Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Turmel's Turmoil Is Bad News For The Liberals

It began with the hysteria over the Sherbrooke Declaration during the recent federal election, moved on to outrage over ambiguous comments regarding their views of Quebec separatism from a couple of new MPs and now revelations of past party memberships has Canada's political class apoplectic with anger. The it of course is the political narrative being crafted that the New Democrats are the New Separatists. It's a silly narrative to be sure, but not unexpected. Creating silly narratives (see: Dion is not a leader, Harper is scary, Ignatieff is not here for you, etc.) is what the political class does best and if they weren't creating this one they'd be creating another. As far as silly narratives go though, I'll take this one any day of the week.

Why? Because seldom does a silly narrative work in your favour and this one does for the New Democrats. It has the effect of losing an entire province of voters for their opponents. And lose the province is certainly what this Quebec/separatist bashing will do for the Conservatives and Liberals.

For the Conservatives this won't be a problem. Harper has demonstrated that Conservatives don't need Quebec to win a majority. They've built a powerbase in the western provinces that offsets the need to win any seats in Quebec. But the same is not true for the Liberals. They need Quebec votes if they hope to form government or even regain official opposition status. By taking part in the crafting of this silly narrative however, they're shutting themselves out of the province. And without Quebec, they have no hope of unseating Harper which means the Canadian voters in the rest of the country that didn't vote for his party will turn to the only party that can.

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