Solving Justin’s problems in Quebec.

The good news in Quebec this year was that Philippe Couillard’s Quebec Liberals defeated the Parti Québécois. The bad news for federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is that Philippe Couillard’s Liberals defeated the Parti Québécois. Couillard’s Liberals are a noose around Justin’s neck. It is one reason that younger Quebeckers are wary of supporting the federal Liberals in the coming election.

Without a platform to judge him by, Quebec voters are assuming that Justin is just as right wing as Couillard. And it is difficult to be more right wing than the Quebec provincial Liberals. They are definitely more Bleu than Rouge. They are the natural successors to the old paternalistic Union Nationale but without the cynical slurs against the government in Ottawa.

And as things stand at the moment, Thomas Mulcair’s New Democrats are the barrier to the Liberals defeating the Conservatives next October. Quebec has too many votes parked with the NDP for Trudeau’s Liberals to win a majority. It is not that Quebec voters are buying into what Mulcair is offering but at least he is starting to offer something.

There are two political corpses in Quebec. One is the federal Conservative Party. The hatred of Prime Minister Harper is visceral and open and the current five seats in Quebec could be reduced to three. The other moribund party is the Bloc Québécois. The two federal seats currently held by the Bloc will be history by this time next year.

What Trudeau and the Liberals have to do in Quebec is to reach over the New Democrats. They have to be more to the left, be much more conscious of the environment and make their pitch to younger Quebecers. And if they are really smart, they are going to make it clear to the younger people in Quebec that their future is within Canada. The separatists are aging. Quebec is not in itself the be-all for the province’s youth. They seek a broader future with greater opportunity.

Where Quebec youth used to look to the United States, they now see more potential for themselves across Canada. The accommodation that Pierre Trudeau offered Quebeckers 40 years ago is now in vogue. Where others in those days offered parochialism, Trudeau offered opportunity. Today, his son can offer the opportunity and win.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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