Monday, September 17, 2007

Those Quebec Byelections Were Tonight

And as far as Liberal fortunes were concerned, the results were -- well -- messy. (You can't spell 'OUTREMONT BYELECTION' without 'TROUBLE'.)

Granted, with three seats up for grabs and four parties grabbing for them, obviously somebody was going to go home emptyhanded. And, also granted, the actual numbers barely register as change in the grand seating plan of federal politics -- the dust has cleared to show the NDP at plus one, the Tories at plus one, the Bloc at plus one (although it was a minus two for them to begin with) and the Grits at minus one.

But a lot -- let me accent that with italics, a lot -- has been made lately of the potential message that this byelection would send to the Liberals, facing their first big test with Stephane Dion at the helm. Well, a message has definitely been sent to the federal Liberal Party tonight by the voters of the three Quebec ridings, and the message is loud and clear: "ha ha, whoops, go figure, we actually liked you guys better back when you were corrupt".

This was almost unavoidable, really; the Liberals were the only party with much of anything to actually lose in this byelection.

The federal Conservatives have been no great shakes in grabbing Quebec seats -- and they won the Roberval riding tonight partially because its previous MP, a longtime Bloc mainstay, retired from politics entirely -- so they had nothing but potential gains to make going into this one.

Likewise for the NDP, who had only won one seat in Quebec ever before tonight. Their victory tonight in Outremont was huge for them; we can only imagine the Dipper celebrations that must be going on right now. I would expect Layton's moustache to smell like beer for at least the next week, and now that I have that mental image in my head I would actually be sort of disappointed if it didn't. (It's a mood moustache! It changes colours and scents to express its owner's feelings! Nobody patent this before I can get around to it!)

And the Bloc essentially had nothing left to lose tonight, the two vacant seats having formerly been theirs before a couple of high-profile departures; the seat they regained tonight in Hyacinthe has quite literally halved their previous losses, and they'll be more than happy to have that one back.

The Liberals, though? For them to lose a riding they've held since the 1930s, with their leader campaigning all over his home turf, and with a star candidate running for the seat -- well, er, that's a bit of a setback, isn't it? I don't think this could have actually gone any worse for the Liberals tonight unless Dion had got himself killed in a knife fight or something. (Remember the good ol' days when Liberal leaders built their grassroots popularity by choking nearby dissenters? God, those were fun times.)

You can expect various sources to pipe suggestions and predictions that Harper will be almost crazed in his sudden fervor to call an election; I don't think he will be -- at least, not immediately. I'd suspect that anybody in this situation would be well advised to let their impending opposition continue imploding; if an election isn't announced within the next six months, do you think Michael Ignatieff will have grown more impatient or less impatient for his turn at the wheel? Is a party more vulnerable when it's quietly raging against itself with a potentially weaker leader in place, or when it's openly raging against itself with no leader in place at all?

And for that matter -- are you, gentle reader, convinced that people are clamoring for Ignatieff? Is anybody clamoring for Ignatieff? And would a politically untested ex-academic candidate really be that good an idea, especially considering the extended academia accomplishments of tonight's fallen star candidate in Outremont?

A lot of people will be looking to this byelection and its results as a sign of Liberal distress, but I think tonight has raised more questions federally than it has actually answered. Stay tuned, folks, because it's only going to get messier and weirder from here! Canadian politics! Whoo!

1 comment:

Tatsujin said...

Now, I didn't exactly pioneer the 'mood' mustache particularly, but actually was pretty close to it with a concept of my own.

You may have been around at one of the particularly angsty (ha! ha! apparently even firefox doesn't understand me, because it it adamant that 'anysty' is not a word.) periods in my relationship with Sheila listening to stories of confusion and a little bit of depreciation, and, if you had been observant, on a couple of them you might notice that I was somewhat more cleanshaven than usual("usual" being "what- me worry?").

You see, regular-shaving-habits-apathy aside, I think that a mustache is a terrible thing to be on a face in most cases, and on mine in all. HOWEVER; Sheila expressed that she has a thing for mustaches--in fact, even as a child, whenever she watched movies she would always get sad, context notwithstanding, when the guy with the mustache died. She figured the man she married HAD to have a mustache.

'course, they also make kisses REALLY SOFT.

Now, you combine these two things, and you get a pretty volatile, "thing": I called it my commitment mustache. On one side, a trusting (and sexy!) relationship takes time to grow, and so does facial hair (which, in my case, takes weeks, to months, to years to get the proper texture, as opposed to approximately 48 seconds for ninja-killer Franz's neck-beard). Ultimately, however, this patience pays off with a wonderful and downy texture that is sure to please any lady found outside (or, if you're careful, occasionally inside) the RPM.
On the other hand, there's no way to say that you want to spite somebody by lacerating their face with the stubble of your own, all while pretending to express affection.

Of course, the one time I actually brought up the concept jokingly to her, she referred to it as "and emotional thing" with a little giggle, pretty much making sure I never take pride in my sense or romance and sensitivity ever again.

In conclusion: colors I get, but... smells? What market would that appeal to? Are you *trying* to lose the whole intermarital affair crowd, or what?