Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 3, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Tuesday, December 3, 1974 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 23 Stanfield's disappointment? not winning Quebec OTTAWA (CP) Progressive Conservative Leader Robert Stanfield says his greatest disappointment in 26 years of political life is his failure to win the confidence of Quebec voters. "I went after the national leadership of the Conservative party in Ottawa to work at improving our position in Quebec and at reviving the trust of he said in a recent inter- view. "I came with the ambition of sub- stantially increasing the support of Quebecers for our party but I must accept the evidence that I did not meet with any great success Mr. Stanfield nevertheless has no feelings of bitterness of rancor toward Quebecers, who have systematically turned their backs on him in the six years since he first led the federal Conservatives in an election. Describing himself as "realistic and Mr. Stanfield says he recognizes that the presence of Pierre Trudeau as Liberal leader destroyed his chances of becoming grime minister of Canada Mr. Stanfield, by his own choice, spoke almost entirely in. French during an hour-long interview with the French Service of The Canadian Press. "I hope as leader of a national political party I have contributed something to strengthening Canadian unity, to helping build a greater under- standing among all he said. "I think I have represented our party as well as possible across the country but I am disappointed to have failed in Quebec. "While I won the Acadians over to our cause despite their Liberal tradition, I must recognize that the greatest failure in my political career was to have been unable to win the con- fidence of Quebecers, even of English- speaking Quebecers." In the three general elections of 1968, 1972 and 1974, the Conservative party under Mr Stanfield was unable to elect more than four candidates in the 74 federal ridings in Quebec. "I realize that Mr. Trudeau, who is a native Quebecer and a Francophone, was a formidable Liberal leader and I think his presence increased my diffi- culties. "It was natural for Quebecers to give their support to a man, a party, who could very easily and effectively com- municate with them. "It is very important, I think, that the leader of a national party be able to enter easily into contact with all Canadians and in particular with Quebecers Mr. Stanfield, now 60 and planning to give up the Conservative leadership within a year, was pleased that his par- ty increased its percentage of the pop- ular vote in the July 8 federal election "We came from behind and I think we have come a good he said "My successor must continue the work (in Quebec) with the support of the party Mr. Stanfield, who was premier of Nova Scotia for 11 years before moving into federal politics, has not always had an easy life, even within his party, since he became leader in 1967. The former leader, John Die- fenbaker, obstinately clung to his post until the leadership convention forced him from it Since then, a group of western MPs has often acted as though Mr. Diefen- baker remained their leader. National questions like bilingualism have often created a deep malaise within the par- ty. Several times, rumors of rebellion by these western MPs have filtered through the corridors of on the eve of last summer's election campaign. And the day after the election, some western MPs openly called for Mr Stanfield's immediate resignation, holding him largely responsible for the electoral rebuff. Mr Stanfield said: "I never felt alone, but on the other hand I never felt I enjoyed total support from the whole party during the six years. "It is possible that some (party) the subject of bilingualism, for my task more difficult in Quebec, but I don't think I lost the last election for lack of collaboration within the party Mr. Stanfield said he will remain the MP for Halifax until the end of the current Parliament, expected about 1978, unless his successor as party leader wants to open the seat for a byelection "If that's his strategy, I'll resign im- Mr Stanfield said. "But I have obligations to my electors in Hali- fax and I'm prepared to finish my man- date, if my successor wants me to. Mr Stanfield, a lawyer, says he has made no choice about a possible new career. "I would certainly have liked to win a federal election. I'm preparing to resign without bitterness but with many pleasant memories of Canada. ROBERT STANFIELD Snowmobility We guarantee them... Sears 3-way tire guarantee 1. Guaranteed against all tire failure for the life of the tread. 2. Nail punctures fixed at no charge. 3 Monthly-rated tread wearout guarantee. Details at Sears Auto Centre. Great value. 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