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Quite a few Globe & Mail columnists, among others, have been predicting doom and gloom for the NDP in Québec, post-Layton. These people forget that Layton is the second popular leader that Québec has lost this year; Duceppe's defeat and resignation has also left the Bloc in tatters, and since the wind is out of the sovereigntist movement's sails, there are a lot of political activists, Québec nationalists, out of a federal party. The more separatist among them will stay home, but many militants who were supporting the Bloc for its social-democratic policies will now need a new home. Doesn't joining the official opposition to Stephen Harper sound like the best thing to do in these circumstances? I think many of them will, and that the NDP will inherit a fair chunk of the Bloc's network. Many of them are disillusioned with the PQ anyway, so it's not like they'll just retreat to provincial politics and stay there.

So a party that won Québec on Layton's sheer force of will and 8 years of dedication to bringing the province to the NDP fold will have an organization worth talking about next time around.

But whether the NDP wins big in Québec next time around is not the most important thing. What counts the most is that the Bloc stays down, and if it does, we will be able to credit Layton with putting one of the final nails in the separatist coffin, and bring Québec's left as full participants in the federation. That's a game-changer. This will have an impact for the NDP, and maybe even for the Liberal Party.

* * *

If it wasn't for the fact that Québec Solidaire is a sovereigntist party (I think that's mostly a pro forma commitment, but it's definitely official policy, since until Layton, the left in Québec seemed uncurable of its separatist disease), I think Amir Khadir would make an excellent candidate for the NDP leadership. I don't think he would win the race, but he would be the most compelling standard-bearer of the left-wing of the party in a long time.

F. mentions Judy Rebick. I don't think she's interested in the job at all, but I'd go to the front for her.

I'm curious to see how the caucus will shape up. I hope they won't coalesce around a Mulcair too early and wait for candidates come out of the provincial parties...
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Fascinating article in the Sunday Star about the francophone presence across North America, and specifically in the United States...
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Current Québec election standings, as we speak:
ADQ 47
Liberals 45
PQ 32
Québec Solidaire was said to be ahead in one riding earlier tonight, as well.

These are preliminary scores, there are many more votes to be counted.

For those not keeping the score, there hasn't been a right-wing government in Québec since 1959. Of course this will finish in a minority, so it's not as bad. But Dumont has like, 5 "ministrables" at most. Also, as the outgoing head of government, Charest can ask the Lt.-Governor to continue to government, if he can hold the confidence of Parliament.
Keep your eyes peeled.

ETA: The Liberals finished on top. Phew. This is the beginning of the end for separatists in Québec. If the Liberals manage to move a bit left, they might squeeze the PQ off the scene in a few elections.

A lot of people are thinking that this bodes well for a federal spring election for Harper. I'm not quite so sure, but the prospect frightens me a lot. But the politics of individualism have finally caught up with Québec.

Amir Khadir and Françoise David almost won for Québec Solidaire. That's some pressure on the left for the PQ there. Next time around, if the PQ is down in the polls, some lefties my skip on the strategic voting and vote with their heart.

ETA2: I've been invited to the La Presse examination for their summer internship!! Fingers crossed.
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Le PQ, l'ADQ et le PLQ à égalité statistique

Last week, one week ahead of most commentators, I started talking about a minority government in Québec. Now that they have talked about that, these new poll numbers lead me to think about a possible ADQ minority. I don't think the ADQ can muster a majority (the PLQ is strong in Montréal, and the PQ is gaining some ground on the Liberals in ridings were the Liberals wouldn't win anyway) but after seeing Brian Mulroney on The Hour yesterday, I'm thinking, you know, everything is possible.

An ADQ victory would be a huge boost for Harper's future fortunes in Québec. Keep your eyes peeled.

ETA: Michel Auger, in his cyberpresse blog, recounts the 1990 Bob Rae scenario (en français) to imply that the ADQ (he doesn't name them) is in line to win the election.

[ profile] compasspoints, what are the options in your riding? :]
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Maybe I could have mentioned Tout le Monde en Parle in my Top 5... It's Québec's most-watched talk show with 2 million viewers, basically a third of the French-speaking population. It's an intelligent show with a wide, popular reach. Host Guy A. Lepage receives about half a dozen guests who are interviewed and spend about 4 hours on the set; afterwards, their conversations are compressed into a 2 hour show, with Guy A. doing the editing himself. He's not an ace interviewer; he can be witty, but most of his questions are prepared in advance and he doesn't really budge from his show plan. Guy A. used to be part of Rock et Belles Oreilles, the comedy troupe that broke every taboo, and accordingly the show has few limits, should the guests want to go there. Guy Fournier, Radio-Canada/CBC's president, learned the lesson at his expense when he praised the joys of defecation, and later on had to resign after the public outcry (louder in English Canada, I should say).

