Canadian Politics/Laws

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Re: Canadian Politics/Laws

Unread postby Lady Wu » Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:59 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, leader of the Parti Quebecois, has dissolved the parliament and there will be elections as she seeks to turn minority into majority government. Anyone get any thoughts or predictions?

Yeah, can someone who's following this explain what on earth is going on? With the "Charte des valeurs" brouhaha still unsettled and dismal employment numbers coming in, what makes her thinks she might win a majority? Or is it a case of "ooh Ukraine gets to have a referendum we should have one too"?
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Re: Canadian Politics/Laws

Unread postby Antiochus » Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:55 am

Been a while...

Lady Wu wrote:Yeah, can someone who's following this explain what on earth is going on? With the "Charte des valeurs" brouhaha still unsettled and dismal employment numbers coming in, what makes her thinks she might win a majority? Or is it a case of "ooh Ukraine gets to have a referendum we should have one too"?


Well, first there is the fact that the charter project, while flawed, managed to get a fairly wide base of support. It plays on the existential anxiety that plagues Quebec national consciousness and the issues with public accommodations for religious minorities, which got a lot of media attention a few years ago.

Yet, its more than that...

The PQ is currently very aware that it has the advantage. Quebec's Liberal Party, still reeling from various corruption allegations, is currently weak. Its leadership has failed to provide its followers with an actual project, essentially playing the ''good governance card'', which does not sell as well as it could given the aforementioned corruption problems. What they do have is a highly efficient electoral machine, but no real substance to give it traction with the electorate.

Matters where made worse by a few bad calls by Phillippe Couillard, the party's new leader. In a nutshell, the man seems more ideologically suited for the federal Liberal Party rather than its Quebecois counterpart. The PLQ (Quebec's liberals), while still staunchly federalist, was still opposed to ratifying 1982's constitutional text, the ''night of the long knives'' still casting a huge shadow on the whole process in the province. Couillard, on the other hand, came out in favor of a unilateral ratification, without any form of public consultation. He also took a harsh position on most assertion of Quebec's nationalism, to an extent that seems alien even to moderate liberals.

You can imagine that this position, in a political landscape mainly occupied by a debate over the charter, was polarizing. Yet, he failed to truly adopt a stance on the issue and allowed his party to fall to infighting. Fatima Houda Pepin, a liberal MP, built up a liberal answer to the PQ's charter, which resulted with her being clumsily expelled from the liberal caucus. This expulsion of the party's most well known muslim figure essentially melted the Liberal's illusion of a political high ground in the debate.

The PQ, on the other hand, has been uncharacteristically disciplined for the past few months. Their harsher position on religious freedoms and immigration allowed this traditionally left-leaning party to make gains on the right, mainly outside Montreal. They also took a significant bite off the support of the province new right-leaning party, the Coalition Avenir Quebec, which seems to be dying under its own unfulfilled ambitions.

Essentially, its an attempt at reforging the old coalition that made the PQ strong in its heyday, labor and union left allied with the rural conservatives under the common umbrella of national affirmation. A difficult balancing act only made possible, in my opinion, by the mistakes of its opponents.

Also, the PQ is playing a game of ambiguity. When asked if it would launch a new referendum on Quebec's independence, they aim to remain as uncommitted as possible. The liberals, on the other hand, are using this as a rallying cry, making the specter of a referendum a key part of their campaign. Again, this is not as good a strategy for the provincial liberals as for the federal liberals. In Quebec, the right of the province government to open that debate is a matter of pride and national self-determination, even among a majority of federalists. Since no polls suggest that independence would carry a majority, the liberal's campaign falls flat with a large part of the electorate.

This does not mean the PQ's victory is assured (though they still have the lead in the polls). The liberal's base in Montreal is still safe, and the Parti Québecois support in the polls still does not go beyond 40% and the turnout tends to favor the liberals over the polls, which usually underestimates their vote by a percent or two. But its an uphill battle for the liberals. Unless the PQ slips or the liberal performs better than they have up to this point, a PQ majority is within reach.
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Re: Canadian Politics/Laws

Unread postby Antiochus » Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:25 pm

On a side note, it has to be said that the coverage of the campaign in the english-canadian media has been... problematic.

I get the anti-PQ stance, don't get me wrong. I'm not asking canadian medias to like Pauline Marois. Though I would say that the cartoonishly evil portrayal of the PQ serves no one, especially not the federalist cause and the Liberal party within Quebec. It gives an impression so far from reality, which is hardly ever challenged, giving an impression that the PQ is weaker and less functional than it actually is.

I just read the Globe's paper on Pierre Karl Peladeau, the owner of Quebecor and new star candidate for the PQ, and its a tragic joke. Instead of identifying the threat for what it is; the appearance of a very known business figure that has a great deal of clout on the right of the political landscape, which the PQ needs, the Canadian media seem to reduce the man to a parody of what he actually is, completely missing the strategical significance of his candidacy.

In a single text, Bob Rae, writing in the Globe, manages to bring up unsubtle comparison to Silvio Berlusconni, accuse the man of antisemitism even though the actual quote came from the man's father, who died in the late 90s and even conjured up the ghost of Robespierre and the Comity of Public Safety. I find this appalling and I don't even like Pierre Karl Peladeau. I can't stand his anti-union public stances, not to mention the man rules over a media empire who's mostly known for its populism and, surprisingly, Quebec Bashing discourse. Yet, comparisons to Berlusconni and Robespierre are not just out of place, but also quite offensive.

