Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rumblings from Quebec

Worth watching:
"...Quebec union leader Michel Arsenault, who heads the Quebec Federation of Labour (FTQ), the province's most powerful labour organization.

Ignatieff enjoyed a rare endorsement from the influential union, which has traditionally backed the Bloc Quebecois.

'We think that we need somebody pragmatic to run Canada in the years coming, because we're in the middle of a crisis,' Arsenault said of the interim Liberal leader.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is 'dogmatic,' he added. 'His entourage is profoundly convinced that markets will solve every problem.'"
It's not clear that the union officially endorsed Ignatieff.  Instead, it appears to have been a solid meeting with approval for Ignatieff expressed within a preference for the coalition to topple Harper.  From the Gazette
Ignatieff got a boost from the FTQ out of the meeting with its leaders, but no promise of an endorsement in the event of another federal vote.

"It's music to our ears to hear Mr. Ignatieff say that the most vulnerable elements of our society should be protected," said Arsenault. "We need a pragmatic prime minister and government, not a dogmatic prime minister and government. The last thing we need are politicians who think the markets can solve everything. Look where that got us."
Whatever the case, Quebec is looking to be fertile ground for growth given the Harper government's performance over the past few months, from arts cuts to retrograde youth sentencing policy to their recent coalition rhetoric which offended many Quebecers. These comments from the union leader likely foreshadow a theme we'll be hearing much more of this year, that the Harper government's philosophy is not appropriate for Canada in these times. It'll be interesting to see if traditional allegiances may be shifting down the road in order to make a change.