The rebuilding of the political party brands

Now that the election is over, watch the fun

I rarely write about politics in our town as most of the people in office have my trust and therefore need no comments from me. Of course, there are one or two exceptions but I expect they will be gone after next November’s elections. 

The word politics is derived from the words  poly meaning many and ticks meaning blood sucking insects. 

I guess it’s understandable that politics should be so much in my thoughts having just survived yet another federal election with a referendum on the HST looming and local elections coming next November. 

One can hardly avoid the constant carnival south of here as their system imposes elections every two years meaning one campaign ends and another immediately begins. 

We should count our blessings. 

I recently heard an American commentator say that every member of the House of Representatives should serve two terms, one in the House and one in prison. 

Like every honest commentator, I was surprised by the showing of the New Democratic Party in our latest election. I say honest commentator because some would never admit to being surprised even if the sky fell on them unexpectedly. Jack Layton’s very success may prove to be his biggest and most dangerous challenge

When the NDP won 59 seats in Quebec and 103 across Canada they set off a political tsunami that will leave long term changes to our parliamentary landscape. 

Their very success in Quebec, where they rarely elected one member, may have sown the seeds of their future destruction. 

In the waning years of the last century, a new party was formed in Quebec under a charismatic young leader named Mario Dumont. Presentable and articulate he formed a party called Action Democratique de Quebec representing a conservative rural element in Quebec which trusted neither the Liberals nor the socialist Parti Quebecois. 

In a couple of provincial elections they elected a handful of members including  young Mr. Dumont but in 2007 the volatile Quebec voters gave them 41 seats in the 125 seat National Assembly making them the official opposition and reducing the ruling Liberals to a minority government while relegating the Parti Quebecois to third place. 

Heady stuff indeed for this young leader and his untested followers. 

The following year in yet another election, the ADQ was gutted and lost official party status. 

What happened?

Well it seemed they never expected to be so successful so in many ridings they ran totally unlikely candidates just to fill in the roster never for an instant thinking any of them would  be elected. 

Sound familiar? 

When this motley crew reached the National Assembly they had no idea what  to do or how to do it or even why they were there.  They were a laughingstock. 

I think a good number of the NDP’s 59 new Quebec  members are a pretty motley bunch in their own right. 

I believe Mr. Layton will find keeping them in order will be like herding cats and therein lies the danger. 

I find it hard to believe that over the span of my lifetime the  “natural governing party” i.e. the Liberals, have fallen so far in the polls as to be fighting for their very existence. 

Like many of you I grew up under Prime Ministers like King, St. Laurent, Pearson, Trudeau and Chretien with only occasional interruptions from the Tory party. 

I guess it’s true that all power corrupts. The Tories were reduced to two seats after the Mulroney/Campbell debacle and I’m sure the Liberals will have to do the same patient rebuilding of their party brand.


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