This is from CTV. Ignatieff seems to realise the necessity for unity. However the front bench of the Liberals will be expanded to include Rae and poor Dion will be the dimmest light of the three Liberal stars. He will have even more competition.
Given these polls I would predict there will be no election. Ralph Goodale on TV today was spouting the old line about Canadians not wanting an election and that Canadians want parliament to work. Goodale helped out Dion by plumping for Joan Beatty to run in Saskatchewan! Now he helps him out with garbage rhetoric.
It will be easy for Liberals to swallow their pride and support the Conservatives. They haven't any pride left.
Poll paints grim picture for Liberals in Quebec
Federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion speaks to reporters after a meeting in Montreal Friday March 28, 2008. (Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Jean Lapierre of La Presse speaks to CTV's Craig Oliver on March 30, 2008.
L. Ian MacDonald of The Montreal Gazette speaks to CTV's Craig Oliver on March 30, 2008.
CTV.ca News Staff
Updated: Sun. Mar. 30 2008 3:22 PM ET
A new poll paints a devastating picture of a Liberal party completely reduced to a rump in Quebec if an election were held today.
"For the Liberals, they are in a worse position than they were in the middle of the sponsorship scandal," political commentator Jean Lapierre told CTV's Question Period on Sunday.
Political commentator L. Ian McDonald told Question Period that the CROP poll, conducted for the La Presse newspaper, establishes the Conservatives as the federal brand outside Montreal -- especially as the Bloc Quebecois sags.
The Bloc, which has been the province's dominant party, is down to 30 per cent support. The Tories are nipping at the sovereigntist party's heels with 29 per cent. The Liberals have only 20 per cent support, and the NDP are at 15 per cent.
"But when you drill down inside those numbers, they're awful for (Liberal Leader Stephane) Dion," McDonald said.
For francophones, who comprise about 85 per cent of Quebec voters, support breaks down this way:
Bloc: 35 per cent
Tories: 30 per cent
Liberals, NDP: Tied at 15 per cent
A key region is Quebec City, the so-called 418 region. The news for the Liberals there is even worse:
Tories: 41 per cent
Bloc: 25 per cent
NDP: 17 per cent
Liberals: 14 per cent
"Quebec City is Mr. Dion's home town. He's in fourth place in his home town," McDonald said. "A leader without a base is like a prophet without a homeland."
Dion currently represents a Montreal-area riding -- Saint-Laurent - Cartierville.
Lapierre said the bad news isn't confined to the Liberals.
"The Bloc has never been in such bad shape," he said, noting the party has lost 12 points of support since the 2006 federal election.
Lapierre credited Thomas Mulcair, elected in Montreal's Outremont riding byelection last fall (a take-away from the Liberals) and appointed deputy leader, with improving the NDP's fortunes in Quebec.
And he said the Liberal brand continues to be hurt in Quebec by the sponsorship scandal.
Deputy Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff tried to downplay the poll's results.
"We are the one political formation, this has been true since Laurier, that says to Quebeckers come and work together to make a great country called Canada in which French Canadians and English
Canadians work in partnership and harmony, in which the French identity of their country is recognized as being foundational to who we are," he told Question Period.
"We've got to get back to that simple message. Come and make this place, Canada, a great country. When we do that, they always listen. They always come to us and they always will."
The poll follows a week in which Liberal dissension in Quebec has publicly boiled over, with some critics openly taking potshots at Dion's leadership and the state of the party.
Dion in turn called for party discipline.
"The reality is that Mr. Dion is trying to kill the messenger," Lapierre said, adding Dion probably couldn't win more than 10 seats if an election were held today.
More ominously for Dion, McDonald said Ontarians like to vote for a national government. If the Liberals are seen as moribund in Quebec, it could start affecting their chances in Ontario, he said.
"When you're a federal leader coming from Quebec, usually the question is can you deliver Quebec," Lapierre said. "And right now the answer is a resounding 'no'."
This explains the dissension. "They (the dissidents) are trying to give him a warning, but he doesn't want to listen," he said.
With people taking potshots at Dion's leadership, those perceived as his potential successors have been drawn into the infighting.
Ignatieff was alleged to have said Dion lacked the stature to be leader, but he has denied making any such statement.
"This is just rubbish," he said Sunday.
"It never pays to underestimate Stephane Dion. He has an extraordinary tenacity. That's the thing that strikes you day after day after day. Because sometimes there's a lot of pounding you get as an opposition leader. He stood up to it all. And I hope I can help him. My job is very clear. It's to make him the next Prime Minister of Canada and that's what I'm trying to do."
Many of those opposed to Dion in Quebec supported Ignatieff in the leadership race.
"I get up occasionally, pick up the phone and say in French, t'aissez vous, which means shut up in English," Ignatieff said.
"He's called for discipline. I called for discipline. We will win when we're united, and we will certainly hang separately if we're disunited, so that's the message I've been sending. It's the message he's been sending, and we're at one on that issue."
With the House of Commons set to resume on Monday, the talk may again return to election timing. Asked if Parliament can survive until fall, Ignatieff said, "I can't tell you."
There are rumours that Dion might reshuffle his front bench to give newly-elected MP Bob Rae, who finished third in the leadership race, a prominent role on the front bench.
"To the best of my knowledge, the front bench, there will be some changes to the front bench, but changing me is not one of the things we're discussing," Ignatieff said.
"This is an incredibly strong team. I can't remember now off the top of my head how many people on our team have had cabinet experience, but it's a hell of a good list and it's a hell after good team. And when Canadians look at our team versus their team, they're going to think, 'I like that team, that Liberal team'."
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