What's really interesting about this show is that the day's most important actors come to talk about their experiences. Since we're in an election campaign, this week André Boisclair visited the show, to be followed by Mario Dumont and Jean Charest in the next couple weeks. Boisclair really needed a boost, as he is seen as detached from the regular population, too refined and mealy-mouthed. The overwhelming response (both blog entry and in comments, en français) seems to be that he just saved his election campaign on the show tonight. His answers were quite to the point, he was speaking in every day language and didn't flash his idiotic Colgate smile too much. He also addressed the question of "reasonable accomodations" correctly, one of the hot topics of this election campaign. He didn't give any KO, but his few attacks on his opponents were to the point and will stick in people's minds for the week to come. If Boisclair can continue to behave like he did on that show tonight, the PQ might be back in the race, or at least it can stop the bleeding to the ADQ.

The results of the Québec election will bear a serious weight on the federal scene. Harper is praying that the PQ doesn't win, since in a follow-up federal elections, people would be more inclined to vote for the Liberals, the known separatist-fighters. A Québec Liberal re-election, on the other hand, would cement the Harper-Charest relationship. A Charest victory would boost Harper's claim that federalism works for Québec. But in order to give Charest a hand, Harper will release the federal budget one week before the provincial election. Will Harper spend billions of dollars in Québec? A proposal to re-engineer the perequation formula was leaked to the press in January: resources revenues were included at 50%, with Québec being the only winner of the new formula, and Alberta losing some money. Will Harper push this forward? If so, will people in Québec just take the money and run, or recognize the attempt at buying them off and vote accordingly?

The timing is set so that the budget can have its impact on the provincial election, but before it gets voted on in the House of Commons, allowing for some backtracking or simply the defeat of the Harper government. It's going to leave a rather short time for people to react, especially since budgets are such large documents. First impressions and early analysis of the federal budget could have a certain impact on the election... Anyway, we'll see what happens.
frandroid: A key enters the map of Palestine (palestine)
For English Canadians, Québec is sometimes a political twilight zone... In this instance, it is a place where a right-wing shock-jock is the one siding with the Palestinians and unsurprisingly, being a shock jock, comparing Israel to the Nazis (d'un blogue sur to cite the source, although not really worth reading). Aijjaz Ahmad has allies in unlikely places ;]
frandroid: (stephen harper)
Harper veut acheter le Québec avec deux milliards de dollars []

So allegedly Harper has decided to make the Bloc an offer it can't refuse. Should the Bloc bring down the government budget on Kyoto concerns, Harper will have a good tool to bludgeon Duceppe with in Québec. If this goes forward, it will most probably guarantee Charest's re-election this spring. Look at how federalism works. Why yes, Harper buys an election now and cuts in services (or skimps on Kyoto, anyway) later in order to pay for the purchase.

It's kind of interesting because Harper would do this mostly with Alberta and Saskatchewan's money, actually, for the perequation part. If you let me take your money to buy off Québec, we will end up with a majority and we'll rule the country from Calgary.

Once this budget goes through, not only Charest but also McGuinty will have to admit that Harper fixed a problem that the Liberals created in 1995 when they gutted social programs. That's going to be some mighty support for the next election.

After I wrote my entry on simultaneous elections (which now makes even less sense), I was thinking that it would be just much cheaper to buy off the Bloc than the NDP, both economically and ideologically. The Bloc has conflicting interests that can be played off each other, whereas the NDP's conflicting interest is the Conservative Party.

This could work for Harper. Be watchful.
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We had a weeeee little bit of snow yesterday!! And the t° has remained under the freezing point today, so it's even been sticking around. Exciting!! They're forecasting rain for tomorrow, but still freezing temperatures, so I don't know how that will pan out. They're forecasting -8°C on Wednesday with more snow. I might finally have a tiny bit of winter!

As everybody in the know has been pointing out when seeing my icon, Québec has NOT been cold this year, except on the night when I took this picture. This icon is not a complaint about the cold, but a longing for it. Note my smile.

*** ETA: I finally went outside tonight: snow everywhere, slippery roads, some slush, boots necessary. Man, this is the climate I was raised to live in. I would certainly adapt to other climates, but I really really dig winter.

So I went to the bakery. They had just closed the cash so they couldn't sell me the loaf of wholewheat bread I wanted, which they were giving away to the food bank, but for some reason they weren't donating the scones, bread rolls and flatbreads, so I got a bag full for free. Score!


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