Monday, February 26, 2007

Mountain Meets Molehill

I find Chantal Hebert hard to read most of the time. Hebert's ability to spin every issue into an assault on Dion is quite telling. Newsflash, Chantal Hebert hates Stephen Dion, her grudge is obvious. The latest installment comes from this editorial, titled Trudeau Bid Spotlights Liberal Infighting:
In provincial Liberal circles, the sheer fact that Trudeau is running in a winnable seat is seen as confirmation that St├ęphane Dion's honeymoon has truly run its course, a sign that the new leader is not doing well enough in the polls to resist being second-guessed by the Ontario power-brokers of his party.

Dion and his francophone advisers resisted the pressing calls to find Trudeau a top spot in their Quebec line-up. They refused to award him one of their soon-to-be vacant Montreal strongholds. They suggested that he engage in a David-versus-Goliath battle against Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe instead.

The timing of Trudeau's announcement last week – on a day when Dion, who was delivering a major Montreal address on the Afghan mission, should have been the only Liberal focus of attention – spoke volumes about the ongoing malaise between the new federal leader and his first Quebec star candidate.

Infighting apparently means that all Liberals must hold the exact same opinion. If there is a strategic difference it translates into fractious posturing, and a sign of trouble at the top. Huh? Trudeau isn't an easy question, and his running must fit into the grand scheme.

Hebert offers some serious flaws in logic to make her point. First, she argues that Trudeau isn't getting a top-tier riding, then offers the following:
the Liberals would have to be in real trouble to fail to win back Papineau in the next election.

So, the riding is pretty safe? She assumes that Trudeau should win, then contradicts that notion with this:
Vivian Barbot is the kind of candidate every federal party is headhunting for. With strong roots in the Haitian community, she was the first member of a visible minority to lead the Quebec Federation of Women. At this point, her contribution to Quebec's public life outranks Justin Trudeau's by a long shot.

If Trudeau wins the nomination, his battle against Barbot will make Papineau a riding to watch.

Is it the "riding to watch" or a seat Liberals should win? I can't quite tell from the commentary. It looks like a pretty safe seat that could easily remain BQ. Okay, that sounds consistent.

Heberts insinuates that anything less than the red carpet, littered with flowers, means an anti-Trudeau sentiment within the Dion powerbase. Why does it translate to "infighting"? Maybe, just maybe, it is more a discussion of how best to use a "rising star", and weigh that within the greater good for the party. In my mind, Papineau seems a logical choice, not a slam dunk, but one that a high-profile, charismatic candidate can win and put another seat in the Liberal column. Sounds like a good strategy from here.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am glad it's not just me. I read the article this morning and went... huh? I didn't see the logic in her discussion either. Was kind of strange actually....like she was pushing it out and grasping to try to find something negative to say.

Steve V said...

Hebert actually said a few nice things about Dion last summer. When Dion came out against the Quebec wing "nation" proposal, she turned on him hard. I challenge anyone to find one kind word since then, her bias is almost embarrassing at this point.

lance said...

This:

"The timing of Trudeau's announcement last week – on a day when Dion, who was delivering a major Montreal address on the Afghan mission, should have been the only Liberal focus of attention"

does speak volumes though, no? Politics is all about controlling the message. Trudeau completely controlled the media on a day that Dion came out with a solid policy in the same city.

That isn't just bad; that's completely irresponsible, unless it was intentional. I guess it could have been an accident, but if so, Trudeau should have known better.

Cheers,
lance

Anonymous said...

The article seemed pretty clear to me. Trudeau's lot asked for "slam-dunk" riding. Dion's lot said "go run against Duceppe". Some "discussions" occurred and Papineau is chosen. The article then goes on to explain that Papineau would be a "slam-dunk" riding, except for the fact that the BQ incumbent is a strong candidate. The fact that neither camp got what they wanted, leads Hebert to think there is some "infighting" going on and what reinforces that idea is the fact that Trudeau trumped Dion's Montreal headlines. She then goes on to explain that the Liberals seem to be developing a plan to split the progressive vote in a number of ridings by running high-profile candidates against popular progressive candidate from other parties, possibly setting the stage for Conservative candidate wins in ridings that would otherwise be far from their reach. Pretty straightforward really.

