We live in Canada. It’s summer. We can’t talk about the weather all the time. Besides, our national pastime is to explore the existence of mountains underneath those sometimes obvious molehills.
Is there another excuse for talking about Maxime Bernier, MP for the Beauce, Quebec? Oh, let’s see … there was a Conservative caucus meeting in Halifax.
These visits by organized groups of MPs to otherwise forgotten regions take on an air of ritualistic exercises designed primarily to break up the summer doldrums. No one has reported on substantive policy, issues, initiatives or directions.
MP Michelle Remple’s partisan, bombastic meandering against the Liberals’ non-existent immigration Policy hardly qualifies as a Conservative platform. It was a woeful attempt to cover Conservative fuzziness on the hyper-ventilation on border-crossers, and a pitifully weak effort to capitalize on Prime Minister Trudeau’s latest public kerfuffle on “diversity and acceptance”.
It received virtually zero coverage by any self-respecting news outlet. They did her and the Conservatives a favour.
So did the brilliant tacticians at the Cabinet retreat being held at the other end of the country. They prompted Refugees and Immigration Minister Hussen to go before the cameras to lament that he too has been subject to racism.
In this context, Maxime Bernier must have felt that he needed to provide yet another example of a reverse aging process so prevalent in politics. He will have no ripple effect.
The Conservative Party may be, as he firmly accuses, an “intellectually and morally corrupt” party. None other than Doug Ford ran on that mantra right into the premier’s Chair. Then, again, he was also running against Kathleen Wynne.
It is unlikely to work for Maxime Bernier. The Federal theatre is much larger. The Beauce, a socio-economic hinterland even by Quebec standards, is no launching pad for greater pursuits or bigger game. Bernier will not speak for Quebec. Not even for a navel-gazing Conservative Party.
Ending supply management (guaranteed excessive profits for a select group of farmers), refusing to engage in retaliatory duties against the USA or demanding reduced refugee/immigration flows are not the “big issue” items – tribal identity flags - that stimulate widespread Quebecois support.
They are not “the West wants in” trumpeting of disaffected, surly Reformers against their former Leader, Brian Mulroney. Nor do they carry the emotional, “patriotic”, appeal constructed around the perceived rejection of Quebec with the failure of the Meech Lake Accord.
Bernier is not the messenger that the whiny, but “pseudo Republican thinker”, Preston Manning was. Nor is he the firebrand, manipulative, orator in the mold of Lucien Bouchard.
Canadian Press and Media are comfortable in their analysis of Party activities. The internal organizational discipline and “talking points politics” makes it so much easier to meet deadlines. European politics is more fluid: people seems to change parties or allegiances more frequently than they change underwear.
The reality of life is that people disagree, challenge the [leader] party, leave or start their own. There (Europe), ideology brings people together; methodology pulls them apart. Here Parties bring people together, leaders alienate them.
Not much difference because, in the end, electors tend to vote for a political “formation”. Leaders always have the ready option of characterizing “expressed dissent” as the weapon of malcontents.