A Leger Marketing poll has come out and for all intents and purpose it does not sing a pretty tune for the Lib's, but I'm not going to analyse the poll because that was not my first thought when I saw it. My first thought was the other Leger Poll that spoke to Quebec provincial concerns and leadership.
I thought about how Harper has hitched his wagon to Dumont and how the shine has come off him in the province. What struck me is the rationale behind why Dumont's popularity seems to be dropping, vis a vis Sylvie Tremblay's departure as well as what else is mentioned in the article. It sounds so familiar doesn't it?
All of those reasons and more are what kept Harper at bay for so long. They haven't gone away as the Con's like to crow, they've simply been buried or obfuscated, particularly in Quebec where Harper only allows the conversation to focus on how much he's done for the province. When was the last time he was forced to discuss social issues?
I'm not in Quebec, so I'm going to rely on my Quebec readers to set me straight if I'm off base here. I'm simply expressing what I see from here.
What intrigues me, is what part of Harper will play more strongly in a national election? The devolution of central power, which is where he has been coming from and plays, or the importance of a progressive agenda as it relates to so many issues? He's on the wrong side of almost all of the later, yet at the moment he seems to be forgiven for this. I find that odd so I question how much press it gets in the province. Conversely, it will be interesting to see how Dion plays up those very issues. As much as it is reported that Quebec hates Dion, where does their heart lie?
Dumont is not forgiven. I understand he has bill boards in the province that speak to restricting immigration. How will that play out against the new immigration bill that Harper has brought forward? Quebec has the most vibrant Arts community in the country. Are they yet in tune with the bill being brought in that will give their "darling" of the party Verner control over who will receive funding? Is the back door entry to pro-choice rights through a private members bill even being discussed? And the scandals that seem all important in Ottawa and to us junkies, seem to have been displaced by hockey at the moment. I know the In and Out is not sponsorship, but it is still in large part catering to Quebec.
The bottom line here for me is I'm not sure that Quebecer's have realised just how closely aligned Harper is to Dumont, not just ideologically and thats important, but in fact. They both manage the press, they manage their caucus and have no front bench to speak of. Neither of them represent a team, (because they have none) so they are top down managers of the message. It should be noted that Harper let some of his guys off the leash recently and that hasn't turned out so well, even this far into the game. Expect to see that stop.
If Quebecer's are critical of Dumont it stands to reason that they should take the same tack with Harper and perhaps in a national race that will come to the fore.
Harper was depending on Dumont to help him through the next election. Let's hope he sticks with that strategy, though in Quebec where they really are very political in my view, opinion truly seems to align with a barometer in that it seems to change from day to day. Perhaps that is a reflection of just how sophisticated they are in measuring what is real.
On another note, Susan Dellacourt told us that tomorrow the Star will be releasing a poll that suggests the Con's are paying the price nationally for the In and Out and more important to me, both she and Rob Russo finally articulated that Canadians do get this scheme.
It's nice to see journalists not assuming we're idiots isn't it?