08.04.2012 08:43 AM

In tomorrow’s Sun: looming disaster – and the only solution

More than the B.C.-Alberta pipeline fracas. More than the premiers demanding more for health care. More than transfer payments to have-not provinces, or even whether we should have a province-led national energy strategy.

The Quebec provincial election. More than any other provincial issue, that is the one — comme toujours — with the greatest implications for Canada and Canadian politicians. No other provincial concern comes remotely close to the high-stakes contest now underway in the province of Quebec. The outcome will define our national politics for years to come.

Here’s a possible scenario, in 10 problematic steps. It ends with a solution.

One: The remarkable political career of Jean Charest comes to an end, with a loss on Sept. 4 to the separatist Parti Quebecois leader, Pauline Marois. For months, polls have shown Charest is either behind or tied with his PQ rival. If Marois wins a majority in the first week of September, it is difficult to see how Charest can remain at the helm of his party. Federalism will have lost its most effective francophone advocate since Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien.

Two: Global, national and sub-national economies will continue to slide. Unemployment will go up, growth will go down. In Quebec, where Stephen Harper is the most detested prime minister in generations, the PQ will do what it has done many times in the past — it will blame far-away anglophone Ottawa for Quebec’s economic woes.

Three: Harper — with precious little caucus representation in Quebec, and even less credibility — will get more unpopular with Quebec voters. His stands on energy, the environment and social programs will continue to rankle progressive Quebecois.


  1. John Lennard says:

    I agree with you that the tenth step is especially problematic.

  2. GFMD says:

    The Harper Conservatives have consistently put their own party above the welfare of the country. If they think Quebec will never support them, they may not try to keep it in Canada very hard.

  3. Tim Sullivan says:

    I like Trudeau. I am weary of the messiah complex that Liberals have about what will save the party, save the country. What we need is a good, well-financed, hard fought leadership contest with a lot of strong, credible candidates.

    Trudeau is but one of the possible candidates. His entry into a leadership race will be at some personal expense, for sure. Call it a sacrifice. However, we need others to enter who will also sacrifice for the better of the party, the country.

    Mark Carney needs to be in there to provide strong, credible public service / monetary policy position. Andrew Leslie has to be in there to give us the strong military side with financial implications he is intricately familiar with. We need a whole host of others who, for selfish or altruistic reasons, want to lead the Liberal Party who may be able to lose an election or two. We need the party members to have a long view of success, not a 2-4 yr myopia of who’s the messiah lately perspective of which we are a victim. ALL. THE. FUCKING. TIME.

    We do not need the electoral losers, the ones who cannot win and have marginal policy, organizational or popular strength.

    And when it is all done, when we have a leader, we shall rally around him or her or they have to get out of the way and shut-up. We need to raise the money needed for the next election and to fend off any and all ads from the NCC and the CPC.

    We need the LPC to set the damn rules so we can get this leadership underway. We need to collapse the provincial wings, wrap up the commissions unless they can raise more money, contribute valuable policy or recruit credible and win-able candidates locally in a majority of ridings.

    We need to review who is at headquarters, keep the good ones from the commissions and the provincial wings and lose the deadweight.

    We need to re-locate HQ to a more reasonably priced, less high-profile location where actual work can get done. How about somewhere in the south end of Ottawa, like a warehouse where, during off-election time, we store local riding signs, posts, desks etc …. and during elections, bring in the extra staffers, war-room and all that jazz.

    We need to have Turner, Chretien, Martin, Dion and Iggy out there raising money and shutting-up about leadership. We need to have the policy platform set, costed and published soon after the leadership. We need to get the ads out and the whisper campaign started about corrupt election practices of the CPC and the crypto-separatist bent of the NDP.

    We need to start now. Today.

  4. Michael Bussiere says:

    Brilliant. Justin Trudeau armed with the Charter and the Clarity Act.

  5. bigcitylib says:

    Nice dream. Pass the bong, starchild.

  6. Tiger says:

    Hey, the national question is all that the federal Liberals have got left, to pry those left-side Liberal voters back from the Dippers.

    So Trudeau’s clearly the right Hail Mary pass to throw.

  7. Po'd says:

    The 10 step program, casting aside the demons and culminating in salvation.

  8. Anne Peterson says:

    Is Lillian in charge of presenting one of Harper’s trial balloons? I have often wondered if his ego or his narcissism, or whatever motivates him would suggest to him that if Quebec is no longer part of Canada he would have a better chance of remaining in control. And if the maritimes were not there he would have his own little kindgdom like Robert Mugabe. Do I think he’s a man who would wreck the country for his own personal benefit. Guess I do. But we will not let him, will we? I want Canada as it is in all it’s richness. I took my granddaughter to Quebec City last summer and if we lost it we would be SO much poorer. Besides people in BC don’t like him either. And Manitoba is NDP. Kingdom gets smaller and smaller don’tcha know, Lillian.

