A recent poll by Ipsos-Reid has indicated that Liberal Party fortunes in Alberta seem to be turning. If an election were held today Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party could pocket as many as 10 seats in Alberta.
Despite what Liberals would like Conservatives to believe, this isn't exactly cause for panic. Over the last few years polls in Alberta have been notoriously unreliable.
But if indeed Liberal support in Alberta is growing it would indicate that perhaps Albertans have forgotten about Trudeau's 2010 comments in which he blamed Alberta for Canada's economic struggles of the time.
"Canada isn't doing well right now because it's Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda. It doesn't work," Trudeau remarked. "I'm a Liberal, so of course I think so, yes. Certainly when we look at the great prime ministers of the 20th century, those that really stood the test of time, they were MPs from Quebec... This country - Canada - it belongs to us."
So if Quebec's leadership were so crucial to Canada's success, you would think that Quebec would be doing great compared to the rest of Canada, right?
Well, no. Especially not if you compare its largest city and economic centre, Montreal, to the rest of Canada's cities. Over the past 20 years, Montreal's development has not only lagged behind those of other Canadian cities, but the city itself as declined on a staggering scale.
Montreal's unemployment rate (8.5%) is greater than the averaged unemployment rates of Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and -- most inconveniently for Trudeau's sense of Quebeois superiority over Albertans -- Calgary and Edmonton. Averaged, these five cities have an unemployment rate of just 6.3%.
There's plenty to parse through in the BMO report on Montreal's decline. They offer some very interesting solutions -- interestingly enough, they're things that are already being done in Alberta. It notes the high rate of corruption in Quebec, especially in the construction industry.
There's practically nothing in the report that isn't a crippling blow to Trudeau's Quebec-centric point of view. In a recent YouTube video prefacing the Liberal Party's upcoming package of economic policies, Trudeau claims that the income level of families is suffering while they continue to take on more and more debt. Disposable income per family in Edmonton and Calgary have increased 110%, in real terms, since 1998. In Montreal, the increase has been a mere 51%.
So does Canada really need the leadership of Quebec? Is Albertan leadership the economic problem in Canada? Or should Quebec's cities instead follow the lead of Alberta's cities, and Quebec's economy follow the example of Alberta's?
Unfortunately for Justin Trudeau, the answer to that question may not be as soothing to his political vanity as he may have hoped... or simply assumed.