Richard Colvin, among others, was supposed to be their eyes and ears in Afghanistan.
That's the main message from last week's byelection foursome. As a result, it is no longer a given that Quebecers will again stand in the way of a Conservative majority in the next general election.
But in the future, the competing aspirations of Quebec francophones are more likely to erode the consensus that underlies Bill 101 than the House of Commons or even the Supreme Court.
Michael Ignatieff has so far demonstrated no capacity to rewrite it on his own. Filling the Quebec intellectual vacuum at the top of the Liberal pyramid should be an absolute priority.
This reference comes at a time when sovereignty has been steadily running out of steam; it will be a test of the recent resilience of federalism in Quebec.
It does not mean Conservative strategists will be burning the midnight oil to engineer their own defeat, but it does mean Stephen Harper has no cause to bend over backward to avoid an election
Unless the Grits' intellectual vacuum is addressed, the Liberal machine in Quebec will continue to rattle on empty.
It is virtually impossible for an opposition leader to dispose of caucus deadwood. Given that, finding attractive ridings for star candidates amounts to looking for a needle in a Quebec haystack.
But since the Liberal leader has gone on the election warpath, he and his strategists have largely recreated the dynamics that led to their party's demise last year.
On the plus side, though, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chrétien and Stephen Harper all came from behind to win. And the Liberals are hardly the only ones for whom a potential fall campaign amounts to a big leap in the dark.
The Liberals are also convinced the longer they keep the government going, the more they are enabling Harper to mature in power.
'In the wake of a convention where talk of moving the NDP into power dominated the proceedings, less substance than ever stands in the way of a post-election flirt between the Liberals and the New Democrats.'
To this day, the Bloc QuÃ©bÃ©cois has regularly thrived on the miscalculations of its opponents.
The day will likely soon come when the Liberals decide that a risky leap into an election is preferable to the misery of continuing to extend the Conservatives a lifeline. But that day is unlikely to spell the end of the need for creative arrangements bet
With an eye to the next election, neither of the two national opposition parties is eager to get on the wrong side of an Ontario-driven bailout.
If anything, the issue stands to backfire on the Liberals in Quebec.
Putting satisfactorily to rest the suspicions that gave rise to a public inquiry into his dealings with the German Canadian lobbyist was always going to be a quasi-impossible mission.
It may be that if the Prime Minister had seen action first-hand on the unity front, he would be more wary of salting the federalist earth in Quebec for his own electoral purposes.
The new Liberal tack on EI is just one of many ways in which the perfect economic storm that has overtaken Canada's former richest province is also changing the national discourse.
A leadership campaign would certainly give the NDP the much-needed pre-election exposure it has so desperately come to crave since Michael Ignatieff has become Liberal leader.
On Sunday, Aug. 23 Ottawa celebrated its 30th annual pride march through downtown. All four main political parties had a contingent in the parade, with the Liberals first in the line of marchers. Here Orleans candidate Andrew Leslie and a slightly hidden Ottawa South MP David McGuinty walk together, alongside dozens of supporters.
More Liberal supporters march in the parade. Liberal MPP for Ottawa Centre Yasir Naqvi, Ottawa-West Nepean candidate Anita Vandenbeld, Kanata-Carleton candidate Karen McCrimmon, and Hull-Alymer candidate Greg Fergus were marching too.
The local Green party contingent in the parade threw their support around Kanata-Carleton candidate Andrew West.
The New Democrats making their way onto the parade route, flanked by local unions UFCW Locals 175 & 633, and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).
NDP candidate for Orleans Nancy Tremblay was all smiles next to Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar.
Paul Dewar and the NDP supporters were yelling "Happy Pride" as they marched. Carleton candidate kc Larocque, Kanata-Carleton candidate John Hansen, Ottawa South candidate George Brown, and Nepean candidate Sean Devine were there, too.
Despite a petition looking to ban the LGBTory contingent from marching in the parade, about two-dozen supporters took part, holding signs that included "I kissed a Tory and I liked it," and "I am Conservative, I support trans rights." The latter was inspired by backlash over Bill C-279, the trans bill of rights that was killed by Conservative Senators during the last session of Parliament.
Nepean Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod, and Ottawa Centre federal candidate Damian Konstantinakos (far right) were the only politicians The Hill Times spotted among the LGBTory contingent.
Ontario Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod. She also marched earlier this summer in the Toronto Pride Parade alongside Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown.
The LGBTorys were joined by Melissa Hudson, the chair of Trans-Action Group, a non-profit focused on Transgender health and employment. As well, some marchers carried signs, seen above, that list the 18 federal MPs past and present who "stand with" the LGBTorys.
The LGBTory contingent calls themselves the 'Rainbow Conservatives of Canada" according to a handout they had at their tent set up as part of the street fair alongside the parade. All parties had sign-up lists at their booths, looking to gain supporters and volunteers. On the handout, it says they want to "break the left wing monopoly on the LGBT community," and includes quotes from former Foreign Affairs minister John Baird, and former VP of the Ottawa Centre Conservative Association Fred Litwin.