Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Off The Montreal Island Is Strong Bloc Country

Tory Breakthrough A Hard Sell In Environs Of Montreal -- Globe And Mail

JOILETTE, QUE. — Renaud Asselin should be Stephen Harper's kind of voter. The 50-year-old farmer is about as conservative as it gets in Quebec's heartland.

He likes Mr. Harper's proposed crackdown on youth crime, saying 14-year-old murderers should be prepared to do hard time.

Mr. Asselin also has no problem with cutting cultural subsidies.

“The only kind of cultural subsidy I care about is in agriculture,” Mr. Asselin said as he moved green peppers from a greenhouse to a nearby barn.

But when asked how he will vote on Oct. 14, Mr. Asselin's allegiance is clear.

“Why, the Bloc,” he says, without a moment's hesitation. “I am one of those indépendantistes.”

It's here, on the northeastern end of the 450 area code, that Stephen Harper's long-awaited Tory blue wave dissipates into the lighter shade of Bloc.

A spate of recent Quebec polls are confirming that Mr. Harper's Tories are trailing in the vast swath of the province south and west of Joliette, an area with more than half of the province's 75 seats.

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