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Blue Blogging Soapbox
...rambling rants, thoughts and musings on mostly political topics - from your late night blogger.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Windsor Star - 5 days, 5 CPC Endorsements 
(en francais)

Tuesday through Saturday. Five days, five editorials endorsing the Conservative Party of Canada. No ambiguity here.

Tues: The election: Canada needs a change
Wed: The U.S.: It's time to mend fences
Thurs: After Kyoto: A chance for better air
Fri: Ottawa's culture: A Tory plan for change

National unity: An opportunity on Monday

Windsor Star
Published: Saturday, January 21, 2006

If your Canada includes Quebec, then your Canada cannot include another Liberal government under Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Liberal corruption under Martin's predecessor Jean Chretien, laid bare with explosive revelations almost daily at the Gomery inquiry, caused support for the separatist Bloc Quebecois to crest beyond 50 per cent in opinion polls.

Martin attempted to exploit that sentiment at the beginning of this campaign when he declared this election a referendum on Quebec separatism. His tactic, a dangerous one considering the disdain Quebecers held toward the tarnished Liberal brand, was designed to frighten soft sovereigntists and disgruntled federalists back into the Liberal fold.

Martin hoped fanning fears of Quebec secession would convince a hostile electorate to hold their noses and vote for the Grits. He also hoped to convince the rest of Canada only the Liberals could stave off the Bloc and prevent the paralysis of another unity crisis. His strategy appears to have backfired for two reasons:

The first is this election isn't a referendum on national unity and Quebecers know it. They are savvy voters. They have twice rejected secession and tend to maximize their clout by siding with the victors in national elections. Quebecers know this election is nothing more than an opportunity to pass judgment on a tired government bereft of vision and beset by scandal. They know a vote for the Bloc Monday is not the same as a Oui vote in a future referendum.

The second flaw in Martin's strategy -- and one he likely couldn't have fathomed when he embarked on this campaign -- is the stunning rise in the fortunes of the Conservative party, which secured only nine per cent of the popular vote and zero seats in Quebec during the last election.

Opinion polls in Quebec indicate support for the Conservatives has surpassed 30 per cent while support for the Grits has plummeted as low as 12 per cent in some polls. Support for the Bloc has fallen to the extent that the Tories are actually ahead of them in two Quebec City districts.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper won an endorsement this week from the French language daily newspaper La Presse and also an endorsement from Mario Dumont, the leader of the Action Democratique du Quebec, a provincial party with five seats in the National Assembly that commands 15 per cent popular support. Harper has also won praise from Quebec Premier Jean Charest, a Liberal, for promising to address the fiscal imbalance and provide Quebec a voice on the international stage.

The rise of the Conservatives in Quebec is fuelled by more than animosity toward the Liberals. It is fuelled by Harper's belief that a strong Canada must be composed of strong provinces and that repeated federal intrusions into areas of provincial jurisdictions have hurt rather than helped create a prosperous and united nation.

The Liberal party is no longer the party of national unity and, in many respects, is no longer even a national party. The party holds just two of the 42 seats in Alberta and Saskatchewan, eight of the 36 seats in British Columbia and just three of the 14 seats in Manitoba. The Liberals won 21 of 75 seats in Quebec in 2004 but are poised to be wiped off the map.

Quebecers are embracing the Conservatives as a viable federalist alternative because they resent the Liberals and their role in the sponsorship scandal. The majority of Quebecers do not resent federalism and they do not resent Canada.

They want a change in government, just like other Canadians, and the Conservative party can provide that change while promoting national unity from coast to coast to coast.
Day by day, editorial by editorial, dispelling the myth that Windsor is simply a labour town. This city is much more complex and sophisticated than people would have you believe. On Monday the 23rd of January, the voters of Windsor-Tecumseh are about to demonstrate that.

Paul Synnott at 7:30 a.m.    | en francais | Go to Top|

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