Friday, October 21, 2011

Will inquiry change the game in Quebec?

n the face of enormous public pressure, Jean Charest has finally called a commission of inquiry into Quebec’s construction industry.
Calling the inquiry was as much of a political risk for the wily premier as it would have been to close his eyes and ears to overwhelming demand. 

But the inquiry's limited scope and power will undoubtedly leave many Quebecers disappointed. And with François Legault's Coalition pour l'avenir du Québec (CAQ) set to become a party on Nov. 14, the inquiry is unlikely to turn the tide that is running against the governing Liberals, if it doesn't sink them entirely.

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

It appears we can already say that Charest's inquiry is not going to help. A poll by Léger Marketing indicates that only 23% of people are satisfied with the parametres of the Charbonneau commission. That is not good news for the Quebec Liberals, especially in light of this week's voting intentions poll.
That 23% seems to be the Liberal floor. Without the CAQ in the mix, which it will almost certainly be starting November 14, the Liberals narrowly hold an edge over the Parti Québécois, though the 14% for the "Others" is a little disingenuous.

But with CAQ in the mix, the Liberals fall to 22%, 14 points behind the CAQ. That is a huge margin. For the Parti Québécois, it is near extinction.

Otherwise, it isn't horrible news for Jean Charest. Though usually this kind of tie benefits the PQ, with the PQ so low and the ADQ and Québec Solidaire so high, the Liberals would win a minority government with the non-CAQ numbers: 55 seats for the PLQ, 50 seats for the PQ, 16 for the ADQ, and four for QS.

However, the National Assembly is a hodge-podge of parties and independents. If we have all of those independents on the ballots as independents in the next election, the result would be instead 57 seats for the Liberals, 45 for the PQ, 16 for the ADQ, four for QS, and three for the independents.

The seat projection model for the CAQ scenario is still in a rough draft. It will be improved after the CAQ becomes a full-fledged party. But the rough numbers show that with this kind of 14-point lead over the moribund Liberals, François Legault's party would win 106 seats, leaving only 13 to the Liberals and three apiece to the PQ and Québec Solidaire. This kind of vote split is murder for the other parties.

Quebec's political scene is in turmoil, to say the least. The Liberals are holding an inquiry that many expect could be a Gomery-lite, the PQ is tearing itself apart, Québec Solidaire is hoping to benefit from the NDP's breakthrough, the ADQ is on the verge of being swallowed, another sovereigntist party is in the works, and the CAQ is about to storm onto the scene. Hold on to your hats.


  1. Charest really is the "Teflon Don" !!

    Have to feel he's got an "Out" built into this ?

  2. Calling an inquiry in Quebec will help Jean Charest as much as calling an inquiry helped Paul Martin. I thought that politicans had learned from sponsorship that it really is better to sweep it under the rug.

  3. I'd like to know who are the 4% of QS voters that would switch to voting for CAQ, considering that ideologically, these parties are pretty much opposite.

  4. Yes, indeed. I make mention of that in my Huffington Post article. The CAQ will probably not be able to be everything for everyone once it becomes a flesh-and-blood party.

  5. That's actually 36% of QS voters, not 4%. It's 4% of the entire electoral landscape.

  6. With the Mulcair camp musing about the lack of NDP members in Quebec due to no provincial party, is there room for a quasi federalist NDP at the provincial level? There was one many moons ago.

  7. Bungle Jerry,

    Except it wasn't quasi-federalist. The old NDP in Quebec was essentially the PQ in orange, without a heck of a lot of support.

    Besides, Mulroney tried the same thing in Quebec with the creation of a provincial PC Party during the 80's - it got nowhere.

    The fact is, you either link yourself to a traditional party, or in this case link yourself with a possible ascendant party like the CAQ, and don't quibble over ideological left-right issues, and never attempt to impose your own brand on the provincial scene. Never, ever, ever.

  8. You should include seat projection pie charts! :)

  9. I think if you want to follow the Jack Layton mania the NDP should convince the QS to become federalist and try to steal PQ and Liberals votes.

    It would be the best decision they could ever make.

    The ADQ as far as I am concerned seems like the conservative partner in Quebec. They have seen Jean Charest and want to distance that party from themselves. It is also the best party to keep the sovereigntists and nationalists at bay.

    Finally, why has no one at least tried to resurrect the Conservative party of Quebec or the NDP party of Quebec.

    It seems like a good idea. The Conservative party is still there and the NDP party could get strong representation.

    It is a win-win for all parties.

  10. Slightly unrelated note: Alberta by Angus Reid

  11. If anyone gets hold of another poll, would you mind posting it?

    I mean the Montreal area will go most likely from a Liberal stronghold to a PQ stronghold come next election. It won't change too much.

    If the Liberals do a public inquiry on themselves like Martin did at the federal level they will lose every election until they are finished.

    It is happening federally. I can see it happen provincially.

    The PQ I think could form the next government if they present sustainable change and change that won't result in a referendum.

    They have a huge block of voters who will stay with them no matter what. I don't see this Legault party growing big.

    Therefore, if someone sees the latest Quebec poll, I think posting it would be best. I just think the CAQ numbers are over-inflated. The true poll is election day anyways.

  12. CROP had a poll out this morning, putting the CAQ at an even higher level of support.

  13. What I have found interesting in Quebec for some time is the decline of the federalist-sovereigntist divide in favour of a more traditional left-right divide. The right was out of the gate first (ADQ), then the left (QS), and now, finally, the centre (CAQ) - presuming that we can call a right-wing "gauche effectif" "centrist". All three new parties straddle the federalist-sovereigntist distinction, for all that the establishment media in English Canada insists on calling QS "a separatist party" and ignores the nationalist aspects of the ADQ and CAQ.

    There are those who thought that we would never see the emergence of left-right politics in Quebec until the sovereignty issue was resolved. Well, either they were wrong or the sovereignty issue has been resolved.

    I think the question now is how long the PQ and Liberals can retain any meaningful level of support. Will they disappear after the next election? Hold on for another generation as their traditional supporters die off? Retain their brand identities by merger with one or another of the new parties?

  14. Québec Solidaire is a sovereigntist party, there's no straddling of the line. And under Gérard Deltell, the ADQ is a federalist party.

    All parties in Quebec are nationalist to some extent.

  15. Mr. Icon, quite a few people may be parking their vote with QS as a "none-of-the-above" selection, because they have little chance of winning the election. That type of low-commitment support could easily go to CAQ or any other party, since it isn't ideologically committed.


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