Mitch Joel WARNING... LONG RANT! It takes a lot for me to both get angry and publish about it. Canada’s…
Quebec Liberals post 2012 election
Liberal leader Philippe Couillard back in the national assembly
Quebec Liberals win two byelections in the ridings of Outremont and Viau
(CBC) With the Liberals picking up the two seats, the national assembly returns to the same breakdown it had after the general election in 2012: 54 for the PQ, 50 for the Liberals, and 18 for the CAQ. (Montreal Gazette) The participation rate in Outremont was 26.42 per cent. The participation rate in Viau was a mere 16.93 per cent.
Kevin Dougherty: Will change of heart change the polls?
(Montreal Gazette) “Philippe-flop” is the latest addition to Quebec’s political lexicon added by Gazette columnist Don Macpherson.
Other columnists and commentators have shamelessly borrowed Macpherson’s new catchphrase, after Quebec Liberal Philippe Couillard announced last week that the party would reconsider its opposition to banning religious signs worn by “coercive agents of the state.”
That, after Couillard had been saying for months that the Parti Québécois government’s plan to impose a general ban on religious signs — aimed at the 600,000 Quebecers on the public payroll — would only be adopted “over my dead body.”
Couillard’s about-face came as he welcomed back to his caucus Fatima Houda-Pepin, Liberal MNA for south-shore La Pinière, after she publicly criticized the party’s stance.
Philippe Couillard officialise sa candidature dans Outremont
(La Presse) L’ancien député libéral de cette forteresse libérale, Raymond Bachand, n’était pas présent pour l’annonce, mais a fait parvenir un mot de soutien qui a été lu à la cinquantaine de partisans réunis dans la petite salle du théâtre d’Outremont.
M. Couillard a évoqué ses souvenirs d’enfance et d’étudiants, alors qu’il était étudiant à l’Université de Montréal. Le chef du Parti libéral a vécu plus de 20 ans dans le quartier.
Toutefois, advenant son élection, il représentera les Outremontais de façon très brève à l’Assemblée nationale. Il a réaffirmé en point de presse qu’il sera candidat dans la circonscription de Roberval, qui est présentement détenue par le péquiste Denis Trottier.
Don Macpherson: Why the Liberals should be worried about Couillard
Under the heading “Liberal clans,” there was a fascinating note at the end of a column by Michel Hébert in Saturday’s Le Journal de Montréal. … He wrote that some party members compare leader Philippe Couillard unfavorably with his predecessor, Jean Charest.
And he said the party is split into four factions: MNAs favored in the daily question period by Jean-Marc Fournier, the leader in the Assembly during Couillard’s absence; another “clan” made up of supporters of Pierre Moreau, runner-up to Couillard at the leadership convention; “the Couillard clan, turned inward on itself,” and finally the “party clan” who are “nostalgic for the Charest years.”
If this is true, then it might be due in part to Couillard’s absence from the Liberal caucus, since he doesn’t have a seat in the Assembly and spends his time touring the province to re-build the party. When the cat’s away . . .
There are other possible explanations, however.
Polls suggest that Couillard’s post-leadership honeymoon with the voters has ended, and that under his leadership, the official opposition Liberals have failed to capitalize fully on the unpopularity of the Parti Québécois government.
Couillard takes softer line on Bill 14
If Parti Québécois proposes amendments, the Liberals will take a look, Couillard says
(The Gazette) New Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard is taking a softer line on the Parti Québécois’ new language bill than his party took before his arrival.
At his first news conference since taking over the party Sunday, Couillard faced a barrage of questions from reporters on a range of subjects.
But it was when the language issue came up that he made the nuance.
Federal and Quebec Liberals’ relationship may get chillier: Chantal Hébert
The relationship between the federal and Quebec Liberal parties may be about to get even chillier following the election Sunday night of Philippe Couillard as leader of the Quebec Liberal party.
Those who expected that a simultaneous change at the top of the federal and Quebec Liberal parties would bring about a thaw in their relationship should think again.
The two parties may be about to go into an even deeper freeze.
Philippe Couillard … is as unconditionally a federalist as the man he is succeeding.
Like Jean Charest, Couillard’s Quebec/Canada identity is a seamless one. But like his predecessor, the new Liberal leader is also committed to pursuing a formal constitutional reconciliation with the rest of Canada.
Some of his strongest language at the weekend’s convention dealt with the need to continue to try to create conditions liable to bring Quebec back in the constitutional fold.
Quebec Liberals choose Philippe Couillard as leader
Former health minister wins leadership on 1st ballot
(CBC) The Quebec Liberals’ new leader, who came out of political retirement to win on the first ballot, said he will focus on renewal of the party and strengthening the province’s place in Canada.
Couillard said he wants to unite Quebecers under the Liberal banner, whether they choose federalism “out of passion, or out of reason.”
Couillard won the three-way race with 58.5 per cent of the vote. Pierre Moreau came in second with 22 per cent while Raymond Bachand placed last with 19.5 per cent.
Why the Quebec Liberal race is getting downright dirty
(Globe & Mail) A nasty mudslinging campaign is being waged this week against frontrunner Philippe Couillard in a last ditch effort to destroy his campaign.