  9. Dan says:

    Again, I think the separatist sentiment in Quebec is overstated. It’s overstated in provincial politics, and it would be overstated should the PQ win. Keep in mind that when the election first loomed, the CAQ had a ton of momentum. If those voters are re-parking with the PQ, it’s not because they’re becoming more separatist. It’s because they’re looking for a way to kick out the Provincial Liberals.

    Charest is an ex-Conservative who has upset plenty of progressives. And even if you’re the kind of guy who loves it when the Liberals become more and more like the former Progressive Conservatives, you have to admit it’s fucking hard to hang onto provincial dominance for longer than 10 years. (Especially if you live in one of the more diverse and populous provinces.)

    The ex-factor in all this is still Harper. No matter how much I believe that separatism is on the wane, it wouldn’t take much for him to fan the flames. And truthfully, three referendums in, I’m not sure English Canada would be particularly sympathetic if Quebeckers became more and more upset with Ottawa. So I have to concede, an increased separatist sentiment is a distinct possibility, especially when the Prime Minister has a divisive “firewall” view of his adopted home province.

    I have no idea why you think Justin Trudeau would be a solution.

    PIERRE. He’s the one who fought the separatists, with courage and intellect.
    Justin. He’s the one who said “maybe I’d think of wanting to make Quebec a country”.

  10. Wow….quite a wish list there Warren.

  11. As for point four, diverting the public’s attention from (mainly) economic woes, well, yes it’s easy AND no public was ever diverted against their will. (Without their consent, yes; against their will, no) Can the people grow to learn not to be diverted? Beats me. But I recall Pierre saying that he dared to bring back the charter from Britain because he thought people can indeed grow.

    I wonder if, in Quebec, another “Kinsella” is encouraging citizens to keep their eye on the ball.

  12. As for point five, diverting the public’s attention from (mainly) economic woes, well, it’s very easy to do AND no people were ever diverted against their will. (Without their consent, yes; against their will, no) Can the people grow to learn not to be diverted? Beats me. Yet I recall Pierre saying he dared to bring the charter back from Britain (even though this scared people) because he thought the public could grow to meet the challenge.

    I wonder if in Quebec there is another Kinsella encouraging citizens to keep their eye on the ball.

  13. J.A. says:

    As a Quebecoise transplanted to Manitoba decades ago, I can only marvel at the high degree of jealousy against Quebec in Western Canada. Manitoba is proud of its francophone communities, but tends to forget that these were originally built from the work of Les voyageurs from Quebec. Harper plays to the antiQuebec sentiment sometimes eg his use of the word “separatists” when he speaks in English to refer to nationalist parties. Many westerners also still speak of Pierre Trudeau with scorn and overlook his great achievements for Canada. Maybe it is the narrow mindedness of the rural areas, or maybe the drinking water, but something makes political attitudes here just plain regressive, easily swayed by the Cons xenophobic rants. I still miss living in chaotic Montreal.
    Warren’s predictions in this article are only too likely to happen. WK= smart fellow.

  14. Doug says:

    Charismatic. Pretty. Son of a former Prime Minister.

    Only one position makes sense for this man. Won’t you help him fulfil his destiny, help him reach the heights for which he was born?

    Vote Justin Trudeau for host of E Talk Daily.

    • kenn2 says:

      It was the beard. Focus groups didn’t poll well on that Champlain tuft thing.

      Oh well, politics is fun, too.

  15. Robert Ede says:

    Mr Liberal-Party-to-the-bone Kinsella’s provocative-for-its-own-sake TorSun piece shows he’s being coached by old Myron Baloney videos – he started at the end … and worked backwards … back-filling the middle 8 steps (the first step is a given) to create the minimum-words-to get-full-pay column we see here. see http://majorityofcanadians.blogspot.ca/ for an independent poli-econ view

  16. Bil H says:

    i read this looking for actual insight. i found a justin trudeau commercial.

    Are quebecers serious this time, and does ROC really care anymore?

    how will canada react to a successful referendum for the PQ? Beg someone to convince them to stay? Tell them to not let the door hit them in the ass on the way out?

    what will the trade war look like and what is the possibility of violent conflict?

    what will happen to the canadian currency? What will Quebec use?

    how many decades will it take for the two nations to actually have a working relationship, and who loses in that scenario?

    how will the US react given the smoldering hatred of the US in Quebec ?

    all of that is more interesting and concerning than who wins the next federal election.

  17. Dennis Hollingsworth says:

    Some contributors here manage to confirm that they are stuck like glue to their armchairs and pretty much removed from reality … on the ground, campaign trail … where campaigns are WON Or LOST !!
    W.K. knows and fully appreciates what a total kick-ass campaigner CHAREST Has Always Been & Continues To Be.
    I see Female Voters taking a very serious and closer look at P.Q. Leader Pauline Marois; and deciding she’s really not much more than a Sanctimonious, Two-Faced Bullshit Artist, Frump, from the Bush.
    Legault and his CAQ are untested / untried; and Legault is yesterday’s news. The Student’s are in over their head, and their corresponding get-out the vote numbers will probably remain very low.
    Quebec Voters have had enough time to connect with their Buyer’s Remorse tied to having elected the Dippers, sight unseen & untested / untried.

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