Thursday, October 14, 2010

How a new centre-right party would reshape Quebec

A new centre-right party led by former Parti Québécois cabinet minister François Legault would help oust the Liberal government of Jean Charest, destroy the Action Démocratique du Québec, and radically change the landscape of provincial politics, according to the findings of a new poll by Léger Marketing.

You can read the rest of my article on The Globe & Mail website.

For this piece, I developed a model for Quebec that looks at results for each individual riding. I plan to use the model as the foundation for models for the other provinces and federally. As time goes on, I hope to put more variables into the model to increase it's sophistication.


  1. I dunno if there's really any room for this party. I mean the fact that it drained votes from every other option seems to indicate that it's really just what whatever anyone responding wanted it to be. ADQ had some room to move back in the day, but it couldn't actually translate any support into significant votes until they stumbled on immigrant bashing. Even then, their lack of polish did them in pretty quickly. But they're still crowding the scene.

    It's not like the QLP is all that federalist anymore anyway. I suspect the support being shown is more illusory than not.

  2. The question, however, is whether or not Quebecers are truly that right-wing outside of base areas (or you could say Beauce areas), or do they simply want a new party to cling to? Much like how a lot of Canadians would love a brand new leader than the crop we have now.

  3. Volkov a province doesn't have to be right-wing to elect a right wing government in times of trouble.

    Economic angst and anger over spending/taxes can cause support for right leaning politicians in left leaning areas.

    The danger for such a party is that if they miss their chance like the ADQ did the next time around voters may have moved on.

    With Harper going back up in the polls talk of a Bernier shadow leadership race seems silly again.

    Maybe with no room for advancement in Ottawa Mad Max will run in the next Quebec provincial election.

  4. Éric,

    I think Jean-Pierre Charbonneau summed it up best when he reminded us on Le club des ex on Radio-Canada how Pierre-Marc Johnson was up in the stratosphere when he succeeded René Lévesque -- and we all know how that one turned out.

    Perhaps the English translation of the new party should be Lead Balloon...

  5. OT:

    Brian Topp's Take on the latest national polls:

  6. What is it with these leading figures in the PQ like Lucien Bouchard and now Francois Legault and Joseph Facal - who while in the PQ pay hommage to being social democrats and attack the Quebec Liberals for any policies that are even remotely to the right of the what the PQ stands for. Then the next thing you know they come out of the closet as rightwingers who want to form a party that is to the right of both the PQ and the Quebec Liberals??

    Legault could easily have been PQ leader after Boisclair. If that had happened, would he have turned the PQ into a rightwing party? When he was a PQ cabinet minister did he use his ministry as a laboratory for radical Maxime Bernier style free market reforms? Or is this some new flavour of the month for him?

  7. Ron I wouldn't dismiss this out of hand.

    Seems there's a lot of talk about a third way in Quebec from Bouchard, from the ministers in question, in the past from Dumont, also from Bernier in all his public speeches and media events and from the new Tea Party group in Quebec.

    The problem is that setting up a new party can be like herding cats.

    IN BC everyone on the right wants a new option to replace the Liberals without supporting the NDP.

    BC CPC MP John Cummins might run for the leadership of the BC Conservative party but he went on a radio show and Liberal leadership candidate in waiting Christy Clark tore him to bits.

    Meanwhile a second right wing party has sprung up over divisions on how to fight the HST.

    In the end right leaning types in BC might be stuck voting Liberal again.

    Its possible Quebec will be stuck with the same old choices again too but maybe not.

  8. Shadow,

    "Maybe with no room for advancement in Ottawa Mad Max will run in the next Quebec provincial election."

    Shadow, your skills at analysis are much better than what you've written here. We both know that: a) Bernier delights to the umpteenth degree in sticking it to this Prime Minister -- knowing full well that there is no place for him in cabinet as long as Harper draws a political breath and b) Max overestimates his personal capacity -- likely believing that he has what it takes to be a future CPC leader. Some of us think he has a lot more convincing to do.

    And besides, the guy doesn't have the political smarts not to go against the "Quebec Rail", namely transfer payments and equalization, which has worked in the past to no province's greater advantage than that of la nation québécoise.

  9. DL,

    Even René Lévesque was regarded as being on the right of the party along with the likes of Claude Morin.

    That applies in varying degrees to these three men. Correct me if I'm wrong but none of them are my idea of left-wing social democrats.

  10. Shadow,

    "BC CPC MP John Cummins might run for the leadership of the BC Conservative party but he went on a radio show and Liberal leadership candidate in waiting Christy Clark tore him to bits."

    Merely as an aside, I met John Cummins when we were both supporting Belinda. Hope he has better luck this time.

  11. Ron isn't the latest fight in Quebec with Danny Williams over an offshore deposit called "Old Harry" ?

    The PQ line i've heard is that developing it (and shale gas) will allow Quebec to become a have province but Charest isn't doing enough to fight Williams and get Ottawa onside.

    Provided they can throw away that other third rail, environmentalism/oil sands bashing, it seems there is an emerging political concensus in Quebec about developing natural resources to get off transfer payments.

    That dovetails nicely with Bernier's latest idea.

  12. Shadow,

    I'm going from memory here so take it with a grain of salt but didn't the last opinion poll say that 60-70% of Quebecers support a moratorium on shale gas production?

    If that's the case, Max is somewhat premature in his desire to send federal transfers the way of the dodo bird.

  13. You definitely have to take "new imaginary party" polls with a grain of salt (somewhat like the results received when prompting for "other", for the same reasons).

    On the other hand, it's not outrageous to see Imaginary Centre-Right Party get around 1/3 of the vote. It's what ADQ got before self-destructing.

    Kevinsutton: "It's not like the QLP is all that federalist anymore anyway"...? Can you think of one thing that the QLP has done since it rejected the Allaire Report in 1992 that has questioned even mildly whether Quebec should remain in Canada?

  14. Re: Interference "Can you think of one thing that the QLP has done since it rejected the Allaire Report in 1992 that has questioned even mildly whether Quebec should remain in Canada?"

    Well when I say not-federalist I don't mean seperatist.

    If you look at the article Eric wrote for the Globe he mentions nationalists who aren't seperatists. That's kind of how I see the Quebec Liberal party. They're not seperatist at all, but they don't favor increasing federal power and would like the feds to hand over money and power instead.

  15. I could only foresee a centre-right truly taking votes away from the liberal party because there are a lot of liberal conservatives who are inside the liberal party and this force quebec party does not appear to have the same ideologies as the adq which are libertarian, neoliberal and for autonomy. since there appears to be social democratic bloc quebecois members going to the party it appears the party will be centrist and between the liberals and adq ideologically, red tory, liberal conservative, moderate conservative and maybe even be exactly like the old progressive conservatives since they have a lot of support from lucien bouchard and former red tory leaders. this could also bring a lot of red tory support to the federal level. i say watch out liberals and conservatives; a new centrist conservative party is on the block!

    the last thing i would like to say is for a conservative party to survive in quebec they would need to be fiscally conservative, socially liberal and environmentally sustainable and support having a moderate social safety net. this is the only way a centre-right party can survive.

    thank you!


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