Every Sunday night this fall, Liberal MP Denis Coderre will be the butt of jokes.
But for the ambitious populist politician, becoming a character on a popular television program in Quebec is good news.
The "mini-consecration," as Mr. Coderre called his coming appearances on the Quebec equivalent of Spitting Image , is remarkable given that most characters on the show are current or former party leaders.
"I think that it's an honour to be a part of a show like that," said Mr. Coderre, who is the first backbencher to get his computerized double on Et Dieu créa … Laflaque .
The fact that Mr. Coderre is slated to get more visibility will annoy Liberals who feel he is already consuming too much media time in Quebec. But it is a simple reflection of the fact that Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff relies on him much more for organizational and communications purposes than did his predecessor, Stéphane Dion.
Mr. Coderre, 45, maintains a heavy web presence on Facebook and regularly pops up on everything from cultural to sports shows in Quebec. He was a guest at a major comedy event at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal this week, and he is all over the province at Liberal nomination meetings this summer.
Mr. Coderre is known for rarely refusing an interview request, something which long ago earned him the nickname "Kid Coderre" - a reference to "Kid Kodak," a Quebec term for a media hound.
Getting a spot on Laflaque is only natural for Mr. Coderre, according to the program's creator, who describes him as a prototypical "old-style politician."
"He is a human caricature," award-winning cartoonist Serge Chapleau said while introducing the animated version of the glad-handling Mr. Coderre recently.
Even so, the Coderre character could be a mixed blessing for the Liberals, said political analyst and former Liberal cabinet minister Jean Lapierre.
For starters, his regular appearances will serve as a reminder that Mr. Ignatieff does not have the stature in Quebec to get his own computerized puppet on the show.
"The only federal Liberal with notoriety in Quebec is Denis Coderre," said Mr. Lapierre, who spends his summer holidays quizzing people in the Eastern Townships about politics. "It's as if Michael Ignatieff doesn't exist."
While the Coderre character will appeal to Quebeckers who love his aggressive politics, it will repel those who have grown tired of him or who have never liked his style. Mr. Coderre, who was first elected in 1997, "does not represent Liberal renewal," Mr. Lapierre said.
No one disputes Mr. Coderre's organizational prowess as the party's Quebec lieutenant, or his ability to communicate his message. But he has stepped on a lot of toes in establishing his political territory as the Liberal lieutenant in Quebec, and his best quotes are often partisan and are rarely refined.
These days Mr. Coderre regularly gets an early spots in the Liberal lineup during Question Period, and he frequently makes news with his attacks on the Conservative government.
"This summer," he said last month as he attacked the employment-insurance program, "people will die of hunger and they want to know what [the government]will do."
Mr. Coderre said he simply "calls a spade a spade."
"What you see is what you get. Not everyone is happy, but I sleep well at night because I want to be transparent and authentic," he said.
Et Dieu créa … Laflaque runs at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday nights on Radio-Canada, and draws an average of 800,000 viewers. The title is derived from the 1956 French film And God Created Woman starring Brigitte Bardot, with Laflaque being a fictional anchorman created by Mr. Chapleau.