Staring into my tea leaves, it seems clear that the 2011 federal election is about to change the electoral map of Canada, for better or for worse.
Quebec is the epicentre and its political soul is momentarily on the line. The NDP, even having now peaked in its surge, is about to sweep the province decimating federal separatists, and almost inevitably begin erasing two decades of Blocquiste presence. Gilles Duceppe, the Bloc’s leader may not survive the frontal electoral onslaught headed his way in Laurier-Ste.-Marie. He now finds himself trailing an NDP unknown.
Incumbent Conservatives are also threatened there, further reducing the chances for Harper to obtain a majority. Perhaps, however, the Liberal vote bleeding to the NDP in Montreal ridings might get some Conservatives elected.
The leader of the once mighty Liberal Party has been reduced to pleading the base to come out to vote, just hoping to prevent a total collapse (Perhaps it will not be long before Quebeckers, as Conrad Black suggested in the NP this morning, take over the NDP from within).
It is not hard to see why Ignatieff will have to go, even if he persuades the base. Francophone Stephane Dion led Liberals to their worst electoral showing in history. The confidence in Michael Ignatieff to resurrect the party was so strong that they didn’t even bother having a leadership election. Ignatieff was anointed with the willing collaboration of his would-be contestant, Bob Rae. Ignatieff will have to follow Paul Martin’s example.
One has to wonder what goes through Rae’s head now; first because he alone could have stopped anointing Ignatieff, and second because he is of NDP lineage, although his DNA has been altered now (has it?). Whether he left the NDP because of personal maturation, as he paints it, or for pure opportunistic reasons, Layton’s surge has got to prompt some what ifs.
In an ironic political twist, the call to glue the pieces of the party back together likely will come to Rae. No Francophone Quebecker worth salt will come forward this time. There is always Justin, but he won’t want the grunt work of rebuilding a party from the wilderness. Nor does he have those skills. Not many will want the historical moniker of having to turn out the lights when leaving the proverbial Liberal room. It is not clear in my leaves whether Bob will accept the challenge.