Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Conservatives aim to replace NDP in Quebec

Quebec’s flirtation with the NDP will soon turn sour, leaving the Tories to fill the vacuum as the province’s federal party of choice.

So declared Conservative Leader Stephen Harper during a campaign-style speech in Calgary over the weekend.

“Quebec’s honeymoon with the NDP will pass,” the Prime Minister told party supporters. “As many provinces know well, no honeymoon passes as quickly and as completely as one with the NDP.”

Of course, Harper knows better than most the fickle nature of political love affairs in Quebec, where his party was reduced to five seats from 11 in the May 2 federal vote.

At only 16.5 per cent support, the Tories fell far behind the New Democrats and even the Bloc Québécois. Conservative MPs were pushed out of eastern Quebec, the Saguenay region, and Quebec City. Only a few MPs south of the provincial capital and one near Lac-St-Jean survived the pasting.

It was the second consecutive campaign in which the Tory vote fell in the province.

You can read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post Canada website here.

The updated projection model indicates how far the Conservatives need to go before they are a real factor in Quebec. With the June averages, the model updated with the 2011 election results projections 63 New Democratic MPs, seven Conservatives, four Liberals, and only one Bloc Québécois member.

What do the Conservatives manage to hold - and win?

Obviously, their strongholds south of Quebec City (Beauce, Lotbinière - Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, Mégantic - L'Érable, Lévis - Bellechasse) remain Tory, while Denis Lebel is re-elected in Roberval - Lac-Saint-Jean.

One of the gains is not surprising: Montmagny - L'Islet - Kamouraska - Rivière-du-Loup. It was an extremely close race on election night, and the June averages would overturn the result with the Conservatives at 40% in the riding and the NDP at 38%.

The other gain is surprising: Mount Royal, on the island of Montreal. This was an actually close race between the Tories and the Liberals, with the Liberals winning on May 2nd with 41% to the Tories' 36% of the vote in the riding. With 18%, the NDP was not a factor here. But with the Liberals tanking in Quebec, the Conservatives pull ahead in Mount Royal and win 40% to 36%. One part of the province in which the Conservatives might have the inside track on the NDP is in western Montreal, at least in a handful of ridings. There is far more long-term potential for the Conservatives in this region than there is for the NDP.

The Liberals hold on to Bourassa, Papineau, Saint-Laurent - Cartierville, and Saint-Léonard - Saint-Michel, all Montreal ridings. It means the survival of three of their most recognized faces: Denis Coderre, Justin Trudeau, and Stéphane Dion, but not that of Marc Garneau.

The Bloc Québécois holds on to Haute-Gaspésie - La Mitis - Matane - Matapédia, the only riding of the four they held on election night that was not won by the skin of their teeth.


  1. It would be great if Harper is right but to be right he needs to do more than pay lip service to Quebec's needs. He ought to have been in Quebec much sooner than 48 days after the floods came. The Canadian military should have been assigned with same vigor it was to help in the west with flooding. Those are the kinds of things people remember both positively, or in this case negatively.

    Bringing Quebec back into the government in greater force not only means more seats for the CPC, it should mean better days for Canadian unity.

  2. The Conservatives do not seem to understand that winning over Quebec will require more than increased attention to Quebec. It is true Quebecois are not die-hard leftists (no one is in the western-developed world), but it is also true that they are steadfastly to the left of the Conservatives and even the federal Liberals. The Conservatives will have to further moderate their policies significantly if they are to have a chance in Quebec.

  3. I think Harper is smoking something ?? The chances are so remote that can be the only explanation.

    What I might suspect is that the CPC will lose more seats in Quebec to the NDP. That's far more likely.

  4. Harper's effort to win over Quebec sure is off to a great start (not). Quebec is one province where the long gun registry that the Tories are about to kill is extremely popular. Now the Quebec government wants to set up its own registry and Harper says he will do everything in his power to be uncooperative and obstructionist to prevent Quebec from doing that. For the NDP this is like shooting fish in a barrel - all they have to do is say that an NDP government will fully cooperate with any province that wants to set up its own gun registry - leaving other provinces free not to do so.

    BTW: I predict that before the next election several Liberals in Quebec will quit for better jobs. People like Garneau and Coderre and Dion and Cotler did not go into politics to spend their lives in a shrunken caucus of 34 with no prospect of getting back into power. This is not what they signed on for. I expect that before 2015 - there will be byelections on three or four Liberals seats in Quebec and the NDP could easily win them all - even Mount Royal if the Liberals vote evaporates and it it turns into a pure CPC-NDP fight.

  5. A Jewish Canadian newspaper claimed that Harper was preparing to offer Irwin Cotler some kind of offer he couldn't refuse.

