Saturday 25 August 2012

Is it time to draft Justin Trudeau to lead...the Quebec Liberals?

So the much anticipated Léger marketing poll came out today and if the trend continues through election day, Pauline Marois will become our province's first  female premier.  Her party has 33 percent of the potential vote compared to 28 percent for the Coalition Avenir Québec and 27 percent for the Liberals.

Soon to be former Premier Charest?
The only consolation for those of us who do not wish to see this province governed by sovereignists is that  CAQ leader Francois Legault's rather impressive campaign so far  could ensure at the very least a Marois minority government or possibly a repeat of what happened in Quebec on May 2, 2011 when the NDP swept most of our province's seats in the federal election. Earlier in the week a National Post poll actually showed Premier Jean Charest and the Liberals out front with 35 percent of the vote.  Which, if any of these, are we to believe? I met with Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand the day the Post poll was published and he sounded like a man pretty confident of a Liberal victory.

Perhaps the best that can happen for the Liberals, barring a surprise victory, would be a minority PQ government. This way Marois will be unable to push through any of her hardline sovereignist or xenophobic proposals.  The life of her government will likely be about 18 months. During this time she will take a licking from Legault in the National Assembly while Charest resigns and his party looks for a new charismatic successor.

Premier Justin Trudeau?
And whom should that be?  Just as Charest was wrested from Ottawa and the Federal Conservative Party to breathe new life into the Liberals -and he certainly did that - there needs to be an effort to reel  in someone big who can slay the PQ in the next not so long off election (if they only score a minority). That man is Justin Trudeau. Sure he is the Federal Liberal  Member of Parliament for Papineau and right now being counted on to run for that party's leadership in the spring. It is a competition he should win handily. But Justin has reservations about the amount of time this job will take him away from his family. I think federalist Quebecers need him more. He'd be crowned Provincial Liberal leader in a heart beat, have a local MNA resign to give him a seat and give us all some hope.

The Charest Liberals are on the verge of their party's greatest loss ever, unless the polls are completely long. A minority government will give them precious little time to find a leader strong enough to bring them back in power. It is time to start the "Draft Justin" movement the moment Charest steps to the podium on Tuesday evening, September 4 and announced his formal resignation.
 Other Candidates

Okay, so if Justin  Trudeau refuses to enter provincial politics, who are the logical candidates to succeeed Charest?
  • Raymond Bachand  (see the video above with his message to anglophones) turns 65 in October, but  he has the perfect profile to slay the sovereignist dragons. That is because he once was  on the sovereignist and saw the  light.
  • Mario Dumont is reportedly happily out of politics and about to join the TVA Network. Now living with his family on the South Shore, I wonder whether the chance to lead the party he started out with (he was with the Young Liberals before bolting and starting the ADQ) would tempt him?
  • Transport Minister Pierre Moreau, the MNA for Châteauguay, has handled a hot dossiers very well and there are many who say he has leadership potential.
  • Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier, the MNA for St. Laurent, has to be considered, He is a veteran who left  provincial politics, but came back at the request of Charest, He has steered many important portfolios over the years and handles himself well with the press.
  • Former Quebec Health Minister  Philippe Couillard. There are many who say he left provincial politics in 2008,  not only to try his luck in the private sector, but to patiently wait for the day when Charest resigns.
  • Quebec City Mayor  Régis Labeaume is one popular guy with his constituents. Only 56  years of age and with charisma to spare, he would make a dynamic successor and a formidable opponent for Marois and Legault.
Mayor Regis Lebaume