Chantel Hébert's Monday column, For Harper, a double-edged sword , filed at 1:00 am this morning, was falsified less than six hours later by this Strategic Counsel poll. In her column, Chantel retails that whole "Quebec hates Dion" line that seperatists have been peddling for years. In fact, according to Chantel, Dion is unpopular all across this great land:
At least in the short term, the outcome of the weekend's leadership convention diminishes the Liberal capacity to swiftly build a pan-Canadian progressive coalition to defeat Harper.
Outside Quebec, Dion is currently less attractive to New Democrat sympathizers than Bob Rae could be expected to be and in Quebec he is less likely to raise his party from the dead than Michael Ignatieff would have.
The new Liberal leader will need more than the few months that may be left before Canada takes a return trip to the polls to fix the latter.
More than a few months or just a few minutes? A Strategic Counsel poll, reported at 6:30 am in the Globe and Mail seems to suggest that Quebec has already embraced Dion, with 62% of Quebecers (as compared to 55% of Canadians as a whole) calling him a "good choice" for Liberal leader.
Now, of course, all the caveats for polls conducted after a successful convention and a week's positive media coverage are in place, but with respect to the Quebec approval figure, I think Paul Wells puts it best:
...if Dion were radioactive in Quebec, there would be no way to put lipstick on that pig.
There has already been speculation in some quarters (like here) that the political dynamic in Quebec going forward will have less to do with obscure constitutional issues which nobody outside of policy wonks and Star columnists care anything about, and more to do with the fact that the Libs have chosen a native son.
Not that Duceppe and Co. will not challenge Dion at every opportunity on Constitutional issues, but there is no reason to believe that Dion cannot do what Chretien did with immigration or job-training, which is to defuse nationalist sentiment by arranging the devolution of highly specific powers to Quebec and other provinces asking for them.