    The NDP is going to be in trouble in those anglo ridings because some of their new MPs have been discovered to be very nationalist.

    And it would be a key test for the future of the Liberal party too.

    CPC vs NDP vs LPC in Mount Royal by-election with inside track for Harper.

    I see no reason why Conservatives won't return to "normal" 2008 level support in the next election.

    Expect 9-11 seats.

    And expect Harper to reject Earl's vision of special deals for Quebec !

    The old red Tory, Mulroney style, PC, Charest vision of conservatism in Canada has been firmly rejected and discredited for Harper's right wing approach !!

  6. Earl doesn't expect special deals for Quebec - far from it. Earl expects Quebec to get the same access to the PM as the West gets. Earl expects Quebec to get the same access to the military as Manitoba gets.

    I've never favoured special status for Quebec and indeed would actually end the practice of providing Quebec (and other Provinces) with no strings funding for programs undertaken by the Federal government. I believe in a strong central government.

  7. Well Earl if that's your position enjoy it.

    It simply won't fly in Quebec!!

    Look to more CPC seat loss with that !!

  8. The NDP "honeymoon" is here to stay. Many pundits predicted the orange wave will fizzle out by May 2nd, but they were proven wrong.

    The best the Tories in 2015 can do is win a couple more seats. If Maxime Bernier becomes leader, they might have a chance to be more competitive.

    What I see is the Tories playing defense in West and Ontario in 2015. The Tories are almost certain to lose seats in Ontario as I find it really hard for them to be re-elected in 73 seats. The Liberals and NDP will be in be targeting hard, especially in the Toronto area.

    The West is fertile land for the NDP in next couple elections. Like how the GTA became tired of the Liberals, many parts of the West will eventually tire of the Conservatives. As a result, the NDP will be there as a protest vote. The NDP would not be ashamed to move to the center to pick up these center-right votes.

  9. Exactly. Just as the NDP/CCF were protest votes in the west before, they will soon be again. The west will tire of voting conservative, just as the GTA wanted a change from the liberals.

    Ontario will not go overwhelmingly (seat-wise) to the conservatives in the next election, most of the seats that the CPC took from the LPC were protest against Ignatieff. Watch in downtown ridings, I think that the NDP or possibly liberals will win them in 2015

  10. Anon and Angry Canuck you forget about the NEW seats coming out West and into Ontario.

    Its far more likely that the CPC will dominate the seats they have and then face challenges winning the NEW seats, which will all be urban in nature.

    Liberals can expect a dead cat bounce !

    They'll compete with the NDP in a lot of those seats and split the vote even more than last time.

    It'll be just like 1997, Harper could go back a point or two and still win a majority.

    And if he goes up a point or two well then its a romp !

  11. "face challenges winning the NEW seats, which will all be urban in nature"

    If these new seats are going to be urban, than the NDP and liberals should have no problem taking them. And don't be so sure that the CPC will dominate the seats they have in the next election.

    People will tire of Harper in the next election, most likely before that because once the G20/8 summits are reviewed, the best hope for Harper is a minority government. Many of the closely fought ridings will return to liberal or go NDP/vice versa.

  12. It's not so far fetched that the Conservatives could be more competitive in the next election and win more seats in Quebec even if they don't do anything in particular to attract more Quebec voters. The polls that came out after the election have showed that the Bloc Quebecois and Liberals continue to erode support in Quebec-- probably because they are being judged as no longer competitive parties. Some of that support may float to the Conservatives rather than the NDP.

  13. I'm not sure if it always works like that - the NDP wasn't judged as a competitive party in Quebec when the election began.

  14. The G8/G20 ? Are people still going on about that ?

    Polls showed it was a massive success for Stephen Harper and an integral part of his big Toronto sweep !

    EKOS had his Toronto support going UP after the event.

    Only the extreme fringe left who supported the violent, radical, anti-globalization protesters were offended by the police action.

    After the Vancouver hockey riots its been demonstrated to Canadians why crowd control is nessecary.

    Police bashing is not a political winner these days.

  15. Anonymous, I think the poster referring to the G8/G20 was referring to the cost and audits of the summits rather than the police action. Yes the public is generally supportive of police action in the G20 despite the massive chaos. But there could be an issue with the cost of the summits still. Though somehow I doubt a huge issue, but you never know. But the election is four years away so I'm doubtful it would have much of an impact by then. The election is still four whole years away and it is impossible to predict at all how each party will do in Ontario or any other province.

    All this being said, however, who can say when voters will get tired of Harper? That question is one of the deepest enduring mysteries of current Canadian politics.


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