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Cool Blue





Joined: 21 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:04 pm    Post subject: The "Fourth Sister" to Replace Quebec? Reply with quote

http://www.theglobeandmail.com.....ry/Comment

A NEW ROAD MAP TO A MAJORITY
Courting the Fourth Sister
For Stephen Harper, the ethnic vote is easier to woo than Quebec

TOM FLANAGAN

Professor of political science at the University of Calgary and a former Conservative campaign manager

November 14, 2008

Stephen Harper's speech to the "Winds of Change" conference in 1996 laid out a long-term strategy for a reunited Conservative Party. It could only win, he said, by doing what John Diefenbaker and Brian Mulroney did - uniting the populist conservatives of the West, the traditional Tories of Ontario and Atlantic Canada, and the francophone soft nationalists of Quebec. I call this the "Three Sisters" approach.

The Three Sisters speech was a road map to power. First, Mr. Harper brought together the western populists and the traditional Tories by merging the Canadian Alliance with the Progressive Conservatives; then he pushed relentlessly to build francophone support in Quebec. At his insistence, the Conservatives held their 2005 national conference in Montreal and adopted policies, such as righting the "fiscal imbalance," calculated to resonate in Quebec.

Mr. Harper laid the groundwork carefully, changing the equalization formula to give Quebec more money, recognizing the Québécois as "a nation within a united Canada" and giving Quebec a seat at UNESCO. He started all his speeches and press conferences in French and said over and over how Quebec was the foundation of Canada.

The strategy appeared to work, as the Conservatives won 10 seats in Quebec in 2006 and were poised in the 2008 election to win the additional Quebec seats that might give them a majority. Conservative support in the province, however, unexpectedly collapsed over small budget cuts to a few arts and culture programs, and the party was lucky to hold its 10-seat beachhead.

But was it really the petty culture cuts that torpedoed the Conservatives in Quebec? If your wife divorces you because you leave the toilet seat up one night, something else is probably involved.

Indeed, the Quebec relationship has been difficult to manage. The infighting between the Action Démocratique du Québec and provincial Liberal loyalists is a constant irritation, as is the fickle friendship of Quebec Premier Jean Charest. But the biggest problem is the attitude of the many Quebeckers who see Canada in instrumental terms as simply a source of benefits to the province. The Conservatives played to that sentiment in their ad campaigns, trying to convince voters that only they, not the Bloc Québécois, could deliver the goods. It worked in 2006 but not this time.

So the bad news is that the Third Sister is hard to please because she expects more and more. But the good news is that a Fourth Sister has appeared - the ethnic voters
Mr. Harper has assiduously courted since early 2005, when he set out to change the Conservatives' white-bread image.

Again, he proceeded systematically. He reduced the immigrant landing fee, offered apologies for ancient grievances (the Chinese poll tax, the 1914 Komagata Maru incident) and appointed Jason Kenney secretary of state for multiculturalism and Canadian identity to build political ties in cultural communities.

The ethnic strategy paid off in the 2008 election - six new Conservative seats in the Greater Toronto Area and three in the Vancouver suburbs, plus competitive races in numerous inner-city ridings populated by immigrant voters. The barbarians really are at the gates. Ask Ujjal Dosanjh, who saw his margin in Vancouver South cut to 20 votes.

If they can build on these gains, the Conservatives may win a majority without major new gains in Quebec, particularly as reapportionment will leave Quebec with 75 seats while adding dozens of new seats in Alberta and the suburbs of Vancouver and Toronto. Yet, you can't just kiss the Third Sister goodbye. Any party aspiring to govern Canada needs to have MPs from Quebec in caucus and cabinet. But a bigger breakthrough in Quebec no longer seems like the only way of building a national majority.

Mercifully, the Fourth Sister seems easier to woo than the Third. Ethnic voters don't rally to the fashionable causes of the left, such as gay marriage, carbon neutrality and the 100-mile diet; and they don't make many demands except to be accepted as good Canadians. What they want is exactly what the Conservative Party has on offer - lower taxes, a favourable business climate and safe streets.

The Liberals should watch this closely, because the Conservatives' courtship of the Fourth Sister is a death threat to their party. Ethnic voters are their only remaining core who have enough geographical concentration to win seats. If the Liberals lose the ethnic vote, their Evil Empire will go the way of Carthage, razed to the ground by the rising power of Rome.
Cool Blue





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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been thinking about this myself lately: do we need Quebec anymore?

Recall a few years ago that Liberal strategist Scott Reid was reported to have said at a campaign strategy session, "We can win without Quebec".

I think he was right.

