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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 10:56 pm    Post subject: Scheer appears in Quebec ... campaigning! Reply with quote

At last ...

Celine Cooper: Scheer has work to do in Quebec, but his first gamble paid off
In Quebec, the Conservative leader is courting federalists disappointed with the Trudeau Liberals and nationalists fed up with the Bloc

Celine Cooper, Special to Montreal Gazette
May 9, 2018
9:09 AM EDT

Seeking to raise his profile, Andrew Scheer, the 38-year-old federal Conservative leader from Saskatchewan, rolled the dice and went on Tout le monde en parle (TLMEP).

Why do I say “rolled the dice”? Because for English-speaking federalist politicians, an appearance on Quebec’s must-watch television talk show can be a risky venture. For Scheer, his appearance on Sunday night’s show was his first time on the hot seat.

“You are against abortion, you voted against same-sex marriage and against medically assisted suicide, while Quebecers are in favour of all of these things. Welcome to Quebec, Mr. Scheer,” host Guy A. Lepage said, smiling at him from across the desk.

The underlying message is impossible to miss: Welcome to Quebec. Thank you for coming. Now, let’s make something clear right off the bat — you are not one of us, are you, Mr. Scheer?

A show that regularly draws around a million viewers, TLMEP has no equivalent in the rest of Canada. I’m often at a loss when trying to explain its influence to friends and family who live outside the province. Guests of all stripes — artists, activists, intellectuals, politicians, media personalities and beyond — go on to be willingly poked and prodded by host Lepage and co-host Dany Turcotte.

For better or worse, the show has a tremendous amount of power to shape both public discourse and opinion, notably among francophone Quebecers. That power includes the ability to make or break the reputation of its guests, or — in this case — their political fortunes.

It’s worth noting that Scheer’s predecessor Stephen Harper — deeply unpopular in the province — never once made an appearance on the show. By contrast, the late Jack Layton’s visit to TLMEP during the 2011 federal election campaign is often credited with boosting his approval ratings, transforming him from a Toronto-centric federalist into un bon Jack from Hudson in the minds of francophone Quebecers, and contributing to the NDP sweep in the province a few weeks later, which brought the party to official Opposition status for the first time in Canadian history.

So how did Scheer do? By most measures, pretty well. He made a few jokes. His French was good. And while he still opposes the government’s plan to legalize marijuana, turns out he smoked a bit of weed back in the day (though his director of media relations has since insisted that Scheer did not buy it himself).

Fact: The Canadian political landscape is changing. Scheer is courting both federalists disappointed with the Trudeau Liberals and nationalists who are fed up with the Bloc Québécois. If trends hold for the provincial election expected Oct. 1, Quebec appears to be on the cusp of a political swing away from the Couillard Liberals and toward the centre-right. The Coalition Avenir Québec led by François Legault is currently leading in the polls. [....]

I am personally cheered. I don't know why this is a gamble, coming from where Scheer is coming from, in an environment that I have, elsewhere, characterized as a "leadership crisis". All of them are ... in varying degrees, pretty weak, when compared to the leaders and the contenders of previous political eras.

Compare Diefenbaker and Pearson, or Trudeau and Clark, Chretien and Mulroney, Martin and Harper -- the weak one was Clark, in my book, but which of the current three measure up to Clark?

Singh is blowing it, and not because of the current scandale -- what else can he do but figure out something to say to defend the indefensible things. But he does it badly, clumsily. He has blown it by admitting to being a Sikh nationalist still. He could have put it behind him, but he didn't.

And Trudeau? You can only suck on your teeth and wonder how that ever happened. He has to be the worst PM in Canadian history, a positive embarrassment.

Against this field, it charisma isn't really necessary -- but showing up is. Now, if he could show up with Bernier, and with some new, exciting ideas ... but let's not hope for too much.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ex-Bloc Quebecois leader Michel Gauthier joining Conservative party

by Melanie Marquis, The Canadian Press
Posted May 12, 2018 2:15 pm EDT
Last Updated May 12, 2018 at 5:00 pm EDT


Bloc Quebecois candidate Michel Gauthier speaks at a rally Friday Dec. 9, 2005 in Metabetchouan, Que. A former leader of the Bloc Quebecois is joining the federal Conservative party. Michel Gauthier made the announcement today at a Conservative Party of Canada meeting in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

SAINT-HYACINTHE, – The Conservative Party of Canada announced Saturday it had recruited former Bloc Quebecois leader Michel Gauthier, as the party continues its efforts to make inroads in Quebec.

