Monday, December 04, 2006

Hébert Column Refuted Before Ink Dry!

Chantel Hébert's Monday column, For Harper, a double-edged sword , filed at 1:00 am this morning, was falsified less than six hours later by this Strategic Counsel poll. In her column, Chantel retails that whole "Quebec hates Dion" line that seperatists have been peddling for years. In fact, according to Chantel, Dion is unpopular all across this great land:

At least in the short term, the outcome of the weekend's leadership convention diminishes the Liberal capacity to swiftly build a pan-Canadian progressive coalition to defeat Harper.

Outside Quebec, Dion is currently less attractive to New Democrat sympathizers than Bob Rae could be expected to be and in Quebec he is less likely to raise his party from the dead than Michael Ignatieff would have.

The new Liberal leader will need more than the few months that may be left before Canada takes a return trip to the polls to fix the latter.

More than a few months or just a few minutes? A Strategic Counsel poll, reported at 6:30 am in the Globe and Mail seems to suggest that Quebec has already embraced Dion, with 62% of Quebecers (as compared to 55% of Canadians as a whole) calling him a "good choice" for Liberal leader.

Now, of course, all the caveats for polls conducted after a successful convention and a week's positive media coverage are in place, but with respect to the Quebec approval figure, I think Paul Wells puts it best:

...if Dion were radioactive in Quebec, there would be no way to put lipstick on that pig.

There has already been speculation in some quarters (like here) that the political dynamic in Quebec going forward will have less to do with obscure constitutional issues which nobody outside of policy wonks and Star columnists care anything about, and more to do with the fact that the Libs have chosen a native son.

Not that Duceppe and Co. will not challenge Dion at every opportunity on Constitutional issues, but there is no reason to believe that Dion cannot do what Chretien did with immigration or job-training, which is to defuse nationalist sentiment by arranging the devolution of highly specific powers to Quebec and other provinces asking for them.


Anonymous said...

I would strongly suggest that you surf around a few French-language, Quebec-based forums and read the comments about Dion. Yes, people are ecstatic - and they're all nationalists. General consensus is, it's the best thing that ever happened to the separatist movement in Quebec.

Anonymous said...

chantal hebert is a bitter seperatists feeding off the Star like her coherts the Bloc feed off of ottawa. she represents no one but herself.
the seperatists are denouncing the liberals because they know they are in trouble.
wake up people!

bigcitylib said...


What else where those people going to say?

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know how spread out that support is.

Is it all in the Montreal area or can it actually be converted into votes and even seats?

bigcitylib said...


It isn't even really votes in the bag. The poll just asks whether you thought it was a good decision. Over 60% said yes, but who knows whether that counts as a vote in an election. I think the "vote" numbers in Quebec were fairly flat from the last survey.

Anonymous said...

I would strongly suggest that you surf around a few French-language, Quebec-based forums and read the comments about Dion.

You mean like the things you quote on your blog from the Canoë forums? That's just the usual from those types. Same thing when Michaëlle Jean was appointed GG. It's all emotion and clever insults.

Personally, I don't care what they think about federal politics since they reject federalism itself. It's like listening to people who think immobility is a valid approach to transportation.

bouchecl said...

As some earlier commenters said, and as a Quebecer, I don't see the big swell of support for Dion in his native province.

If we assume the Strategic Counsel poll is correct (giving 11% of the national vote to the Bloc, which translates to 43-45% in Quebec), and a 62/29 favorable rating, we must then assume that some Bloc voters are also happy about Dion being the new LPC leader!

As radical centrist said, the big time political blogs in the province (Auger @ Cyberpresse, Vastel @ L'Actualité) are filled with comments from ecstatic separatists eager to face Mr. Dion in an upcoming election.

And, what about the headline in Le Journal de Montréal (the largest circulation with 300,000) was featuring former Quebec Premier Bernard Landry saying "A Step Towards Sovereignty".

And it's not just the separatists. In a newser this morning, Jean Charest was clearly indicating his preference for Stephen Harper, waxing poetic on how great the Canadian PM was with his motion on the "nation québécoise" and the deal on Quebec's presence at UNESCO.

When it comes to Quebec, Chantal Hébert (she's a soft federalist, not a separatist, BTW) is telling it like it is, you better believe me.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I don't take seriously anyone who writes la supreme court of Canada on his blog and thinks it's clever. Oh, well...I guess it's better than working in les maudits anglais somehow.

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