak with anyone of substance in the Liberal Party, my first question always revolved around Quebec. Despite some fits and starts, the Liberals haven't articulated any clear outreach in Quebec, certain imperatives and festering problems rarely dealt with. There has been a certain passivity apparent within the Liberal ranks. I recall asking a core OLO francophone, with the former Leader's ear, about Quebec and received the most mundane of responses, basically not much to do until the election (this from someone with intimate knowledge of the province, seasoned and respected). I was stunned to be quite honest. Not a defeatist attitude, but almost a casual view, rather than assertive, I've never felt any URGENCY within the thought process. The NDP had that urgency, and that's how they became the default "second choice" in the province, first winning a seat, then becoming more credible, finally a leader who appealed to increasingly fertile ground. Meanwhile, Liberals seemed okay with a narrowing audience, we had our bastions, beyond that a growing irrelevance of the highest order.
I understand Liberals have had many internal issues, the Coderre fiasco, many other organizational problems, but these problems always struck me as excuses. The NDP had NO organization, proving that one should never limit themselves within a simple discussion of nuts and bolts. I want Liberals to see Quebec as "anything is possible" rather than limiting our appeal, based on outdated language and approaches. Better to try and fail, than to not try at all, and sadly, for wide swaths of Quebec, the Liberals have failed to reach out in any substantive way.
I'm encouraged to hear Bob Rae will make Quebec a key thrust for himself and the party moving forward, because whenever I run the electoral numbers, our health in Quebec is a key consideration. A hunger and urgency, armed with a fresh and inclusive presentation, we might just surprise ourselves.