Don’t you just love the summer doldrums and some of the political speculation that abounds in the news? One such story around speculation that the Conservatives under Harper could win ten seats in Quebec in the next election was certainly attention getting.
This would require quite an extensive and on-going charm offensive from the Prime Minister if he was to turn Conservative fortunes around, and at what cost to the Conservatives in other provinces? How will the Conservative base react if they see so much attention, time and effort being spent on Quebec?
Quebec voters are pretty astute and any last minute attempt to bring back votes to the CPC will be known for what it is, an attempt to hang on to power. This would require Quebec voters to ignore the CPC role in cultural cuts, the differing positions on justice and environmental issues and other areas as well.
One recent poll showed the Conservatives in last place (their usual place) in Quebec with 14% support. In other words some 83% of Quebec voters opposed them and supported the Liberals at 41%, the NDP 22% and Bloc 20%.
With Trudeau leading the charge for the Liberals does anyone seriously expect that the Liberals will remain at 6 seats in that province? Will Quebec voters shift to the right all the way to the Conservatives to stop Trudeau from winning? I hardly think so.
Nor can we discount Tom Mulcair as he is an effective campaigner and usually has a pretty good handle on Quebec issues. His caucus might be young, but they are the incumbents in 59 ridings. It is never easy to beat a sitting MP no matter which party they represent.
Quebec provincial politicians always put Quebec’s interests first and while relations with the premier might be good right now, the question is how long that will last before divisive issues arise?
Nor can we forget the on-going Senate scandal which has the potential to dominate the news as we lead up to the 2015 election. Quebec voters cannot be expected to ignore that (nor will Canadian voters in general).
The only hope the Conservatives have of winning 10 seats is some serious vote splitting in the ridings the Conservative previous held but lost. But with momentum slipping away from them nationally and towards the Liberals under Trudeau, it requires quite a leap of faith to accept that Quebec voters in any riding will think that voting Blue is the way to go in 2015.