The continual election of a majority of BQ MPs from Quebec means they have almost a defacto separation from Canada now.

The BQ votes really mean nothing, especially in a majority. All they can ever do is complain not take action; therefore their opinions aren't worth much to the governing party.

They vote against the government in the vast majority of cases, so courting their vote isn't even considered very often.

The only effect the BQ seems to have post-CPC merger is to make it much more likely to have minority governments; however, if minority governments can continue acting as majorities, does the BQ really matter?

As Flanagan points out, it would be much better to focus our efforts on the ethnic vote. If Quebecers are going to vote BQ no matter what, why bother with them?

I wonder if all the effort and money put into courting Quebec was used to court ethnic voters, if we'd have a majority right now.
SFrank85





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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find what Flanagan is saying is true. However if we are not going to win in Quebec, we will have to make major inroads in Toronto and Vancouver, but as it looks right now, it seems easier to win a few more seats in Quebec than making a major breakthrough in Toronto. Vancouver is finally turning a bit blue, but Toronto was a lost cause in the last election because the Conservative party brass seemed to have given up on Toronto. This time around, they need to focus on areas, like Scarborough, Etobicoke, and North York where there are conservative voters. These are the areas in Toronto that voted for Mike Harris not only in 1995, but again in 1999. The Conservatives have to re-energize these voters to vote for them at the federal level.
mrsocko





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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As Flanagan points out, it would be much better to focus our efforts on the ethnic vote. If Quebecers are going to vote BQ no matter what, why bother with them?



No No NO!@

The Bloc vote has gone down from 48% to 42% to 38% in the last 3 elections. It is worth our while to keep working at winning seats in Quebec. Keep reaching out to both the ethnic vote and the Quebecois, but instead of catering to every whim of the Quebec voter why not develop a winning team in Quebec. I don't think big cash give aways really do that much to attract centre right voters. We will attract the right wing voters in Quebec without them anyway.
Cool Blue





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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/537473

Jason Kenney: Tories see ethnic voters as key to future majority
Mac





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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrsocko wrote:
No No NO!@

I don't think anyone is proposing to walk away from Quebec, mrsocko... although some conservatives have had their fill of the demands of leftwing Quebecois... but the recent call to start a Conservative provincial party in Quebec is a better strategy than throwing money at Charest...

-Mac
mrsocko





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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
but the recent call to start a Conservative provincial party in Quebec is a better strategy than throwing money at Charest...


I hadn't heard that. I thought the Fed CPC was just thinking of starting a Quebec wing.
kwlafayette





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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is looking that way. The Bloc vote is analogous to the Green vote; as long as the Liberals can't get those seats either, then they become irrelevant.
No_more_sacred_cows





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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

-The obvious: more and more people think that Canada would be better off without Quebec (G&M online poll in 2007: 63% said so; also, just talk to average Joe in the street, the number might be even higher...)
-The mystery: not a single active elected politician is picking it up for us. Lack of courage?

(suggestion: if you think that getting Quebec to separate would be difficult, read the excellent book Time to Say Goodbye--building a better Canada without Quebec, written by a former Quebec politician.)
Ryulink





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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No_more_sacred_cows wrote:
-The obvious: more and more people think that Canada would be better off without Quebec (G&M online poll in 2007: 63% said so; also, just talk to average Joe in the street, the number might be even higher...)
-The mystery: not a single active elected politician is picking it up for us. Lack of courage?

(suggestion: if you think that getting Quebec to separate would be difficult, read the excellent book Time to Say Goodbye--building a better Canada without Quebec, written by a former Quebec politician.)

Not really.
The PLC can get more and more seats in Quebec easily. Quebeckers forget fast, the liberal increased their seats in there. So there is no reason for PLC to pick this move.

The CPC could have got much more seats in Quebec but because of some bad moves like cutting in culture, taking ADQ's advice(hide the deputy), not responding to attacks and also because of the media and artists, the conservatives didnt have a good performance.

The NPD can have a lot of seats in Quebec. Their ideas are pretty much what quebeckers want. They need to get known and destroy BQ instead of doing negative advertisement on CPC in Quebec.

The only party i see getting Quebec to separate is CPC if they lose all or almost all the deputy they have in that province.
Cool Blue





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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

(suggestion: if you think that getting Quebec to separate would be difficult, read the excellent book Time to Say Goodbye--building a better Canada without Quebec, written by a former Quebec politician.)


I have read that book, changed my outlook 100%.
cosmostein





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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that 20 seats in Quebec is enough,
The concept of winning a majority of seats in Quebec is simply not viable.
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The "Fourth Sister" to Replace Quebec?

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