Friday, February 26, 2010

Jean Charest as Stephen Harper’s successor? I think not

What a silly joke it is to see Susan Riley of the Ottawa Citizen listing Quebec Premier Jean Charest as one of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s potential successors. She sees00-QUEBEC_ the Liberal premier as being “associated with moderate conservatism,” whatever that means.

True, Mr. Charest was once the leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party, but he quit in 1998 to become leader of the Quebec Liberal Party. And, since 2006 he has often been like a thorn in the shoe of the Conservative government.

He may even have played a significant role in preventing the Conservatives from gaining a majority in the October 2008 federal election. His sharp rebuke of the Conservative government’s cuts in arts funding and its plan to stiffen youth prison sentences did much to kill the Conservatives’ chances of making major headway in Quebec—a key to being able to form a majority government.

Charest might once have been able to claim he was a right-wing federalist, but he has become very much a centre-left politician who looks a lot more like former Quebec premier, Robert Bourassa, and a lot less like Stephen Harper’s potential successor.

A return to federal politics by Mr. Charest seems unlikely, at least, not as leader of the Tories. The old Progressive Conservative Party is a thing of the past, as are many of those PCs who believed one could talk like a conservative but act like a liberal—John Tory was the most recent conservative leader to get that message loud and clear. And the Wildrose Alliance in Alberta seems to be sending a similar message to Premier Ed Stelmach.

Jean Charest does not act like a conservative, he doesn’t even talk like one, both of which are necessary characteristics if one has aspirations to lead the Conservative Party of Canada.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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  1. Anyone who thinks Charest can become conservative leader is either dreaming or out to cause mischief. It is impossible. -Not after the election and especially not after Copenhagen. He was a pathetic federal leader of a pathetic party that is thankfully extinct.

    I don't think he is that stupid. He wants to undo what Peter McKay did and damn us all to Liberal hell for another decade.

  2. If Charest ever managed to attain the Leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, this family will burn all 5 of our memberships.

  3. As a Conservative Party supporter and Canadian living West of Ontario let me assure that you that Mr. Charest would have trouble filling a telephone booth with people from west of Ontario who think he might lead the Conservative Party. The Conservative heartland would never ever vote for Jean Charest for dog catcher or village idiot. The reasons outlined in your posting make him anathema here.

  4. Always remember: progressive conservative = liberal. Also, I kind of note the timing here, remember just before Dion ducked out, the media was also promoting the idea that Harper was going to be replaced? How much more time does Iggy have before they lop his head off? (real conservative)

  5. 20 – 25 years ago I would have loved him as Leader, now? No thank you.

    Tories are an incredibly diverse group; we need to keep that coalition together. If we keep spinning off our “right” leaning members away from the centre and left leaning members we will give, yet again, every election to the Liberal party of Canada. That is unacceptable.

  6. Prentice is the natural choice for a successor IMHO anyway.

    If Charest is thinking about running, he should think again.

    He burned those bridges long ago.

    Crossing my fingers that we get a majority under Harper, making this discussion moot.

  7. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Charest ran for the national liberal leadership? At long last, an alternative to the Conservatives and a strong and credible national Liberal leader. Please Jean, please, return to federal politics and lead the Liberals. The people of Canada need you to return.