Because in Quebec families, all the men wear identical blue dress shirts to breakfast


Both the Conservatives and the Liberals are emphasizing “team” in Quebec. The Liberals, to more broadly distribute the burden. The Conservatives, to make you believe there’s a team. They’re letting Christian Paradis talk? That’s a serious breach of protocol!


TRANSATLANTIC UPDATE: If you’re wondering where the Liberals’ slogan (“Ensemble tout est possible”) comes from, wonder no longer:



Because in Quebec families, all the men wear identical blue dress shirts to breakfast

  1. Fiscal prudence! There was a sale at Moores, buy 3 get one free.

  2. Paul,

    any word on the trail about why the Liberal campaign is so slow to start? They are not on message, they are floundering in Ottawa/Montreal region while Harper and Layton are already crisscrossing the country. Their ads are simple and not in a good way..

    The Liberal campaign is moving like molasses. Now where have we seen this before… hmmm.. 2005/6 maybe? Does nobody over there learn??

  3. To be honest, I was waiting for Jose Verner to throw her orange juice at Harper and say “remember that time you canned me from CIDA and replaced me with Bev Oda? I mean BEV ODA for gods sake!”

  4. Wow, that’s a helluva good Tory ad. I mean, man. Love the slow-mo at the end. And the quick shot of Harper’s coffee, though I notice no one was eating. Reminded me of the Last Supper scene in “Les invasions barbares,” but a bit more upbeat.

    The blue shirt meme is obviously part of the hidden agenda.

    Seriously, the Liberal ad looks incredibly weak (not to mention short) in comparison.

    I never thought I’d be cheering for the goddamn Bloc.

    Sarkozy looks like a freak in that ad. Check out his shoulder-wagging in the initial bluescreen part. Too strange….

  5. Riley, I’m probably in the worst place in Canada to judge the Liberal campaign: I’m with the Conservative campaign. Actually, through the fog of war, it seems to me the Liberals are doing better than I’d have thought. Their air campaign shows some wit, and reviews for Dion’s performance are mixed, which means they aren’t uniformly awful. But then I’ve had my expectations in this regard lowered rather profoundly in the past 20 months.Maybe that was a clever strategy! Or not.

  6. That Quebec Tory ad is wicked!

    They should be airing it in Alberta!

    I can just see Monte Sol— sorry, Laurie Hawn and Rahim Jaffer campaigning under that catchy slogan, Le Québec prend des forces.

    And that Quebec seat at Unesco? A sure vote-getter in Newfoundland or Manitoba. Why isn’t the rest of the country getting to see these wonderful ads? Break down the solitudes!

  7. Notice how no one wears a tie until after breakfast – to avoid any unpleasant incidents with the sirop d’érable.

  8. I’m sure we’ll see some regionally targeted English language ads as the campaign goes on, particularly in BC.

  9. David 9:46 – I guess you’re another anglo-canadian with the nostalgia for the central-canadian Trudeau vision of Canada vs. the separatist wars of yesterday. The Federal Liberals and the Bloc also yearn for those days, it was their raison-d’etre. Most Canadians and it appears most Quebecers, have lost their appetite for those battles of old.

    The PQ finished third in last year’s provincial election. Will the same fate befall their federal brethren? Here’s hoping.

    Quebec nationalism is only a threat to Trudeau and his acolytes.

  10. Wasn’t it the fence-sitting nationalists in Mulroney’s government that let to Harper et al starting the Reform movement in the first place? Now he’s all but begging to father their children? Pathetic.

  11. Assez déjà! The Lib’s are pulling from Sarkozy?

    Cute and a well done post.

    ‘Blue shirts’ could become a meme unto itself.

  12. Seriously folks, is anyone in Medecine Hat really give a rat’s behind if Quebec has a seat in Unesco? Trudeau maybe, Coyne maybe, Clyde and Paul Wells maybe, but joe blow from Maple Creek, Saskatchewan could care less. You have to be in Trudeau’s constitutional straight-jacket to get worked up about that.

  13. Paul,

    you were wise to have low standards for Dion.

    But I’m not sure one can get any more pathetic than claiming to have a medical condition that makes it difficult for him to relate in English (but not French) (on CTV).

    He admits there’s no name for this affliction. And then there’s this (from CTV):

    “Asked why he only spoke up about the problem now, during an election campaign, Dion said he doesn’t know why and said he shouldn’t have.”

    A hail mary pity pass is pathetic on its own. But coupled with an immediate admission that the toss was a mistake….well that’s gotta be one for the record books.

  14. I look forward to a similar blue shirt breakfast in Ontario:

    “…hey, c’mon, you know Jimmy was just kidding about that “last place to invest” stuff and that Van Loan, threatening to redistribute federal seats out of Ontario, what a joker!

  15. One more quote (from the same CTV post):

    ..I’m in a cocktail (party) and everybody speaks at the same time, I have difficulty,” Dion said. “It affects my ability to catch the music of the beautiful language of English.”

