Been down so long it looks like Rivière du Loup


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.


Been down so long it looks like Rivière du Loup

  1. Well said.

    Isn’t it an interesting statement on the Liberals in Quebec that the most apt comparisons to it are a party that had, up until last year, basically fringe party status and looks doomed to return to fringe party status as soon as a provincial election is called?

    Wouldn’t you, if you were a Liberal, rather be compared to the PQ or PLQ instead? (You know, mighty champions who are down as opposed to the guy who grabs everyone’s attention by streaking across the field during half-time?)

  2. Um, no. I am a Liberal, from Quebec. ( I know, I didn’t think any of us remained either.) It would be very offensive to be compared to the PQ. It’s equally offensive to Qbecois (what happened there?) Liberals to call the PQ “mighty champions who are down”. It resembles calling, the family values party (I take no responsibility for the existence of this party. My cousin in Saskatchewan told me about it.) the same. No ‘real’ party is going to be pleased to be compared to a doctrinaire party.

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