Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lord Gilles the Iron-Fisted

Duceppe's overbearing nature often overlooked

One of the Canadian media's favourite portrayals of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is as a control freak.

But as Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe celebrates his 20th anniversary as an elected Member of Parliament, Thomas Mulcair, the NDP's MP for Outremont, notes that Mulcair is much more demanding with his own MPs.

“For all those who say that Harper is a control freak, they don’t know Gilles Duceppe," Mulcair explained. "He is iron-fisted with them.”

Harper was, indeed, renowned for imposing a much greater degree of internal discipline on his MPs and party staff. The Conservative Party, as had the Canadian Alliance, had been troubled by breakdowns in discipline, largely in terms of party messaging.

Harper's discipline has had the effect of containing some of the more extreme elements within the Conservative Party from attempting to wildcat on party policy. This degree of party discipline has even driven out some of the more extreme right-wingers the party may have otherwise been saddled with.

This particular detail leads one to wonder if there's something Duceppe needs to keep under wraps within his party. If so, one wonders precisely what it is.

After all, it isn't as if the Quebec separatist movement -- or even the Bloc Quebecois itself -- hasn't frequently been a haven for racist individuals within Quebec's population. As a political arm of Quebec separatism, the Bloc Quebecois is founded on a racial ideology that doubtlessly attracts such individuals.

Duceppe himself isn't immune to the kind of gaffes that point to a vision of a sovereign Quebec in which pure laine Quebeckers are Quebeckers and everyone else is scared.

Moreover, Gilles Duceppe won't be around forever. One day, he will have to retire as leader of the Bloc. In the course of the leadership campaign to replace him, Canadians inside and outside of Quebec will likely be introduced to the very ugly face of Quebec separatism.

It will only be a matter of time before all Canadians -- even the so-called "progressives" who enjoy making excuses for it -- won't be able to deny Quebec separatism for what it is.


  1. Do you have any evidence that Quebec separatism is race based or is this just a feeling you've got?

  2. Well, for starters, there was this speech by this guy named Parizeau...

  3. I guess we are one election away from four retiring opposition party leaders.

    Gilles 63, Jack 60, Michael 63 and cant win a seat Elizabeth 56 will not survive to fight another race when the CPC win another election.

    Our PM is 51 years young.

  4. I think it will be unfortuante to see Jack Layton go. I don't always agree with him, but he has made the NDP a stronger party, even if he refuses to deal with idiots like Libby Davies.

    A strong NDP is good for democracy -- it's good for Canada.

    Elizabeth May, however, will likely continue to break her own party's rules, cling to her leadership, and weaken her party.

    A weak Green Party is bad for democracy -- and that's bad for Canada.

    Don't get me wrong: I'm not arguing that strong political parties automatically make for a strong democracy -- only vigorous citizen participation can ultimately achieve that -- but it helps.


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