Qui se ressemble, s'assemble?

Qui se ressemble, s'assemble?

The poetry gets lost in the translation from qui se ressemble, s’assemble to two peas in a pod and if there is a better way to say this in English do let me know, my bilingual brain has trouble getting into its cruising gear this morning. But this is already too long a sentence and also it’s not about me. 

Here’s Mike Harris, former conservative Ontario premier last seen earning top dollar chairing the board of a private operator of long-term care and retirement homes that -- wow, lookee, made lots of money for shareholders throughout the pandemic -- here’s Mike Harris, was I busy attempting to say, who is now endorsing former Quebec premier Jean Charest for the leadership of the federal conservatives. 


This brings to mind the Loco Locass song, Libérez-nous des libéraux, that includes, among many, many great lines, a swipe at both Charest and Harris: 

Jean Charest, Mike Harris : même combat, même charisme

Même kermesse des biens et services publics

Câlisse faut que ça finisse

(Very hard to translate but here’s my best attempt at conveying the meaning, with apologies to the French language and also the gods of elegant swearing: Jean Charest, Mike Harris, same battle, same charisma; Same wholesale selling out of public goods; Fuck me this needs to end.) 

Charest’s biggest positive, other than he’s an adult and not an especially poilievrish one at that, is that he is perceived as being able to deliver Quebec. 

I am not sure who really believes this, but -- how to say this gently -- Jean Charest is not exactly that popular in his home province. His time as premier, and I say this as someone who not only remembers it well but wrote about it extensively at the time, left a bit of a gouge from which his party still struggles to recover. 

These days in Quebec many people are marking the 10th anniversary of the “maple spring,” a large-scale student protest that left plenty of scars. (Printemps érable in French; today is now officially a day of mourning for poetry that don’t translate good.) 

True, the people who were on the side of the students and against Charest’s government 10 years ago are not likely to be involved in the CPC leadership race. But they do organize and vote in general elections. I know Charest is an impressive campaigner. But. 

Even among Quebecers who are centre-right, the endorsement of Mike Harris isn’t a prize worth winning. I understand politicians need to seek whatever support they can get, and to repeat, Charest is a very impressive campaigner, but I’d be amazed if this particular endorsement paid off.