Today in Quebec punditocracy: après la tempête, la détente


Vincent Marissal, who has always struck me as an eternally cynical fellow, today shows why politics, especially of the type we’ve seen over the last week, is an inherently cynicism-inducing practice. He notes how Stephen Harper’s has often depended on the Bloc Québécois’ support to pass crucial legislation, and whose very tenure as prime minister has been thanks largely to the very separatists he now decries. “Mr. Harper says Bloc MPs have the right to sit in the House of Commons, but must be isolated because they are counter to the ‘real’ interests of Canada,” Marrisal writes. “Coming from a prime minister who has survived his first throne speech in 2006 and a budget in 2007, this is frankly dishonest.” (DMA would also like to point out that the Conservatives bragged very loudly about the Bloc’s support of its measures, back when it was politically expedient to do so.) On the other side of the bench, Marrisal rains on Bob Rae who, for the sake of wanting to lead the Liberal party, endorsed a coalition led by Stéphane Dion. “[Rae] has held onto his dream of leading the party, and doesn’t have the grace to cede his spot to caucus favourite Michael Ignatieff.”

Yves Boisvert wonders out loud whether the Bloc actually thought through aligning itself with the likes of the Liberals and the NDP. Apart from the obvious and irksome optics of the thing–Duceppe in the sack with the father of the Clarity Act, and all that–Boisvert notes that the supposed coalition government would be a veritable rock of parliamentary stability for 18 months, “during which there will be a myriad of contentious Quebec-Ottawa files to deal with, including the environment, fishery and infrastructure policies [It can’t always be sexy in parliament–Ed.], and lest we forget, the 375th anniversary of Trois-Rivières.”

André Pratte endorses a (provincial) Liberal majority. (No link, strangely enough.) Alain Dubuc has a few suggestions for Harper. To wit: forget about deficit cutting and government cutbacks for the time being, and instill measures that would jump start investment, consumption and all those good things. Also, turf finance minister Jim Flaherty, who is “already mediocre and has lost any sort of credibility by turning a budget matter into a partisan mess.”

Richard Martineau takes Fridays off. Darn.

Le Devoir director Benoit Descôteaux makes the case for a stronger Lib-NDP coalition come the next budget. This, Descôteaux says, would involve putting meat on the bones of its coalition agreement–its economic plans would be a nice start, he helpfully suggests–and getting rid of the surprisingly life-like Stéphane Dion. “The decision to let Dion lead the coalition was a compromise hammered out by three Liberal leadership hopefuls. It’s a shaky compromise, and will become dangerous if he chooses to reject whatever budget the Conservatives put forward in January. With Dion at the head of the table, the Liberal Party is vulnerable.”