Andre Arthur: Toned-Downed Quebecois Version of Howard Stern Elected as Independent
Recently saw Andre Arthur being interviewed on the CBC. Arthur is the only independent elected to Canadian parliament this election. He represents a riding in Quebec city, where he's a very popular and controversial talk-radio host. From what I saw of him today he actually seemed fairly reasonable and articulate. He's actually a federalist, so every party in parliament will have a shot at working with him.
He's gotten a lot of media attention for making comments describing African students as 'sons of cannibals', and claiming that Lucien Bouchard was having an affair with Rene Levesque's widow (at least you have to give the guy credit for being creative with his slander). I wouldn't take that too seriously since nowadays shock is more or less a prerequisite for any successful radio host. I wouldn't be surprised if the Conservatives are able to eventually bring him to their party. After all the Cons seem to be a natural fit for angry loud-mouthed curmudgeon types. Being a radio talk-show ranter, he'll be a natural for appealing to the Conservative Party base, angry white middle-aged men. Sorry couldn't resist.
Given how tarnished the Liberals are in Quebec, the resurgent Le Bleu would seem the most logical choice for this guy if he decided to join a party. The Cons being desperate for any more seats in Quebec would happy to take him- it could serve as nice window dressing too, since it'd show there's room for the unconventional and hip in the party. Also, a colourful character like Arthur, would make for a much needed contrast to their stiff, cold-eyed, policy-wonk of a leader- an uncomfortable Harper can make Al Gore look like James Brown. Who the heck shakes hands with their children when dropping them off at school. Even Ward Cleaver showed more open affection to his brood ;-) Goes to show you the Canadian electorate doesn't quite fall for flash like the rowdy mob south of the border.
However, I'm sure Arthur will enjoy being an independent for some time though. He'll have plenty of opportunity to play the be a kingmaker in a parliament where the Conservatives and NDP are one seat short of a majority. I have the feeling this guy will have the savvy to leverage his independent status for all its worth. The media hasn't given him much attention so far because of his irreverent style, but we'll be hearing plenty about him as soon as the Cons start trying to push through anything remotely right of center. A ranter like Arthur would also likely be a natural ally when it comes to electoral and ethical reform. We'll find out how it plays out soon enough.