Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Move Over Captain Canada ...

The 'sphere is buzzing on the news that Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper has told Gilles Duceppe that he will meet him for a one-on-one debate on his terms - in Quebec, and in French [CBC, Harper challenges Duceppe to debate 1-on-1]:

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is willing to debate one-on-one in French with Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe on a Quebec television network.

Liberal Leader Paul Martin has already rejected a similar suggestion from Duceppe.

"If Paul Martin refuses to stand up for Canada, Stephen Harper will," a Conservative strategist told the Canadian Press late on Tuesday.
This is after Paul Martin challenged Gilles Duceppe to meet him on any street in Quebec, and then when Mr. Duceppe accepted - Mr. Martin backed away.

The Conservative Party has long suffered in Quebec, regularly polling below 10%, and not holding a seat in some time. In the worst case example, that any confrontation with Gilles Duceppe does not improve CPC fortunes in the province, it does show Paul Martin to be full of wind when it comes to defending Canada against the separatists face-to-face.

Paul Martin can't do it. He'll lose.

He can't be subjected to the fact that the Liberal Party is the single reason the Bloc Québécois is so successful today.

Even Quebec Liberal Leader, Jean Charest, and ADQ Leader, Mario Dumont [Toronto Star, Why Harper win won't faze Charest], understand that there is another option for federalism in Quebec.

Hat tips a plenty:

Updated: Lord Kitchener's Own provides another viewpoint on this call for a 1 on 1 debate between Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe.

Updated x 2: Mr. Duceppe has indicated he will not debate Mr. Harper one-on-one, saying there is no point, since it was Mr. Martin who challenged him and it is him, that Mr. Duceppe wants to debate.

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Lord Kitchener's Own said...

This is smart politics by Harper, but I don't see how Martin could avoid this.

If Martin had agreed to debate Ducceppe one-on-one on French T.V. the Tories would have had a stroke. They would have screamed bloody murder, and called it another shallow, arrogant Liberal attempt to frame the Quebec election as a two-sided referendum election, and to perpetuate the "myth" that the race in Quebec is a two-party race.

They would have been infuriated, and they wouldn't have let the Liberals get away with it.

Now that Martin has refused to a one-on-one debate with Ducceppe, the Tories are "infuriated" and will "stand up for Canada" themselves. It's hypocricy of the worst kind, but it's smart politics.

Martin was damned if he did, damned if he didn't, and I'll be interested to see if the media points that out.

D said...

Watch the Brome-Missisquoi riding closely on Jan 23rd, there may be a new federalist rising in Quebec that is neither Liberal or CPC.

Anonymous said...

Heward Grafftey ! I didn't know her was still around. How old is he for heavens sake ?

The Golden Oldies are coming out of the woodwork !