Friday, September 14, 2007

Battle for Outremont

NDP election wins in Quebec are rarer than intellectual humour in a Three Stooges skit.

Yet, the polls now suggest the NDP could actually win a Quebec by-election on Monday. And what's more amazing the riding they could win is Outremont, which is not only staunchly federalist, but also staunchly Liberal.

If such a victory were to occur, of course, it would have profound implications for the Liberal leader Stephane Dion, for the Bloc Quebecois and for the political dynamics in Quebec.

First take Dion. If his party loses a safe seat on his own Quebec turf, the ballgame is over for him. He will essentially become a lame duck leader. No doubt backroom plots are already hatching across Liberal Land.

And the Bloc Quebecois must be a little nervous as well. With separatism receding as an issue, will the NDP replace them as Quebec's Left wing voice?

If the NDP does replace the Bloc and if the Liberals continue to perform poorly in Quebec, it would change the political battlefield from separatists vs federalists into left vs right.

That would suit the Conservatives quite nicely.

So keep an eye on Outremont on Monday night. A lot is riding on that race.


Anonymous said...

Is the disdain in Quebec for the Liberals at all comparable to that which was demonstrated by westerners toward the traditional parties in the late 80s?

In other words, what I am asking is: do you consider a possible NDP by-election victory in Outremont a harbinger of things to come much like Deborah Grey's '89 by-election victory in Beaver River over the PCs?

Anonymous said...

As I said in the last post, the CPC has done more to destroy conservatism in Canada than promote it.

God help us all.

Anonymous said...


Wishful thinking.

If Dion goes, enter Frank McKenna

It's all over except the crying.

Maybe Quebecers have also read this story in Bloomberg today entitled "Life is better under labour, UK conservative panel suggests."

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

It would certainly be a huge blow to Dion, but I doubt they will dump him as leader before the next election and only after the next election if he loses it. Lets remember, Harper performed terrible in most of the by-elections when he first became leader. In fact, even in his home riding, his share of the popular vote was only marginally better than Manning in 2000 despite the fact neither the PCs or Liberals ran a candidate against him. So Dion is essentially facing the problems all opposition leaders have faced initially.

That being said I do think it would be good if in Quebec issues were on a left vs. right rather than separtists vs. federalist. I am not totally sure it would be good for the Conservatives as Quebec is probably the most left wing province, that being said there are several Conservative pockets outside Montreal where they could win seats.

Anonymous said...

Best case scenario for Harper and the CPC:

Dion just barely hangs onto Outremont.

Enough to seriously weaken Dion, but not enough to force the party to oust him before the next election.