Friday, April 29, 2011

Meet Your (Likely) Future NDP MP for Rosemount--La Petite-Patrie

This charming fellow is Alexandre Boulerice. He ran for the NDP in 2008 in Rosemont--La Petite-Patrie, coming in a very respectable third with 16.25% and 8,500 votes, just behind the Liberal candidate (18.66% and 9,800 votes), but very far behind the Bloc incumbent, Bernard Bigras, who had 52% of the vote and nearly 27,300 votes.

Now, it seems luck has turned its way for Alexandre, as he is now in one of the prime targets for the NDP in their orange wave in Quebec. Rosemont is a beautiful-looking inner-city Montreal riding with working-class roots and a left-wing separtist bent, and has been represented by Quebec sovereigntists federally since 1988, and its smaller provincial cousins - Gouin and Rosemont - have been represented by the Parti Quebecois almost nonstop since the late '70's, except for Rosemont's flirtation with the junior Bourassa Liberal cabinet minister who nearly destroyed the Bourassa government. Gouin itself is the home riding of Françoise David, the seatless co-leader of Quebec solidaire, Quebec's little militant leftist separatiste party that could. Her co-leader, Amir Khadir, was elected in Mercier, just next door (Duceppe's riding covers that one).

Overall, Rosemont is the riding for the NDP to gain, and would represent a big victory. But here's where things start running up a wall or two: Alexandre Boulerice will be a very interesting addition the House of Commons if he's elected. Here's why:
Un militant connu de Québec solidaire, Alexandre Boulerice, aussi porte-parole du SCFP, est candidat du NPD dans la circonscription Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie. Dans un échange de courriel, M. Boulerice a soutenu qu'il était toujours membre de QS et indépendantiste.
If you don't know what it says, it's essentially that Boulerice, a Solidaire "militant," says he's still a member of the party and a supporter of Quebec's independence. Hmm.

To his credit, Boulerice goes on to say that it's important to move questions about the environment and social justice before the national question, and that's fair - after all, even the Bloc can manage to do that. But here's the thing: Quebec solidaire is not only just a little left-wing party, it's a rabid little left-wing party that would many in the NDP to shame:
I'll gently remind readers that the Quebec Solidaire, is a much more radical and sovereignist political party than the Parti Quebecois. It's the party of Amir Khadir and the happy home of Quebec's Communist Party, which is an officially recognized wing of the party. At a weekend convention last week, the party called for raising the minimum wage to $16 an hour and the party's leader, Françoise David, called for deliberately slowing down our economic growth because it's bad for the health of citizens.
Oh, yes. He will be a very interesting addition indeed. $16 min wage for everyone! Damn the consequences!

Now, don't get me wrong, a difference of opinion isn't necessarily a bad thing, and having someone that far left sitting about your caucus can't hurt. But my worry is how typical is a Boulerice-style NDP candidate in Quebec? Given that we know the NDP been running paper candidates this election simply because they never expected the huge wave, I suspect there are quite a few like Monsieur Boulerice running for the 'NPD' in Quebec. How many will be elected? How many will dictate Layton's policy direction? What exactly are we going to get that makes up anywhere between 40% to 55% of Layton's caucus, according to projections? There are reasons to be worried. I guarantee you Boulerice will not be alone.

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