Reading Lysiane Gagnon's column in today's Globe & Mail (the article, like many with the Globe, was not posted online for public consumption), I was struck by this line about Stéphane Dion:
"Mr. Dion will not be able to shed his negative image in Quebec. And he won't get any help from the Quebec section of the party, which is under the spell of Mr. Ignatieff. Mr. Ignatieff was overwhelmingly the favourite Quebec candidate at the leadership convention, whereas Mr. Dion had virtually no support in his home province."
This follows a similar description in a recent column by Chantal Hébert:
"Given that the province's Liberals massively supported Ignatieff bid for the leadership, it has been easy and ultimately only too convenient to see a conspiracy under every Quebec rock that has tripped Dion along his uncertain way. Without Ignatieff's supporters there simply would not be much of a Quebec Liberal wing."
Both writers are simply incorrect, at least in terms of how they describe Dion's alleged lack of support from his home province during the 2006 leadership race.
According to the CBC's Super Weekend page, Quebec delegates split like this: Ignatieff won 401 delegates, Dion won 292 and Rae won 248 (results for other candidates, totalling about 5% of the rest, aren't listed.)
Democratic Space posted the following results for Quebec:
Ignatieff 39%; Dion 29%; Rae 25%; Volpe 3%; Kennedy 1%; Brison 1%; Dryden 0%; Hall Findlay 0%; and Undecided 1%
There's no doubt that Michael Ignatieff won a plurality of Quebec delegates during that leadership race, about 39%. It's even fair to say that Ignatieff likely took a majority of Quebec delegates on the fourth and final ballot at the leadership convention (although, of course, we have no way to verify this.)
But to describe the 2006 leadership results with statements like, "[Quebec's] Liberals massively supported [Ignatieff's] bid," (as Hébert did in her March 31 column) or, "...Mr. Dion had virtually no support in his home province," as Gagnon described today, is simply false and bad journalism.
Dion won 30% of Quebec's delegates! He actually led the Quebec vote after Day One of Super Weekend voting, as most might recall. I'm not saying that Mr. Dion is without his Quebec problems today, but enough of the revisionist history, please!
In their bids to undermine Mr. Dion's leadership, it seems some writers are more than happy to ignore the facts.
CTV is playing the revisionist game too today. Don't these media types know we can verify their mistakes?
"Although Dion is a native son, his deputy leader, Michael Ignatieff, had much higher support in Quebec in the 2006 Liberal leadership race..."
Again: Iggy got 39% in Quebec, Dion got 30%, Rae got 25%. While one could write that "Ignatieff had higher support in Quebec than Dion," I'm sorry, but writing, Iggy had "much higher" support misrepresents history just a bit. According to CTV's definition of "much higher," one could also say the BQ, with a nine point lead over the Tories in Quebec today, have "much higher" support in that province too.