Quebeckers woke up this morning to find out the New Democrats had jumped into first place in Quebec in the federal election polls.
Stupor, shock, incomprehension! Is this a federalist plot?
Hardly. It’s the same old NDP that started out the campaign in fourth place in Quebec at only 12% in the polls.
It started out slowly enough, growing one point at a time. Now it has become a wave – “the Orange Wave.”
Layton is a new Quebec hero, Mr. Orange Crush, the guy hobbling around, smiling, laughing, making jokes. He uses his cane as an election prop, waving it around his head.
Poor old Gilles Duceppe, two decades of the Bloc Québécois down the drain, still fighting day in, day out, for his Québec, waiting for that great Independence Day that has never come.
CROP had it 36 % for the NDP, 31 % for the Bloc, 17% for the Conservatives and 13% for the Liberals.
Ekos had it 31.4% for the NDP, 27.2% for the Bloc, 18.4 % for the Conservatives, and 15.5% for the Liberals.
Two polls, same result. Rogues don’t come in pairs.
Everything has changed. Backroom boys will be trying to figure out what to do. They must completely redo their campaigns. What a way to spend Easter Week trying to figure out the future!
Will the wave start and end in Quebec, or will it sweep across the country? There is fertile ground elsewhere for them.
The NDP is the government in Nova Scotia and Manitoba and they have a history in Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.
That’s hardly a one-province-wonder.
So when did the wave start, and how did it start?
It was Layton’s visit to Radio-Canada’s “Tout le monde en parle.”
Court jester Dany Turcotte gave Layton his vote.
Said Turcotte: “he doesn’t have the face of a crosseur.” (No translation needed.)
Layton has humor, and self-deprecating jokes about himself, offering his cane to Michael Ignatieff during the leaders’ debate to help prop up Stephen Harper.
Outside the TV studio afterwards, somebody began chanting “Jack, Jack, Jack” the refrain from Gilles Vigneault’s “Jack Monoloy.”
Layton is still so unknown that some people are still calling him “Monsieur Clayton” (whoever that is.) By voting day, they’ll have the name straight.
The big question is whether his popularity translates into votes in the ballot box? It takes an organization to win elections. And so far all Layton has are polling results. Organizations are not something you build overnight.
But first place in the polls is what we call “a good start,” especially after coming out of fourth place. Now anything is possible.