Ben Meisner is a columnist/blogger for Opinion250, a radio station out of Prince George, B.C. His take on the Dion victory is the most interesting thing I've read this morning. He thinks, and isn't particularly happy about the fact, that the Dion/Kennedy partnership re-establishes the old Ontario/Quebec Alliance for the Liberal Party:
When Gerrard Kennedy crossed the floor to throw his support behind Stephane Dion, it had all the ear markings of the good olds days. Take 50 to 60 seats in Quebec, marry that to the 45 you get in Toronto along with a few more from the Golden Horseshoe and you have a nice slender majority which allows you to look after the people that you want, Quebec, Toronto and Golden horseshoe.
Will Stephane be a problem for Stephen Harper’s Tories?
Think about it.
Harper has already been courting Quebec trying to grab a few seats in that province. Who has the best chance of picking up votes in Quebec, Harper, or a francophone?
Kennedy is the darling of the City of Toronto, and there is money behind that crew.
For those who can remember, things haven’t changed much in the last fifty years. Get a francophone from Quebec as Liberal Leader and get a lieutenant from Toronto and you have winner 10 out of 10 times.
Note that he is completely unfazed by the whole "despised in Quebec" line that has occasionally been floated against Dion. And I tend to agree with him in this. Link Byfield was on CBC this morning re. the Alberta Tory leadership race, claiming that Alberta would never vote Liberal Federally as long as one of their own (Harper) led the CPC. Criticize the mind-set behind this thinking all you want, but I suspect it applies to Quebec as much as it does anywhere else. So you can count on a good portion of La Belle Province rallying behind the hometown boy come election time.
Meisner also has interesting ideas concerning Harper's popularity out West:
The people of the west already are feeling uncomfortable with a leader they supported who has failed to return the favour and so Harper’s support is thin. The very same people who elected him are now casting an eye into the sky wondering where they can turn to next.
Hard for me to judge how widespread these sentiments are. But I would note a recent Decima Poll that had the Tories trailing everywhere in Canada outside of Alberta.