Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Ghost Of Trudeau

John Ibbitson writes in this morning's Globe that the Harper government is quietly preparing for a Parti Quebecois victory in Quebec. The Harperites are busy mapping out their game plan:

The Prime Minister will declare that he has no mandate from the Canadian people to negotiate with a separatist government over a series of measures that would lead to the slow-motion breakup of the country.
He will say as well that the Conservative government remains focused on the economy: on creating jobs, improving productivity, expanding trade and eliminating the deficit. He will urge the government in Quebec to do likewise. This is Plan A.

But, should Pauline Marois call a referendum, Harper will be up the creek. His decisions to elevate the Queen, to kill the long gun registry, and to abandon the Kyoto Accord offend Quebecers of all political stripes. In fact, Harper has been rubbing Quebec's nose in the dirt ever since he was elected -- which accounts for the five seats he holds in the province. 

That, writes Ibbitson, is why the Conservatives need Pan B -- which would involve Thomas Mulcair: "Mr. Mulcair has deep roots in the province, served in Jean Charest’s cabinet, and loves a good fight."

If ever there was a Hail Mary Pass, the Conservative Plan B is it. But what is even more interesting is Ibbitson's claim that:

At all costs, the Tories want to prevent the revival of the Liberal Party in Quebec. If Justin Trudeau were to become Liberal Leader, they would not want to see him emerging as the next generation’s champion of federalism in French Canada, and would do nothing to encourage him in that role.

The force that has driven Stephen Harper and the party he built is a pathological hatred of Pierre Trudeau. It would be more than ironic if Trudeau's son rose -- like Marley's ghost -- to haunt Stephen Harper's days and nights.


ck said...

I read another article (forget where, honestly) where They said Tom Mulcair would be most likely to play Captain Canada should Marois win the next election. I love how many of these opinion writers all jump the gun.

First of all, they all assume that the PQ will win. Granted, we're more than half way through the campaign, and the PQ remains on top at the polls, but barely. CAQ is moving up and in some polls, are actually tied at second place with the Charest Liberals. If I were Marois, I"d be nervous. If CAQ is steadily moving up, this also means they could surpass the PQ (Something that keeps me up nights, frankly. We don't need another friend for Harper).

Anyway, the first set of televised debates happens this Sunday and there was a high percentage of undecideds. Generally, Charest performs well, Marois really isn't a good speaker and we'll see about Legault and Khadir of Quebec Solidaire.

As for Tom Mulcair playing Captain Canada for Harper, well, he has a few problems with that. Paul Wells wrote about that awhile back and I touched on that in a post about why Harper has no credible allies for potential referendum on sovereignty, unlike Jean Chretien did in 95.

Even Justin Trudeau would have a problem, at least, if Harper was still the prime minister. Remember when he told Radio Canada that he could sympathize with Quebec separatists in this new Harperland? It would be difficult for Trudeau to sell a united Canada while standing beside Harper, now wouldn't it?

Another thing. I've noticed how the media and the punditry all go into panic mode when they talk about a potential PQ win. They imply that a referendum on sovereignty is automatic, or worse, sovereignty will happen withouth the referendum!! I find that disingenuous. Problem is that the center left parties of Quebec all happen to be sovereigntist.

Well, I have friends, as well as myself who are voting Quebec Solidaire, Option National and Parti-Quebecois in the upcoming election. We don't see it as voting for sovereignty. We see it as much needed change, to get Charest out and to keep Legault and his right wing CAQ out.

Also, if and when a referendum on sovereignty comes, we'll cross that bridge then.

Owen Gray said...

The simple fact has been that -- until the advent of the CAQ -- the Parti Quebecois has been the de facto other party, ck. When Quebecers want a change, they vote P.Q.

That may be the case this time. However, with a surging CAQ, Marois wouldn't have much of a mandate.

You're much closer to events than I am. But, from afar, I find it hard to make any predictions.

The only thing I'm sure of is that Stephen Harper has no traction with any of the provincial parties.

Anonymous said...

"The West wants in!"

This really means 'the west want out'. Harper and his ilk have been plotting the seperation of western Canada ever since the NEP was announced.

View any of Harper's moves through that lens and he makes sense:

Kill manufacturing in central Canada? explained

Shipping traffic through the Arctic? explained

Kill environmental regulations? explained

Inflame Quebec? explained

Owen Gray said...

We should never forget, Anon, that Harper proposed building a firewall around Alberta.

That bit of history makes any claim he makes about acting in "the national interest" suspect.