Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quebec's Tories Blow-Up Real Good

IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE SOMETHING MORE SATISFYING than watching  a Tory party rip itself apart. I remember when the federal Tories imploded after the failure of Meech Lake in the 90s. It did mean that we were stuck with Mr. Charisma, Preston Manning, for several years before he was summarily knifed in the interests of the unity of right-wing scum everywhere. But for those few years when Reform and the Tories were kicking the hell out of each other, with no prospect of them ever forming a government...ah, the good old days.
So, you can imagine the pleasure I felt when I read about ongoing flame-out by Quebec's very own wing of the Conservative Party, the ADQ. The ADQ, you may remember, was formed by Mario Dumont when the Quebec Liberals proved to be too small a party for his enormous head, also back around the time of Meech. For a long time the ADQ was a rump and then had an explosive breakthrough in 2007, going from around 4 seats to 41 and becoming the Official Opposition in a minority government situation. However, being largely made up of inexperienced yahoos, they quickly exposed themselves as incompetent and when Premier Charest called a snap election in 2008, they were pretty much wiped out, with Mario Dumont resigning and leaving politics to become a newscaster (one look at his hair and you won't be surprised). Nobody should feel too sorry for them, since they put up posters during that campaign that said immigrants were responsible for a decline of French in Montreal and suggested that immigration be frozen, while Quebecoises should be encouraged to have more babies. Dumont also campaigned vociferously against a course in schools to teach students about religions and cultures other than their own.
That brings us to the present. One month ago the party selected a new leader, Gilles Taillon, who won by only two votes. Vincent Marissal, from La Presse, described it as being akin to "being promoted to captain of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg." Pretty much right away two of the ADQ's seven sitting MNAs dropped out of the party (Conservatives are such good sports). The reason: Taillon isn't right wing enough. It gets better. Sick of the infighting, Taillon has now also resigned from the leadership and has suggested that the party was engaged in illegal funding practices and was considering calling in the cops. Nice one, Taillon, don't forget to burn down the house on your way out.
This is a big monkey wrench in the gears of the federal Conservative Party. While the ADQ weren't officially affiliated to the federal Tories, everybody knew which side their bread was buttered on. Dumont said he voted Conservative and numerous MNAs campaigned for the Conservatives in the last election. After Taillon was elected leader the ADQ announced it would cut its ties to the federal Tories. I bet Stephen Harper can hear the sound of his majority galloping away from him. Taillon is my new favourite leader of a right-wing party. 


Doug said...

The rise and fall of the ADQ has always struck me as fairly predictable - one a in a long line of right-wing populist parties that have had meteoric rises and then spectacular collapses in Quebec. Anyone who spends an hour on wikipedia perusing the electoral history of Quebec should know this stuff.

So aside from revealing the complete lack of any historical knowledge on the part of the punditocracy who wet their pants over every new shiny thing, making outrageous predictions based on the flimsiest of evidence (like the "Tory breakthrough" recently created by the pundits with the Riviere-du-Loup by-election), what is really striking is the complete incompetence of the Tory leadership in understanding the main debates and dynamics of Quebec politics and recognizing the ADQ as a right-wing protest party...maybe they just saw their Reform Party roots and went "awwww, we know what you're going through, Mario. Let's play together." The federal Tories are stupid. They don't know Quebec and now that they've burned their bridges with Mulroney, their attempts at reconstructing the old PC coalition will likely never happen.

redbedhead said...

Doug - I totally agree with you about both the shallowness of punditry, the utter failure of most in English Canada to understand Quebec, and that Harper is unlikely to be able to rebuild the Mulroney coalition that made Conservative majorities a possibility.
And the latter point is very heartening indeed.

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