Saturday, May 28, 2005

 

New Columnist in Quebec: Alfonso Gagliano!

Ex-Liberal MP Alfonso Gagliano has begun writing a monthly political column for a local Québec newspaper. The publisher, Yannick Patelli, says the intention is to provide an opportunity "to the most vilified man in the media over the past few months to give (our readers) his views on Canadian politics".
My translation of Mr. Gagliano's first column (published May 28) follows:

The Fate of Paul Martin is in Ontario's Hands

The political opportunism of Stephen Harper's Conservatives in association with the Bloc Québecois has increased support for the Liberal party in Ontario. In spite of the daily soap opera put on by the Gomery Commission, the Conservatives lost ground to the Liberals in the most recent poll. If an election would have been called last week, Paul Martin would have retained control in Ottawa.
The move of the Ontario conservative star, Belinda Stronach, to the Liberals was not an error of judgment but rather a calculated decision. Ontario voters did not appreciate the fact that the leader of the official opposition "got into bed with" Gilles Duceppe's separatists in order to defeat the Liberal minority government. They understood that an election would improve the position of the Bloc Québecois at the expense of national unity.
In fact, a Federal election in the present circumstances would allow the Bloc to increase its seats in the House of Commons because the Conservatives are not capable of making a breakthrough in Québec. The conservatives would keep their stronghold in the West and British Columbia, but would lose seats in Ontario and the Maritimes. The Liberals could count on gains in Ontario and the Maritimes to compensate for their losses in Québec and in the West. The result would be another Liberal minority government.
The most recent polls tell us that Canadians from coast to coast don't want a spring election. When the leader of a political party says he is ready to lead the country but is incapable of reading the pulse of the electorate, he doesn't deserve to form the government. This is the message that Ontario and above all electors in Labrador have sent to Stephen Harper by electing a Liberal MP (in the byelection).
Paul Martin has promised an election 30 days after the final report of the Gomery Commission; that would give us an election date near the end of February 2006. In the meantime, the suspense in Parliament will begin again in the autumn, but I believe that the Liberal government is going to survive until 2006, when the next election campaign will be fought on the theme of national unity in the rest of Canada and in Québec, it will be fought on the sponsorship scandal.
This minority government is the first one in 25 years. We must get used to having minority governments for quite a while; at least as long as the Bloc Québecois remains popular.

- Alfonso Gagliano

Former Federal Minister of Public Works

Former Canadian Ambassador to Denmark


The original column (in French) is here:
Le sort de Paul Martin dans les mains de l`Ontario

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