May 1, 2006

Quebec’s AGM

HOLY COW! Just got back from the Liberal bastion that is Drummondville (Think Medicine Hat!) from Quebec’s Annual General Meeting.

Yes the fresh meat that was the undecided Liberal was certainly under attack by all the candidates. As Senator Dawson pointed out, 200 to 250 people there this weekend will likely make up a third of the Quebec delegation in December. And yes, the candidates were there to pound the pavement.

I am not an undecided Liberal. I support “that dude from Harvard”. However, it was a chance for me to see some old friends and check out their candidates. My impressions of the event were that the party members got to see what the candidates were made of. I am happy with the results.

Michael was among the best performers Saturday. Answering French questions with ease, he spoke to the entire youth contingent and impressed them, answering the usual tough questions on Iraq, but also putting forward his vision of Quebec’s place within Canada, and even some PLQuistes left happy. Michael has successfully taken on those who criticized him with spin and attacks. It was evident in the room that his presence was turning heads. The buzz was certainly alive. Don’t believe me, ask others who were there. It was a great weekend for Mi.

The other candidate who really knocked my socks off this weekend was Stephane Dion. He showed us Quebec Liberals why we love him so much. Stephane is not the great centralizer many Canadians think he is. He was the biggest advocate of provincial rights in Jean Chretien’s government but took the bullet over the “heavy-handed” Clarity Act and his reputation was ruined by 3 years of pundit warfare in the French press which left him politically handicapped. I asked him how he would shake off the centralizer image in the Rest of Canada and Satan in Quebec. He said that’s up to us. (I squirmed! I still love Stephane Dion!)

I got a chance to see Gerard again. And sadly, Gerard has lost the honor of being my second choice. He addressed the youth and I will be honest, I didn’t catch most of it, I was off checking out the goalie. The impression and hype that was building around Gerard set unreasonable expectations around him. He is a great candidate but don’t tell anyone Gerard is fluently bilingual. He understands French perfectly. But sorry guys, not bilingual.

Ken Dryden give an interesting speech at his lunch. Ken is a fantastic person chasing his second dream in life which is to lead the country. This isn’t as easy as beating the Leafs or Bruins, Ken knows full well. However, the rust of his French is slowly coming off and he will have to pick up the pace to be competitive in Quebec.

I met Bob Rae later in the day, who didn’t say much after he saw I was wearing a Michael button on my shirt. I cant say anything good or bad, he didn’t say anything to me. Ah well. Moving on…

Scott Brison was entertaining as usual. His French is improving drastically as he completely understands the language. But he still sounds like some dude from Halifax trying to speak French. It’s a little funny. But good on you Scott for getting it better. Scott claimed to be practicing his French more on the weekend with his in-laws who live in Drummondville. Good for you Scott!

Those were the six I happened to meet this weekend. It was a bunch of fun, great seeing the party is in such good spirits following such a devastating loss. The rebuilding is clearly underway, and aside from marsha’s mad ravings about stopping iggy, the weekend was overwhelmingly positive. Marsha, I know you don’t use the internet much but choose a candidate and support them. You’re always against something. Support something for a change, you’ll feel fantastic! I feel fantastic too!

8 Commentaires:

Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

Kudos for not letting your fierce pro-Iggy stance influence the assessment of other candidates too much. Let's just hope you Fuddle-Duddlers have it in you to keep it up until December!!

5/01/2006 5:13 PM  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

What happened to the French language assessment post from last night by Alex? It was goodand informative for non-francophones.

5/01/2006 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

Glad to see the Fuddle Duddle kids are as arrogant as usual when it comes to commenting on everyone else's french language skills.

5/02/2006 12:29 AM  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Anonymous,

Do you think Anglophones should comment on the candidates French language skills? How many francophones are posting on Liblogs? It's great to have their assessment of this and probably is quite accurate at this time. However, It's looking The writ isn't going to drop for two years so anyones' French can improve significantly in that tiem.

5/02/2006 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Danielle a dit...

I am confused by your assessment of GK. You admitted you missed his presentation and yet you are knocking him down. Have to agree with sb, lots of time for GK to become better than Harper in French.
It is hard to read your postings with an open mind when you support Iggy and do not present both sides to his candidacy.

5/02/2006 11:46 AM  
Blogger Alex Plante a dit...

Danielle,

Antonio did see Gerard after he left the lunch with Mr Dryden. It doesn't take an hour to assess the level of French someone is able to speak.

Gerard is not bilingual. Most journalists also found out about this.

If we want to rebuild the party in Quebec, in the regions especially. We need a bilingual leader. Someone that can communicate with the voters...

Ciao,

Alex

5/02/2006 11:50 AM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Danielle, I believe Jason Cherniak (Dion) and Calgary grit (Kennedy) are just as objective as I am.

I have spoken to Gerard in French at McGill and in Drummondville and I am sorry to say he is not bilingual. It is the only comment i made on him as I did not get a chance to discuss policy with him.

There is a considerable amount of hype around Kennedy but setting high expectations is a bad idea. Either way, the talk that he is bilingual is overblown, and not true.

5/02/2006 4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

Kennedy may not have as good French as some of the other candidates but it's kind of a rush to judgement to say he's "not bilingual". He'll be practicing his french this summer in Quebec and will certainly be up to Harper's level before long. And, as Harper has proven, you don't need great French to win in Quebec.

To rebuild the party in Quebec, I think we'd be better off with a young leader with ideas willing to rebuild the party on the ground for the next decade.

No candidate is perfect, but I'd say Kennedy and Rae are probably the bet bets to win seats in Quebec next election. Dion has too many detractors in that province and Ignatieff just has too much baggage and a lack of political experience which will prove problematic in an election campaign.

5/03/2006 7:29 PM  

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