Quebec 2008

With the elections coming up and everything, I thought it would be a good idea to post a little something on the elections and Quebec politics.

Firstly, the parties.

Quebec Liberal Party (Parti libéral du Québec, PLQ): The Liberals are the main federalist (anti-independence) party in Quebec, and also the oldest (in existence since Confederation). In the ’60’s, the Lesage era, the Liberals had a largely autonomist platform (though not nationalist). However, since the Charlottetown Accords, the party has become more right-wing and more federalist. Its leader is former federal Conservative (PC) MP, cabinet minister, and PC leader Jean Charest.

Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ): The ADQ is a socially and fiscally conservative/populist party that claims to be “autonomist” (apparently, Dumont likes the Catalonian autonomy status) and wants a “Quebecois constitution”. From 1994 to 2003, Dumont was the ADQ’s only MNA. In 2003, some early polls showed the ADQ leading the field, but in the end it only won 4 seats (apart from Dumont’s seat, they were in the conservative rural areas of Beauce/Chaudiere-Appalaches). As a result of public dissatisfaction with Charest and the weak PQ leader, the party won 41 seats in 2007, most of those 41 MNAs were paper candidates, and thus they failed horribly in opposition. The party is similar, in some respects, to the conservative/nationalist Union Nationale of Maurice Duplessis that reigned in Quebec from the ’40’s to to early ’60’s. The UN was closely allied with the omnipotent Catholic church.

Parti Québécois (PQ): The PQ is a generally left-wing party, but its main platform is the independence of Quebec from Canada. Evolved from the more radical RIN in the ’60’s, it formed governments several time since 1976, though both independence referendums in 1980 and 1995 failed (the 1995 one was very close). It usually had the support of organized labour, such as the CSN, though the CSN endorsed QS in 2007.

Green Party (Parti vert, PVQ): A new party to the political scene, the PVQ does not seem to take a stance on the independence question, though the old Greenies that briefly existed in 1989 were nationalists.

Québec solidaire (QS): Some say this is the provincial version of the NDP, which is far off from the truth. QS is a left-wing (in some respects, it’s very similar to the Scottish Socialist Party, SSP) and nationalist party. It rallies Trots, Commies, altermondialists, feminists, ecosocialists and so forth.

The latest poll, out today from the usually reliable CROP sez this (change from the last poll)

Lib 45% (=)
PQ 29% (-3)
ADQ 15% (+3)
Greenies 6% (+1)
QS 5% (=)
Others 1% (+1)

Francophone: PQ 36%, Lib 35%, ADQ 17%, Greenies 6%, QS 5%, Oth 1%.
Non-Francophone: Lib 89%, Greenies 4%, ADQ 3%, PQ 2%, QS 2%
Best PM: Charest 43, Marois 24, Mario 13, NOTA 12, Und 8
I don’t care about this!: 54% (-3) agree with me. Down from 60ish in the first days, but still not a good sign for turnout.
Approve: 48-48 approve of the government. -3 for approvals, +3 for disapproval.

Lib 45% (=)
PQ 29% (-3)

Francophone: PQ 36%, Lib 35%, ADQ 17%, Greenies 6%, QS 5%, Oth 1%.
Non-Francophone: Lib 89%, Greenies 4%, ADQ 3%, PQ 2%, QS 2%

Important subsamples for Quebec politics. Be careful with the non-francophone samples in polls, since those have a high MoE, but gives a good indication overall. In the 1998 election, the PLQ won 43% of the vote against 42% for the incumbent PQ, but the PQ won 76 seats and the PLQ won only 48 seats. There is a difference between how high the PLQ might poll and the number of seat it will win on election night. The PLQ wins anywhere from 60% to 90% in the wealthy Anglo seats on the Montreal West Island, and the Liberal problem comes partly from there. The Liberal support is concentrated in around 40 seats (West Island, a few in east Montreal, Montreal suburbs, Outaouais and random spots in the Eastern Townships). For the Liberals to win an election, they need a strong popular vote victory. A tie means, generally, a PQ victory.

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Posted on December 6, 2008, in Canada, Election Preview, Quebec. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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