Gauthier told a meeting of the federal party’s Quebec wing that he had concluded that “there was never a conflict of jurisdiction with the governments of Quebec,” under the Conservative governments led by Stephen Harper and Brian Mulroney.

“It’s the political party that’s the closest to Quebec nationalists, the most sensitive to Quebec,” he said as he arrived at the general council meeting in Saint-Hyacinthe, about 60 kilometres east of Montreal.

“And it’s also a new party, with a new leader, a new team a new program, and a new government,” he said. “And I want to work for that.”

The former MP said he’s no longer a sovereigntist and believes the Conservative party is the best one to serve Quebec’s interests.

Gauthier was first elected to the House of Commons in 1993 and led the Bloc Quebecois from 1996 to 1997 at a time when the party formed the official Opposition.

He continued to occupy a prominent role in the party before leaving politics in 2007.

He said he won’t run in the next federal election, but will lend a hand to the party’s candidates in Quebec.

The announcement follows the resignation of seven of the Bloc Quebecois’ 10 MPs, who quit the sovereigntist party in February over differences with leader Martine Ouellet.

It also comes as the Conservative party, which is hosting its first national council in Quebec, has been reaching out to members of other parties as it seeks to grow its presence in the province.

In a speech Saturday, former Conservative cabinet minister Lawrence Cannon, who has also served as Canada’s ambassador to France, invited party members to “extend a hand” to NDP sympathizers as well as members of other political formations.

“Our party will never be a sovereigntist party or a socialist party, but it should always be an open party,” he told the general council.

One of those being courted by the party is the well-known mayor of Trois-Rivieres, Yves Levesque, who said Saturday that he was seriously considering whether to make the leap to federal politics.

But Brigitte Sansoucy, the current NDP MP for the Saint-Hyacinthe region, said she wasn’t intimidated by the Conservative troops landing on her doorstep, nor was she convinced that the party had changed under the leadership of Andrew Scheer.

“What I see in the House, every day, is the same Conservative party that we saw during the 10 years of Harper, the same positions,” Sansoucy said.

“Again this week, it was blatant,” she said, referring to a Conservative Manitoba MP who caused an uproar in the House when he called out that abortion was not a right.

Scheer has said he is personally against abortion, but has promised he won’t reopen the debate if he is elected prime minister — similar to the approach taken by Harper.

The Conservatives jumped from seven to 12 seats in Quebec in the 2015 election, despite Harper’s unpopularity.

To boost that number in 2019, Scheer has made several visits to the province as part of a promotion strategy that included an appearance on the popular French-language TV show “Tout le monde en parle.”


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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There were several PC MPs that left to join the BQ;
Sovereignty won out over political principal.

However that doesn't discount the fact that rural Quebec is still largely Conservative in many respects and as the voters of Quebec move away from the default of parking their votes with the BQ and the short flirtation of doing the same with the NDP they are faced with a choice.

Its good the CPC is realizing this now.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, they are conservative, but they are very chary about their language and culture. The historical record of the Progressive Conservative Party in Quebec is not a happy one. They inherited the mantle of the defenders of the "British connection" -- which became outmoded after the UK jettisoned its empire.

Diefenbaker was a big 'British connection' guy.

This Conservative Party is a big gesture away, but what would Canada be like if we had the duo of Lynch and Bernier working in the province?

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( there is some new polling data that indicates the cpc is actually gaining ground in quebec , partly due to the ndp and bloc struggling , according to leger are at 29% which is a big increase since the 2015 election )

Tories on the rise in Quebec as Scheer woos former Bloc voters, poll finds

Daniel Leblanc Parliamentary reporter


Published 45 minutes ago

Updated May 14, 2018

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer speaks during the General Council of the Conservative Party of Canada in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., on May 13, 2018.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

The Conservative Party of Canada is benefiting from the downfall of the Bloc Québécois, picking up support in Quebec where Leader Andrew Scheer has been actively courting nationalist voters, a new poll says.

Mr. Scheer appeared on the popular Quebec TV talk show Tout le monde en parle earlier this month, and the Conservatives organized a major gathering in Saint-Hyacinthe over the weekend where former prominent Bloc MP Michel Gauthier took up a membership card.

