In what La Presse is calling “a gesture without precedent since Stéphane Dion became leader,” a senior Liberal organizer in Quebec is complaining. This would seriously depend on your definition of precedent, but it’s still worth noting.
The fellow in question is Steve Pinkus, one of the party’s two anglophone vice-presidents in Quebec. I have met him briefly and he is a bright, personable fellow. The story has him saying the party’s Quebec wing is a “dysfunctional family;” that the party’s Quebec president, Robert Fragasso, is in open war with its Quebec political organizer, Céline Hervieux-Payette; that Desiree McGraw, a prominent Montreal Liberal with impeccable environmental credentials (she organizes workshops for Al Gore. I am not making this up) had to withdraw as a potential candidate to replace Paul Martin in Lasalle-Émard because she couldn’t get her phone calls returned; that the party has fewer nominated candidates today than it did a year ago; and that recent attempts to fix all this amount to “a band-aid on a gaping, infected wound.”
It’s not entirely without precedent. Here‘s Steve Pinkus last September, calling the party’s situation an “implosion.” But the point is debatable: is an implosion the same as a gaping, infected wound? Probably as a rule of thumb the Liberals should resist the urge to organize a series of town-hall debates on that particular question.
But while it will not go unnoticed that Pinkus organized for Michael Ignatieff during the leadership unpleasantness of 2006, he is not saying anything different from what I’ve heard from other Liberals. One used the word “toxic” five times in three minutes. Again, it is not clear who to blame, but that is usually a clue that you’re not looking high enough. Fragasso and Hervieux-Payette, after all, have the same boss.