Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sheila Has A Point: If Charest Wins Minority, Harper Loses

From the TO Sun, an abbreviated Sheila Copps:

A wrinkle may just have been thrown into Prime Minister Stephen Harper's spring election scenario.

A perfect storm -- which would sweep the Conservatives into majority territory -- is predicated on a resounding Liberal victory in the Quebec election.


Storm clouds gathering in Quebec this week test the certainty of that scenario.

Nipping at the heels of the Grits and the Parti Quebecois is a resurgent effort by Quebec's most conservative party, the Action Democratique (ADQ).


Early on, the provincial Liberals (and the federal Tories) were not concerned about the rise in ADQ support.

They were convinced any movement would take votes from their real adversary, the Parti Quebecois.

Now, Dumont is pulling from the Liberal voting pool, setting the stage for a potential minority.

The Folks at Political Staples are wondering why a Charest minority would count as a loss for Harper. Greg Staples says:

The thing I am confused about is why this is a problem for the CPC. A Quebec minority government, with the ADQ holding the balance of power, poses no risk of a referendum. Further it moves the Quebec government further to the centre/centre-right where the CPC is trying plant their flag. Finally the CPC is aligned with both the Liberals and ADQ and both parties workers can help the Conservatives in a federal election and any rise in ADQ fortunes would come from the same Quebec City area where the Conservatives are able to make gains.

From the point of view of the governance of the province of Quebec (and its effect on the ROC) a Charest minority would certainly be an acceptable result. But remember Harper and Charest arranged this election to give the CPoC a leg up on a Spring Federal vote. A Charest minority means a morning after headline something like:


Note that the phrase "loses majority" contains the word "lose".

Secondly, how do we know it will wind up to be a Charest majority? If all three major parties poll around 30% on election, the PQ might quite possibly grab the most seats and therefore head the resultant government.

As a final note, the folks at Political Staples note this line from Sheila's piece:

Harper's best-case scenario involves a popular federal budget, healing wounds in Ontario and Quebec, and providing the reason for a Charest win and a Harper bounce into election fever.

...and interpret it to mean that Harper will help finance "McAsswipe's" re-election bid here in Ontario. Does this mean Ontario will get a few billion funneled our way? Oh at long last, to get our turn at the trough!


ottlib said...

Mr. Charest is the most unpopular Quebec Premier in recent history.

The polls in Quebec consistantly state that over 60% of Quebecers want a change in government.

When Mr. Charest dropped the writ he was holding a five point lead over his chief rival and he was well below what he needed to win the election let alone achieve a majority victory.

His election strategy is designed to fight the PQ.

Now he finds himself in a campaign where he has to fight a party that is not so easy to nail down as the PQ and where he has no real strategy to do so. You just have to see his attack on Mario Dumont about a referendum to see that. Sorry Mr. Charest you are employing the wrong weapon.

If the current trend continues, it will be Mario Dumont who will be running a minority government with the PQ as the kingmaker. And that is not good news for Canada or for Mr. Harper.

We can only hope that Mr. Boisclair can get his shit together to at least split the soft nationalist vote enough to hand Mr. Charest a minority government.

Anonymous said...

quebecers are the smartest voters in the land and there is no way they'll prop up the ADQ . . . Dumont gets good press, but his party is an empty cup, full of nobodies.

But hey, how about the lesbian feminist party also running . . . . now that will scare Charest.

Anonymous said...

Another point - if the Charest minoirty has to bend to accomodate the ADQ and shift to the right, Montreal voters, (and maybe more) will want a counterbalance federally.

Anonymous said...

Harper has already begun to buy Ontario - the subway extension money which he could have given 13 months ago - but has saved it for vote buying.

What will he buy votes with next in Ontario - perhaps the $593 million towards shutting down coal plants which also could and should have been done 13 months ago.