Steve V said...

Dale

Hebert is just fishing. Trudeau making his announcement on the same day as Dion's appearance says more about logistical failings, than it does trumping anyone. Lack of communication doesn't translate to "infighting", nor does a discussion of where best to run. Do you think there haven't been discussions with Rae, Kennedy, Findlay?

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I've generally enjoyed reading Hebert's articles and although I don't always agree with her, she seems to have a very good pulse of where the Quebec public is. I get the impression that Pierre Trudeau while still very popular in Ontario, is not all that popular in Quebec. Much as the NEP is why he is hated in the West, especially Alberta, bringing the constitution home without Quebec signing it really angered a lot of Quebecers and some have even said this was what ended the Liberal dominance in Quebec (prior to 1984 we usually nearly swept Quebec, while since then we have not once won the majority of seats in the province).

Now I do think Dion is quite well liked in Quebec, but Dion is no Trudeau. Although he is tough on the separtists, he is not seen as a centralists who will ignore Quebec's interests at the expense of English Canada, whereas many Quebecers feel Trudeau did this, rightly or wrongly.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve

Just thought that the article was easily understood (there seemed to be some confusion as to what points Hebert was trying to make, whether correct, incorrect, biased or unbiased).

Steve V said...

dale

Maybe I'm biased about Hebert's bias.

Dr. Tux said...

Steve,

Count me in your camp. Hebert has been anti-dion for some time. I've had some brief discussions with her, and I can tell you that from those discussions I came off with the distinct impression she was anti-Dion.

Gayle said...

My recollection of the Trudeau "announcement" was that somehow the media got hold of it and then caught him at the airport where he confirmed it. There did not seem to be any planning involved. It seems funny to make an announcement while heading from the ticket counter to the security gates.

Steve V said...

orchard

I hate some email exchanges with her, and she flatly rejects any claim that she is biased against Dion. Of note, for what it's worth, I'm still waiting for one positive word since those emails.

gayle

I wasn't aware of the circumstances for Trudeau's announcement, that just makes the whole discussion even more irrelevant.

lance said...

If you believe Trudeau was ambushed at the airport, and casually mentioned that he would run, I've some seaside real estate here in SK for you to purchase.

Stop being silly.

Cheers,
lance

Gayle said...

Well lance - was there some big announcement that I missed, because what I saw was Trudeau walking through the airport while the reporter said something to the effect of tracking him down at the airport where he confirmed the rumour.

So, if you know of any information about an "official" announcement, I am all ears.

lance said...

Gayle, the fact that there was no official announcement _is_ my point.

Trudeau did what his father did and what Harper is doing. "Just another guy."

Trudeau is a household name, y/n? Where did the "rumours" come from? How did a whole camera crew just happen to be at the airport? They don't hang around our airports for fun. Mtl isn't a small airport, how did they just happen to find him in the Air Canada VIP lounge? (that's where I've heard they 'found' him)

What I meant, was that the whole thing was staged from the get-go. Very well done, too.

Cheers,
lance

Gayle said...

"How did a whole camera crew just happen to be at the airport? They don't hang around our airports for fun. Mtl isn't a small airport, how did they just happen to find him in the Air Canada VIP lounge? (that's where I've heard they 'found' him)"

Possible - OR they could have heard the rumour, and when they contacted him to confirm were told he was at the airport and then tracked him down there, because, for a television news program, actual face time interviews play much better than the photo of the phone with the telephone interview played over top. The film definately showed him walking in the airport, so I do not know anything about the lounge.

So, sorry, but I simply do not think it is "silly" of me to take the report at face value. Not that I think this is an important issue, I just do not like being called "silly". I'm silly that way :).

Steve V said...

gayle

Your point is important, and it speaks to the fact that there was no conspiracy to upstage Dion, as is it implied. Simple lack of co-ordination, a touch of freelancing, but nothing to suggest the "rift".