I understand that Quebec's separatism is not liked in the rest of Canada. Quite understandable. But this ridiculous and excessive portrayal is really only good at giving false impressions and feeds the strategical misunderstandings that allowed this once dying political force to make quite the comeback in the past few years. Unchallenged biased and uninformed analysis seems to be at the core of much of Canada's understanding of Quebec's political landscape, and this in turn greatly affects Quebec's perception of Canada...
Last edited by Antiochus on Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Canadian Politics/Laws

Unread postby Lady Wu » Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:33 pm

Thanks for your detailed reply!

I'm curious how the PQ campaign is reported/portrayed in the French media, or received by the French Quebecois. From what I see, the PQ tries to have fingers in as many pies as possible--sovereignty, charter of values, the left and the right. But you can't please everyone. Where does this leave the left-leaning "oui" crowd who either disagrees with the charter or can't stand being on the same side as Peladeau? Or is the PQ counting on those people not finding a solution in either the PLQ or the CAQ and thus are forced to vote PQ?
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Re: Canadian Politics/Laws

Unread postby Antiochus » Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:33 pm

You are right.

The PQ's attempt to widen its base toward the right shook its support on the left. This explains the sudden surge for Quebec Solidaire, a left to far-left leaning party who also support Quebec's independence, but who took a very critical stance on the Charter and various other PQ policies.

The media coverage in French is actually quite varied, though still biased in certain ways (though probably not the way you would expect). On the one hand, francophone televised and written news outlets have their staunchly federalist bastions, such as the Radio-Canada (the Francophone counterpart to the CBC) and the newspapers owned by PowerCorp. (La Presse, La Tribune etc...). On the other hand, we have Quebecor's francophone medias that tend to be more nationalistic, such as le Journal de Montreal and TVA.

There are certain figures who are ridiculously biased on both side of the fence, but as a whole, the coverage has been quite fair. For example, there has been a rather critical outlook on the PQ's policy and economic policies, but also on the Liberal's lack of an actual political message and somewhat poor leadership.

What needs to be understood about the PQ is that its key support has been very "generational". The Baby Boomers grew up during the PQ's glory days and are still quite taken with its more illustrious figures. As the boomers still represent the biggest chunk of the electorate, not to mention that they actually vote, the Parti Quebecois enjoys solid bases within the population.

On the other hand, the Liberal's key support is among anglophones and other linguistic minority within Quebec. Throughout history, even other federalist political parties failed to take that vote away from the PLQ. Yet, this is a problem since the anglophone community is quite concentrated in the richer neighborhoods of Montreal. As a result, the liberals tend to lose quite a few seats to electoral distortion.

http://storage.canoe.ca/v1/dynamic_resize/id/33804062/?size=500x500&site=blogs&authtoken=3ef318efc0d861959b4b4c43bdd7f1d6&quality=90

Just look at the latest polls. For almost identical results in terms of numbers of vote, the PQ has a rather important advantage when it comes to the seats distribution. Also, you can see how the CAQ 19 seats block has been melting. We might be seeing the return of the bipartisan system in Quebec, which would be a pretty important change.
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Re: Canadian Politics/Laws

Unread postby Antiochus » Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:46 pm

I'll give you an example of the strange dichotomy in media coverage.

The rest of Canada has heard of the PQ's poor numbers on job; back when they were bad. But the latest numbers, courtesy of the ISQ, are actually positive. Of course, that information was given in french medias, even those who tend to be favorable to the Liberals, but its almost absent on the english spectrum.

http://fr-ca.finance.yahoo.com/actualites/47-800-emplois-plus-au-qu%C3%A9bec-en-2013-204400790.html
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Re: Canadian Politics/Laws

Unread postby Antiochus » Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:29 pm

On the latest news, the liberals have enjoyed a surge in the recent polls. The third party, the right leaning Coalition Avenir Quebec (I guess you could translate their name to Coalition for Quebec's future) is essentially dying off and its electoral base seem to largely moving on to the liberal party.

This has been great news for the liberals, though they have dilapidated much of their prospected gains on a poor campaign. The Liberals should have been able to win this with ease, as the return of independence as an electoral topic is really not something the PQ is prepared for. Divided between three parties, the pro-independence side is really divided, while the liberals enjoy a certain monopoly as the guardians of federalism within the province.

I am mostly curious about the CAQ now. Pushed in the ropes, at the brink of disappearance, the party is in panic right now. Its leader, François Legault, is basically desperate for support at this point.
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Re: Canadian Politics/Laws

Unread postby Tigger of Kai » Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:26 am

I'm thankful for these great replies too, and pretty surprised to learn that a Quebec election might be influenced by people I've actually heard of, such as PKP and Ms. Houda-Pepin.
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Re: Canadian Politics/Laws

Unread postby XuSheng » Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:11 am

Im living in Quebec and we mostly hate PQ and Pauline Marois here in Quebec City. We are more with the CAQ. Anyway we only want someone else than PQ. We like PLQ better, surprisingly.
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Re: Canadian Politics/Laws

Unread postby Antiochus » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:09 pm

It must be a harsh election cycle to be a CAQ voter...

The PKP candidature derailed the PQ's message. The liberal's surge has been a surprising twist and the PQ is in panic mode. The debate was pathetic. A cavalcade of demagoguery and half-truths. David was the only one who even came close to propose an original thought, but she doesn't have a chance in hell.
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