The Shotgun Blog
Friday, October 24, 2008
Independent MP André Arthur blames Tories for their minority woes and Quebec underperformance
Independent MP André Arthur was the first candidate endorsed by the Western Standard in the Federal election. Arthur, a libertarian, sits as an Independent so that he can vote and speak freely based on his own convictions, though the Conservative Party chose not to run a candidate against him in the Quebec City riding of Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier. He was reelected by a mere 662 votes.
Arthur sat down with Maclean's reporter Philip Gohier for an interview about his thoughts on the election, the Conservatives' underperformance in Quebec (which he blames on poor strategy and organization by the CPC and ADQ), and his thoughts on the future:
Q: You consider it a loss to have kept 10 of 11 seats?
A: Look, they should have doubled their Quebec caucus. There was a bunch of ridings where we figured the Bloc was in trouble. We made a list at the start: Saint-Maurice—Champlain, that was winnable. Even Michel Guimond in Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord was beatable with a good campaign. The choice of candidates was bad; the campaign strategies were bad; there were some appalling things like [former senator and public works minister] Michael Fortier's anti-Bloc truck. In the end, the one who won most handily for the Conservatives was the one who barred the central organization from doing anything in his riding—and that's Maxime Bernier. Bernier told me on the air that when they wanted to send in their famous truck in his riding, his father Gilles said, "I'm going to stop it before it gets in."
Q: Given the Conservatives' persistent weakness in Quebec and the absence of strong voices in its Quebec caucus, are you expecting to play a bigger role?
A: Not at all. I'm not in the caucus. I'm not a Conservative. I collaborate in a piecemeal way, when it helps the Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier riding. My attitude won't change. If they consult me, I'll tell them: "Fire your organizers, find yourself some strong candidates and start campaigning right away."
Q: You seem more frustrated with the Conservatives, or more specifically, its organizers, than you have in the past.
A: I'm frustrated because it's put us in a dangerous situation. Canada needed a majority government. With the economic period we're entering, we don't need cat fights in Parliament. We needed a strong government. I'm ticked off at the Conservatives who put national unity in danger by letting the Bloc get in their way in an election where separation wasn't even an issue.
Q: You've said on your show that you don't expect this government to last as long as the last one.
A: We lasted two-and-a-half years. Now, as soon as the Liberals dump Dion in May, whether it's [Frank] McKenna or anybody else who replaces him, the first thing that person will ask for is an election and he or she will get one. The only reason we lasted that long in the last Parliament was the Liberals and their financial situation. They were well aware they were going to be flying with Air Inuit.
Though "Le Roi Arthur" is still most well-known for his outspoken opinions as a radio shock jock for 38 years, he reveals that he's also very politically astute; I suppose that's what's necessary for getting elected as an Independent in our party-centric democracy.
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What kind of libertarian says "With the economic period we're entering, we don't need cat fights in Parliament. We needed a strong government."?
Posted by: BlacquesJacquesShellacqes | 2008-10-25 9:53:04 AM
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