It’s not every day The Gazette in Montreal calls on voters to snub the Liberal. Especially not in provincial politics, where the realistic alternative to the Liberals has usually been the dreaded Parti Québécois. The paper was, for that reason, cool to the Equality Party breakthrough in 1989, and I suspect you’d have to go back to 1976, when anglo contempt for Robert Bourassa’s early language laws had a lot to do with the PQ’s historic victory, for a really clear case. (Years later, Stéphane Dion told a bespectacled young Gazette reporter, “You anglos! You’re always shooting yourselves in the foot!” while his press secretary vigorously kicked his leg under the lunch table.)
Anyway, today my alma mater winds up on the editorial page and vigorously smacks poor Jean-Marc Fournier about the cheek and jowls for his role in a little Liberal game of electoral bait-and-switch over municipal mergers in 2004. It’s a feisty read. The paper’s backhanded endorsement of the ADQ candidate is hilarious. As a bonus, if Fournier did manage to lose what must be an awesomely safe Liberal seat, he’d be free to go back to working for Michael Ignatieff, albeit a little dented for the wear.
I don’t know if any editorial can really move votes in today’s atomized news market, but The Gazette reminds us all, at a handy moment, how useful it is to have editorials written at home by people who know their community instead of being factory-produced by a company man in Toronto or Winnipeg. The latter method just doesn’t seem very populist.