10 August 2011

Would the PM please shut up: Senior Conservative cabinet minister was BQ member for 7-plus years | rabble.ca

Would the PM please shut up: Senior Conservative cabinet minister was BQ member for 7-plus years | rabble.ca

Well, it's not April 1, and it's in the Globe and Mail just now, so presumably the fact Prime Minister Stephen Harper's transport minister, Denis Lebel, was a member of the theoretically separatist Bloc Quebecois for more than seven years during the 1990s means the federal Conservatives are either breathtaking hypocrites or they’re incompetent buffoons who didn't do their due diligence.

Nothing theoretical; it was front and centre in the platform, all along, as confirmed by party spokesmen.

Guaranteed, this story wouldn't have rated two inches on page B97 but for the fact the Conservatives have been raging for days about Acting Opposition Leader Nycole Turmel having once been a member of the BQ … just like the prime minister's esteemed cabinet colleague.

At the very same time she was prominent in the NDP.

The federal Liberals, desperately facing extinction, opportunistically piled on. One can hardly blame them after their historic rout in the May 2 federal election. But if there are no federal Liberal MPs from Quebec with a PQ/BQ taint, rest assured it is only because there are only seven Liberal MPs left in that province.

Iffy logic, at best. Given that most francophones voted for "sovereignty" in 1995, some Liberal MPs are likely guilty of that transgression.

As was written in this space last Friday, one can understand and sympathize with Turmel's association with the Bloc -- she is, after all, a social democrat and until Layton's Orange Wave crashed through Quebec before the federal election, the Bloc and the Parti Quebecois were the only social democratic shows in the French-speaking part of town.

Nonsense. There were federal NDP 'posts' in Quebec all along.

What this really shows is that both the BQ and PQ were mainstream parties in Quebec for a very long time, and many people with political ambitions no doubt joined them because that was the only way to have a realistic hope of political success.

Success, at what cost to principles?

The trouble with that kind of thing, of course, is that it could easily turn into a witchhunt. It would surely do the Conservatives no long-term good in Quebec -- which, for all their bravado about needing only Ontario and the West may be necessary for them to stay in power in the future.

Debatable. The Tories just proved they can get a national majority without a significant Quebec presence.

No comments: