Been down so long it looks like Rivière du Loup - Macleans.ca

Been down so long it looks like Rivière du Loup

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So my weak and lame attempt to live-blog the Quebec by-election results last night — WordPress permits BlackBerry BlogGing (what’s with all these capiTal letters in the midDle of wordS?) (but I digress), but it doesn’t encourage it — actually produced an insight.

Wait. That sentence is entirely incomprehensible. We begin again.

Something occurred to me while the other parties were keelhauling Mario Dumont last night, and it’s this: If, hypothetically, the Dion Liberals get results even 10 points better than the ADQ did in ridings like the ones where the by-elections were held last night, it’ll be seen as proof that the Liberals don’t “get” the “real” Quebec, that the party is a slave to the Anglo oppressor, blah-de-frickin-blah.

So what, Mario Dumont — son of the wolfy river, the loamy soil of le Québec profond caked on the very soles of his shoes — doesn’t get Quebec either?

This is a handy reminder that Quebec is not a mystical place where eerie, magickal codes are needed to pierce the inscrutable heart of the francophone voter. It’s a place where a few home virtues — consistency, clarity, generosity, thoughtfulness — go a long way, and where random flailing doesn’t. A place much like other Canadian places, in short.

None of this is meant to dismiss the Dion Liberals’ current difficulty in Quebec or the Harper Conservatives’ modest breakthrough there in 2006. It just helps explain those phenomena, or to warn you against a set of explanations that don’t wash.