Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Another day, another handful of pundits take their swipes at Dion

As we see again, Chantal Hébert surveys the political landscape in Quebec and finds, big surprise, everything is bad for Stéphane Dion. His prospects in Quebec are about as gloomy as Jean Chretien's were in 1992, go figure. She even takes a swipe against Dion's appointment of Gerard Kennedy as Intergovernmental Affairs Critic, widely seen as a great move for Ontario.

And by the way, if indeed the NDP are at 15% support in Quebec, do they have the ground troops and the local campaigns to sustain that kind of support? Or is this support merely a blip, people parking their votes while disenchanted with the Bloc? Normally that kind of discourse would find its way into a fair journalist's analysis of new poll numbers, but not today.

Anyway, I've given up looking for fair assessments from most political pundits, many of whom have their own agendas it seems. Take former Tory advisor L. Ian MacDonald today. The headline says it all: "Dion and his Liberals are in deep trouble in Quebec." Yes, the Liberals seem to be at a low ebb in that province for the moment. The leader has a lot to do to resuscitate his reputation after months of attacks and, yes, federalist voters seem to be parking with the party that's now forming the federal government. In reality, the Liberals are at the same level they got in 2006, and the Tories are only four points higher than 2006.

But what disturbs me is how these commentators seem to only be taking snapshots of the current political situation and pretending nothing will change until voting day. They seem to think Stéphane Dion is not going to do anything to improve his bad numbers, as if he's never shown any ability to react to difficult circumstances, face adversity, plan ahead and come out on top in the end. Have they not been watching this guy over the course of his career?

Of course they have, but these pundits don't care. They're trying to scare English Canadians into buying their anti-Dion bias, to make us believe things are so dire that Mr. Dion should probably step down right now. Of course that won't happen. Nor will things remain as bad as they are now. It's politics.

Over at Bourque, more links to anti-Dion stories.

But all is not bad - check out this column in the Sun of all places.

I truly hope Dion takes this pummeling to heart and fights back soon. It would sure make me feel better.


NDP Leader Jack Layton seems to want more by-elections soon. This is strange for a guy who just saw his vote collapse in two Toronto by-elections, plus go nowhere in Vancouver Quadra and northern Saskatchewan. Of course of the possible by-elections on the horizon - Westmount-Ville-Marie, Saint-Lambert, Guelph and Don Valley West - none hold any prospects for NDP breakthroughs.

I know the NDP have talked optimistically about Guelph recently. They shouldn't. More on that later...


Greg said...

And by the way, if indeed the NDP are at 15% support in Quebec, do they have the ground troops and the local campaigns to sustain that kind of support?

They have tons of cash and are hungry for Quebec seats. They will pour in a lot of resources to take seats from the Liberals in the Montreal area.

Matt Guerin said...

Greg, which seats will the NDP be targetting? A quick scan of all Montreal ridings shows the only two with support marginally above the NDP average in 2006 were Outremont and Laurier-Ste-Marie. I'd love for the NDP to knock off Gilles Duceppe for sure. But I don't see any other seats the NDP can win from the Grits. Those incumbents are pretty much entrenched, as far as I can tell.

Wheatsheaf said...

Your post is hilarious. Thanks!

You ask some good questions about the NDP resources in Quebec. It will be interesting to see the outcome there in the next election.

However, your main premise that MSM is being unfair to Liberals is funny. I have long thought NDP bloggers existed only to rant against the shabby treatment that their party gets at the hands of the MSM (e.g. look at any Bill Curry article in the G&M relating to the NDP). Now you go off an cite a bad headline and a few links to Bourque and the Sun as your supporting evidence. Come on, it is more telling that the Toronto Star is prints critical articles about the Liberals.

Also, as to the by-elections - the NDP has a chance in Guelph with Tom King.

Oh, and I nearly forgot - can you provide proof of your assertion that: "[...] Dion's appointment of Gerard Kennedy as Intergovernmental Affairs Critic, widely seen as a great move for Ontario." Especially from Quebec sources, because Hebert is writing about the point of view of this move in Quebec. Personally, I think Ralph Goodale should have been the critic of Intergovernmental Affairs...

Matt Guerin said...

Tom King has a chance to win in Guelph? Now that's hilarious. At best, he'll hang on to third place in any by-election or general election. And I say admitting he's a good candidate, but certainly not a star or particularly well-known in the Guelph community. A weaker NDP candidate would be in fourth place for sure, as the Dipper placed in the provincial election in Guelph in 2007.

I expect the Green to make the most gains in Guelph and the Tories to flatline at 30% at best (what they got in 2006 when the Tories won 35% across Ontario), especially considering the nomination shenanigans there. The question then remains if the Liberals can do better than 30% and win it, and I expect Frank Valeriote will be able to do more than that. I'll be posting on Guelph likely tomorrow with more analysis (born and raised in Guelph and co-chair of Brenda Chamberlain's 1993 campaign, I think I do have some expertise on what's going to happen there.)

As for Kennedy's appointment, he's close with the McGuinty Grits having served in that government. That connection will pay off in spades for the Dion Grits in Ontario.