Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A few Quebec debate notes

About that debate last night...yes, there was a debate, in Quebec. I did not watch, I must confess. I was out. I did see some coverage and a bit of the leaders' statements post-debate on CPAC. The CPAC panelists made much of Mario Dumont's waving of a memo during the debate. The memo Dumont brought up and that he claims to have obtained yesterday seems to have warned, in 2004, of cracks in the highway overpass that fell and killed five last year. Apparently there were exculpatory facts, however, that Dumont appears to have missed:
A follow-up letter handed to reporters after the debate quoted Transport Quebec employees as saying "we don't think it is necessary to proceed with a more detailed inspection."
It's hard to get a read on how this goes over, whether it deflates Dumont a bit and turns people off or is a wash.

The Globe notes the following statement from Mario Dumont during the debate:
"Mr. Dumont said that, unlike the Liberals, he would fight hard for more powers for Quebec by pushing for the adoption of an “autonomous Quebec nation.”"
Um, excuse me, but I thought Quebec was a nation within Canada thanks to Stephen "beaux stratagems" Harper? So what the heck does this mean? I can only guess that it means that if Super Mario becomes Mr. Balance of Power in Quebec, we're in for some interesting times back on the Canadian federalism front, to say the least.

Other miscellany...it's interesting to see two young leaders like Boisclair and Dumont on the stage like this, contrasting with Charest. We've seen young politicians in New Brunswick provincial politics in the last few years but not in a significant way on the federal scene or in other provinces, really. You know you're getting older when...you see your peers on a debate platform like this.

On Charest's touting of the millions from Harper...does this do him harm for the association with Harper or generate good will? I'm not convinced that Quebecers are in the mood for such an old-school "bringing home the bacon" argument. It sounds outdated, more of the same tired rhetoric. And if anyone is poised to benefit from a backlash against such politicking, it appears to be Dumont.