May 19, 2024
Jean Charest decides that the Conservative Party doesn't deserve him
Someone seems to have convinced Charest he’s yesterday’s man, and Charest doesn’t seem too happy about it.
Someone seems to have convinced Charest he’s yesterday’s man, and Charest doesn’t seem too happy about it.

Certain pundits — well, one at least — had speculated in recent weeks that Jean Charest might be a plausible defender and leader of a Canadian conservative coalition that sometimes seems scared of its own shadow.

If nothing else, it seemed reasonable to assume Charest appreciated the nature of that coalition. He lived its glory days under former prime minister Brian Mulroney, and he watched it fall apart after Mulroney’s constitutional adventurism. He led the Progressive Conservative rump that remained in Ottawa for five years, before leaving federal politics to be the federalist champion in Quebec — under the Liberal banner, yes, but with plenty of conservatives’ support, and where else was a federalist conservative in Quebec supposed to go?

Presumably Charest had been paying at least some attention in the meantime, as the conservative coalition reformed, minus most of the Quebec nationalists who split for the Bloc Québécois as Westerners split for Reform.

At the very least, this pundit averred, Charest’s presence in the race would be welcome — an elder (but not elderly) statesman with some gravitas, some appeal in Quebec, and who might hold some of the party’s unserious instincts in check.

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(3) Is smug Eastern socialism the Tories’ solution to Western alienation?

(4) Partnering with government is not a good idea

(5) The lesson Trudeau hopes Liberal MPs have learned — good government is boring government

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