The attacks are mostly linked to his ties with Arthur Porter, the former director general of the McGill University Hospital Centre who faces criminal charges over the management of a billion-dollar mega-hospital construction project. …
If Mr. Couillard fails to win on the first vote by a slim margin, his organizers are trying to lock up just enough support to put him over the top on a second ballot. They’ve approached Liberal MNAs supporting the other two candidates … to lure their supporters on board for the second and final vote if one is needed. Regardless of the outcome, the nasty fight being waged in the backrooms will leave deep scars which may not heal in time for the next election expected within a year.
Liberals understand that theirs is a party immersed in allegations of corruption and collusion that cost them the last election. They are awaiting the outcome of the Charbonneau Commission to gauge whether it will further fuel that perception. The party can ill-afford a leader with a tainted past. But it can’t afford either to elect a loser. And so far public opinion polls have shown Mr. Couillard as being the best candidate capable to win the next election.
Moreau likes his chances in Liberal race
He might be in third place in the latest public opinion polls, but provincial Liberal leadership candidate Pierre Moreau says he is confident he has a good shot at winning the party’s March 17 leadership vote.
“I think it will be a very tight race, I am convinced there will be more than one (ballot), and our strategy is based on there being a second (ballot),” Moreau told The Gazette’s editorial board Thursday.
Moreau is encouraged by the fact that he has the support of 13 MNAs in the Liberal caucus,
Global Montreal | Quebec Liberal leadership hopeful donated to PQ until 2003 Documents obtained by the Canadian Press reveal that the three candidates running for the provincial Liberal leadership were late converts to the cause as Raymond Bachand, Philippe Couillard and Pierre Moreau all joined the party after their 45th birthdays.
In fact, the documents suggest that Bachand was closer to the PQ than the Quebec Liberal Party until 2003.
Bachand blasts Couillard over promises
Tensions between the leadership hopefuls flared again Thursday, with Bachand blasting Couillard for suddenly announcing that if he became premier, the government would abolish the $200 health services tax.
Bachand was in the Liberal government that created the tax, which brings in $1 billion in revenue to the government a year. … Bachand said the new Parti Québécois government promised the same thing during the election campaign, only to be forced to back down because of the costs.
Tensions rise as Quebec Liberal race hits home stretch
(Globe & Mail) The Quebec Liberal leadership race has entered a critical stage with the beginning of the delegate selection process, creating tensions among the organizations of the three candidates and taking its toll on the caucus.
The candidate debates failed to generate much enthusiasm with the public and did little to boost party membership. In the Montreal riding of Marguerite-Bourgeois, a little more than 60 members showed up on Monday to elect the 24 delegates from this Liberal stronghold who will attend the March 17 convention.
Opinion: Pierre Moreau’s “platform of change”
We’ve taken measures as a government to tackle these issues over the years, but more needs to be done. The population of Quebec sent us a strong message in the Sept. 4 general election, which I took personally. This is why a little less than a month later, I launched my leadership bid to replace Jean Charest, with the objective to run on a platform of change. Change that we will bring by listening to our membership, but also by being transparent in the way we make decisions
PLQ English debate
Philippe Couillard, Pierre Moreau and Raymond Bachand took part in the only English debate of Quebec’s Liberal Party leadership race. Read more for their positions on corruption, education and participation by the Quebec anglophone community.
Paul Wells — Liberals for breakfast: the men who would lead Quebec
In La Presse, after a league-sanctioned debate on Sunday, Vincent Marissal called this crop a bunch of weaklings because they don’t have a list of constitutional demands. The winner of this contest will spend the entirety of his tenure being called the same and worse by his adversaries. What these three have to their advantage, Moreau less than the other two, is an easy familiarity with the business of government. It gives them a confidence that you don’t find in the current federal Liberal leadership candidates, most of whom have no experience in the federal government.
I arrived thinking Couillard was the most, indeed probably the only, interesting candidate. I left with a lower opinion of him and a higher opinion of his opponents. And a sense of overriding strangeness: these three are comfortable with a more strongly federalist discourse than any Quebec Liberal leader in decades, yet none knows the rest of Canada well, and the rest of Canada knows them hardly at all.
Quebec Liberal leadership candidates tackle corruption in 2nd debate
(CBC) Candidates also debated federalism and constitution
Candidates face off in first debate for Quebec Liberal leadership
(CBC) Raymond Bachand, Philippe Couillard and Pierre Moreau discussed issues surrounding education, immigration and language at Collège Maisonneuve in Montreal’s east end.
The three candidates shared similar views on most topics and spent much time adding to their competitors’ ideas. Sounds a good deal more civil than their federal counterparts.
Les candidats à la direction du PLQ s’affrontent
Quebec Liberals say next leader must be more than just a defender of federalism
Quebec Liberals have never been big on soul-searching, and there has not really been much call for it over the past 40 years.
Since the arrival of the Parti Québécois on the political scene, the Liberals’ overriding mission under leaders from Robert Bourassa to Jean Charest was simple: Beat back the separatist threat. …
It is a sign of how Quebec’s political sands have shifted since Mr. Charest was enlisted as leader in 1998 that the Liberal challenge is no longer simply about finding the best person to stand up for federalism. In interviews this week, the three candidates seeking to replace Mr. Charest — Philippe Couillard, Raymond Bachand and Pierre Moreau — all spoke of the need for the party to redefine what it stands for.