Saturday, August 9, 2014

An Old Rumour Resurfaces. Will Charest Step Up When Harper Stands Down?

Posted by MoS, the Disaffected Lib:

An old friend of mine from Ottawa is a veteran Tory with roots going back to the Stanfield years. A couple of years ago my friend mentioned Jean Charest as a possible successor to Stephen Harper. I've heard that rumour off and on since then but nothing ever came of it - until now.

The Montreal Gazette's Don McPherson is now exploring whether Charest could succeed Harper.

Gone, at least for now, but not wanting to be forgotten, Jean Charest raised some eyebrows this week by encouraging us to keep him in mind for political leadership openings that might come up in the next few years.

'“Never say never,” the former Liberal premier said twice to CBC Daybreak host Mike Finnerty on Thursday, about returning to politics, and about running for the federal Conservative party in particular.

At 56, Charest is not too old to consider resuming the political career to which he has devoted most of his adult life.

In terms of election results as a leader, he was generally successful at both the federal and provincial levels.

In his only federal general election as a leader, he brought back the federal Progressive Conservative party from the brink of extinction. In Quebec provincial politics, he was the first leader since Maurice Duplessis in the 1950s to lead his party to victory in three consecutive general elections, although his Liberals were held to a minority in the middle one.

And he was hardly driven from office in disgrace, with the Liberals only narrowly losing the 2012 election after more than nine years in office and an especially difficult last term.

What I've been hearing all along is that Charest is the only likely successor who has had an active organization to springboard a leadership campaign. We'll see.

1 comment:

  1. It’s not surprising that Charest might consider casting about for reactions to the possibility of a return to federal politics given the enthusiasm evident in his most recent cheerleading efforts on behalf of the CETA, performed in his role as chair of a new Chamber of Commerce project called the Partnership for Resource Trade. That outfit has been making itself useful attempting to co-opt, as “advisors-after-the-fact”, labour leaders in the building trades by means of an appeal focussing on “jobs-jobs-jobs” in the resource sector that conveniently distracts their attention from the transnational labour mobility “chapter” that the agreement will force their members to eat.

    Note that Mr. Charest’s current contribution to the public debate consists of rattling off some standard libertarian rhetoric to talk-radio show hosts while treating us to yet another repetition of the “80,000 new jobs” claim (and a few of the other projections) stated in the old Rotman-Linz joint study, such as have been repeated ad nauseam over the last few years by every lobby group, politician or propaganda organ that supports the CETA deal. So the question becomes whether the interests that control the party would consider it useful to assign Charest to a role of direct personal involvement as a candidate for leadership or whether those interests would prefer to retain his services as a well-placed and influential lobbyist and persuasive spokesperson.