At the event, Mr. Scheer said he was contemplating a series of proposals for the 2019 election, including a transfer of federal powers over culture and immigration to the Quebec government. In addition, the Conservative Party would get Quebec taxpayers to file a single tax return to the provincial revenue agency instead of the two each person or business must currently fill out, meaning each person and business would no longer file a federal tax return.

“Inside the Conservative Party, there is room for both nationalists who are tired of squabbles and federalists who can no longer stand seeing [Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau living in his Care Bear world,” Mr. Scheer said in a speech to hundreds of supporters.

A new Léger poll, conducted earlier this month, suggests the Liberal Party of Mr. Trudeau remains in the lead in Quebec with the support of 40 per cent of respondents. However, the Conservatives are firmly in second place at 29 per cent in Quebec, up seven points in the province since March and up 12 points since the 2015 general election.

The NDP is at 15 per cent in Quebec, down 10 points since the previous federal election, while the Bloc is at 10 per cent, down nine points.

Christian Bourque, who is Léger’s executive vice-president, said the Liberals have benefited from a prolonged honeymoon with Quebec voters, based in large part on Mr. Trudeau’s continuing popularity in the province. However, he said the Conservatives are having some success in recreating the “blue alliance” between Conservative supporters and nationalist voters, which was a key to Brian Mulroney’s strong showings in Quebec in the 1980s.

“We were heading toward an election in which the results in Quebec were already set in stone,” Mr. Bourque said. “At the very least, the Liberals now have a challenger.”

Mr. Bourque said the Liberals are the main beneficiaries of the NDP’s failing fortunes in Quebec under the leadership of Jagmeet Singh, while the Conservatives are managing to win over many former Bloc voters.

While 10 Bloc MPs were elected in the past federal election, the party has recently split in two feuding camps over the leadership of Martine Ouellet, who replaced former leader Gilles Duceppe. According to the Léger poll, only 12 per cent of respondents are satisfied with Ms. Ouellet’s leadership, compared with 55 per cent who are dissatisfied.

While the Conservatives are doing well in Quebec, Mr. Scheer remains an enigma to a large number of voters in the province. According to the Léger poll, 29 per cent of Quebeckers are satisfied with his leadership, 24 per cent are unsatisfied and 47 per cent have no idea or refused to answer.

Mr. Bourque said the high level of undecided voters shows the challenges ahead for Mr. Scheer, but also the opportunity of having a relatively “clean slate” heading into an election year.

The Liberals have tried to attack Mr. Scheer as “Stephen Harper with a smile,” arguing there is no major policy difference between the current and the previous Conservative leader.

Conservative MP Alain Rayes said Mr. Scheer will continue to listen to Quebeckers and strive to increase his public profile in the province.

“He is not yet defined in the eyes of the public, so people will get to discover who he really is,” Mr. Rayes said.

At the national level, Léger found the Liberals in the lead at 39 per cent, followed by the Conservatives at 36 percent and the NDP at 15 per cent.

The Léger web survey was conducted between May 4 and 10. There were 2,103 respondents across Canada, including 1,018 in Quebec. Its margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for the Quebec numbers, and plus or minus 2.1 points for national numbers.


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would love to see a regional poll within Quebec;

I am sure the Liberals are leading by a massive margin in all of Montreal and Laval, likely Montérégie as well. (32 Seats)

Is that margin enough to imply the Tories may be ahead in some region?
Quebec City is assumed, however if Central Quebec, The Eastern Townships, Laurentides, Outaouais and Northern Quebec are in play for the Tories they could find themselves with 30 seats in the Province.

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be fascinating. But I think the bigger issue is that Quebec is on the move because it has not yet found a way of being represented in federal politics.

The Bloc was OK as long as it didn't actually get close to power. But they started to think they stood one more chance to go for sovereignty.

It's a matter of trust, as I said. The Conservatives have the baggage of the "British connection." That is no longer a viable base. They just have to replace that with a "Canadian connection".

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that the Conservative Brand may be associated with that connection;
However if the Liberals have been able to get around the negativity associated with the Trudeau brand in Quebec than I am confident that time heals all wounds.

Scheer needs to pitch something that is important to Quebec that doesn't alienate him elsewhere

Michel Gauthier, Yves Lévesque, and Gérard Deltell is a pretty strong group to spearhead any efforts within the Province.

The challenge now is actually doing it.
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Scheer appears in Quebec ... campaigning!

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