In yesterday’s three Quebec by-elections, the Conservatives gained one, the Bloc held onto one and the Liberals lost one. But make no mistake, the big winner in Outremont (which has been Liberal almost continuously since 1935) was not the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair (although he deserves much credit) but the Liberal’s Michael Ignatieff.
It’s been evident for some time that Ignatieff wants the Liberal leadership so bad he can taste it. How bad? Well, there are well founded rumours going around that Ignatieff’s people have been trying to undermine Dion’s leadership for some time and that they discouraged some Liberals from working for Dion’s candidate in the Outremont campaign.
That being said, yesterday’s weak Liberal showing, is raising serious concerns about Dion’s leadership. In Outremont, Dion hand-picked the Liberal candidate, professor Jocelyn Coulon, over the objections of some Liberal strategists who wanted a more popular and better-known candidate. (Justin Trudeau wanted to run but was waved off by Dion).
In his run for the leadership last fall, Dion promised to strengthen the Liberal brand in Quebec. Yesterday’s results for the Liberals in all three ridings were pathetic. It would seem the Conservatives are now replacing the Liberals as the mainfederalist opposition to the Bloc in Quebec. In fact the Liberals now hold only 12 of Quebec’s 75 seats, their lowest count since Confederation.
All that being said, I supported Dion for the leadership and I still support him. He has been underestimated before and I expect he will bounce back from this defeat. My strong feeling is that Dion- with his competence and integrity – would make a splendid prime minister.
Would you like to see Stephan Dion fight for his leadership?
Or would you like to see Dion replaced by Michael Ignatieff, the erstwhile American professor?