    That’s what I like about Dion. A guy an ordinary Joe can relate to.

    Just yesterday I was shooing pool with the guys and we were talking about the English language being “beautiful music.”

  16. Just watched the Tory ad again. It does kinda feel like group therapy at the Betty Ford Clinic. The uniforms, the positive reinforcement, the declarative sentences. I’m sure it will fly high now, but it will look damned odd in fifty years.

  17. “Assez déjà! The Lib’s are pulling from Sarkozy?”

    Not entirely true – “tous ensemble” was a motif in Ignatieff’s speech at the convention in 2006, and I’m pretty sure this is just building on that. If anything, Sarko is stealing from the Liberal Party.

  18. Alas, TV commercials aren’t the only bad acting the Conservatives are doing for Canada…

  19. Fifty years? Try fifty days.

  20. Yeah running around claiming their copyright law is “made in Canada” is pretty ham-fisted acting too.

  21. Sauf que les chemises bleues, if I were in Quebec and voting purely on the strength of slogans and how much cash it looked like they dumped into a commercial, I’d vote Conservative.

    Unfortunately for Steve & The Gang, I think Quebecers are a bit more discerning than that… and again, they seem to have forgotten the whole “policy” thing. Not much substance. (Not that there is much in this particular Liberal ad, either, but on a per-second basis I’m pretty sure there’s more…)

  22. I didn’t know Jose Vermer COULD speak.

  23. Maybe it’s just having been brainwashed by the commercials every time I turn on the TV, but the repetitive “c’est possible” in the French add reminds me more of the “Yes we can” motto of a Obama, than Sarkozy’s add, even if the final slogan wording is more similar to Sarkozy’s.

  24. Is it possible that the Conservatives flooding the airwaves now with commercials will lessen the effect of the ads at the end of the campaign? You literally can not watch television in Canada without seeing a conservative ad lately.

  25. “Their air campaign shows some wit, and reviews for Dion’s performance are mixed, which means they aren’t uniformly awful”

    As far as I am concerned, whenever I see mixed reviews about Lib performance it means they are in dire straights and the media knows it but aren’t willing to give up their role of protecting their mates in the Lib party.

    To me, it doesn’t seem the Libs are trying very hard. They are getting dire reviews from Quebec media and if the Libs can’t perform in Quebec they are in big trouble indeed. Right now, it looks like worst ever election for Libs in Quebec in an awfully long time but you wouldn’t know it if your only read non-Quebec news sources.

  26. Paul, what’s this about a cut to diesel and jet fuel? I hope you will give us the inside track if you are at the event!

  27. “As far as I am concerned, whenever I see mixed reviews about Lib performance it means they are in dire straights and the media knows it but aren’t willing to give up their role of protecting their mates in the Lib party.”

    Way to keep an open mind!

  28. Paul, forgive me if my memory is a bit hazy, but isn’t the Liberal slogan a riff on the Yes side slogan from the 95 referendum? I seem to remember it as “With Yes everything is possible”.

  29. “Oui…et ça devient possible.” Roughly, Say Yes and it becomes possible. The image would illustrate what the “it” was: peace, a clean environment, prosperity (with the loonie).

  30. Jack M

    I am open to persuasion on many topics but the rather cozy nature of the relationship between reporters and Lib pols is not one of them.

  31. I was gradually arriving at that conclusion, jwl.

    But you see that this means you can never trust anything you read, right? If the Globe says Harper campaigned in Saskatchewan, he might well have been in Manitoba and it was just a conspiracy to keep SK in the dark; if the Globe says that Dion is looking happier, it’s just a conspiracy to get him elected.

    I’m afraid it will inevitably end with airtight rooms, long fingernails, etc. I hope not.

  32. The Tory ad is Reservoir Dogs-like at the end. (I’m sure someone else can come up with witty jokes about “Mr. Blue” and “Little Green Bag.”)

    Also, in terms of election readiness, once the (now useless) by-elections were announced, the NDP and Liberals had signs up immediately in Westmount. The Greens and Bloc and Conservatives…not so much. Probably about a week until I saw Green or Tory signs. I’m sure that’s all irrelevant with respect to a nationwide campaign, though.

  33. kody,

    I don’t like Dion but the condition he described, which sounds like an Auditory Processing Disorder, IS likely to affect a second language more than a first language. The issue at hand isn’t that he can’t hear things, it is that background noises make it hard to distinguish words – at the very least he processes those words more slowly than most people, because say “conscription” sounds like “circumcision”.

    Generally in one’s first language, one has a larger vocabulary, and can quickly grasp the context of the discussion. That isn’t true for the first. I would argue that most of George W. Bush’s communication problems stem from a similar root. Bush actually does well in one-on-one interviews (look at Tim Russert – a tough interviewer – talking to Bush, or Bush in Ireland), because there is less of a need for code-shifting and less background interference.

    Dion is clearly intelligent, and capable of leading the country – he has few explicit linguistic gaffes compared to say, George W. Bush, who has the advantage of speaking in his first language.

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