Thursday, November 20, 2014

NDP moves ahead in back-and-forth Quebec race

Yesterday was a good day for the New Democrats in Quebec. Maria Mourani, a former Bloc MP, announced that she was joining the NDP (at least on the membership rolls, if not in caucus) and a new poll published by La Presse put the party and Thomas Mulcair in front in the province. But is this part of a positive trend for the NDP leader, or just another wobble back and forth?
CROP was last in the field on October 16-20. Since that poll, the NDP has picked up four points to move into the lead in Quebec with 34% support. The Liberals dropped five points, the only shift outside the margin of error of similarly sized probabilistic samples, to 32%.

The Conservatives placed third in the poll, up one point to 16%, putting the Bloc Québécois in fourth with 14% (unchanged). The Greens had 4% support.

Of the entire sample, 10% was undecided and another 5% would not vote or did not respond to this question.

Note that support for Others (which would include Forces et Démocratie) was at 0%, as it always is in CROP's polling.

Is this slip by the Liberals a sign of trouble for the party? That is always a possibility, of course, but in CROP's polling we've seen the Liberals and NDP trade the lead back and forth for all of 2014.

There is little discernible trend in these numbers. The Liberals and NDP have been neck-and-neck throughout the year. But CROP did record the same sort of bump for the Liberals in the summer that other polls did, so it would seem that the party may be coming off that high to more usual levels of support.

A negative trend for the Bloc Québécois after Mario Beaulieu became leader in June, however, is readily apparent. The Conservatives are on the upswing, but that is from a very low point. They are still generally were they have been in the province since the last election.

The New Democrats increased their lead among election-deciding francophones, stretching it to 12 points with 39% support to 27% for the Liberals. The party has not trailed among francophones in any poll since February. The Bloc was at 17%, while the Conservatives were at 13%.

Among non-francophones, the Liberals tumbled 17 points to 49%, the lowest score they have managed among this group since before Justin Trudeau took over the party. The sample size is small, however, and would normally carry a margin of error of about eight points. Nevertheless, it may be something to keep an eye on. 

The Conservatives were up to 29% among non-francophones, which might potentially put them in the running in a riding or two on the West Island. The NDP was third with 17%, followed by the Greens at 5% support.

The New Democrats were ahead on the island of Montreal as a whole with 42%, followed by the Liberals, who were down 15 points to 25%. The Bloc was at 16% and the Conservatives at 15% (coupled with their strong non-francophone numbers, this suggests they are doing very badly among island-dwelling francophones).

Off the island of Montreal but within the metropolitan region, the Liberals were narrowly ahead with 32% to 31% for the NDP. The Bloc had 19% support here, its highest in Quebec, while the Conservatives were up seven points to 16%.

In and around Quebec City, the NDP was in front with 40% support, followed by the Conservatives at 23% (their lowest since the spring) and the Liberals at 18% (their lowest since February 2013). The Bloc had 13% support in the provincial capital.

And in the rest of Quebec, the Liberals were ahead with 38% support to 31% for the NDP, 16% for the Conservatives, and just 10% for the Bloc Québécois. Considering the 'RoQ' is where all of the Bloc's current or former MPs were elected (save Mourani) in 2011, that spells a lot of trouble for the party.

Indeed, with these numbers the Bloc would be shut out entirely. The New Democrats would ride their advantage among francophones to around 49 seats, with the Liberals capturing 21 and the Conservatives taking eight.

It makes for a good poll for the NDP. Mulcair was ahead on who Quebecers preferred for Prime Minister with 29%, a gain of seven points since last month. Trudeau was down six points to 22%, while Stephen Harper had 13% support. As these numbers do not exclude undecideds or people who say 'none of the above', we can say that Mulcair and Harper appear to be about as popular as their own parties. Trudeau, however, scored five points lower than the Liberals before undecideds were excluded.

One interesting tidbit from the CROP poll was the breakdown of federal support by who Quebecers support at the provincial level. With these numbers, we see that Philippe Couillard's Liberal supporters primarily intend to vote for the federal Liberals (48%) and the Conservatives (31%). The Parti Québécois's supporters are split between the Bloc (44%) and the NDP (31%), while supporters of the Coalition Avenir Québec would vote for either the NDP (45%) or the Liberals (30%).

That the Bloc cannot even draw a majority of PQ voters to its banner is another nail in its coffin.

But we can also reverse these numbers to see where each of the federal parties draw their support from.

Quebecers who vote for the Bloc Québécois are primarily PQ supporters (about 70% by my own calculations), with a smattering of CAQ voters (14%). That makes for a rather simple coalition of nationalists.

The Liberals and Conservatives are a little less monochromatic. About 57% of the federal Liberals' base comes from the provincial Liberals, while another 25% comes from the CAQ. But these two parties generally see eye-to-eye on things (the CAQ has even accused the PLQ of borrowing liberally from its platform). The Conservatives have a similar breakdown, 66% of their voters being supporters of the PLQ and 19% of the CAQ.

The New Democrats have a much trickier coalition to keep together. Their largest block of supporters are drawn from the CAQ, at 35%. The PQ and Québec Solidaire each provide about 21% of the NDP's support base, while 19% are provincial Liberals.

There are many ways to divvy these NDP voters up. On the national divide, about 42% of them are sovereigntists (PQ+QS) and 77% of them are nationalist (adding the CAQ to that total). Put another way, 54% are federalist (CAQ+PLQ). The sovereigntist/federalist split also aligns with how the party's supporters are divided between centre-right and centre-left.

This makes for a potentially divisive coalition of voters. It is obvious why QS would support the NDP (the party has always been more of a left-wing party than it is a sovereigntist one), and the PQ and NDP have similar social democratic roots. But the NDP is also federalist, so that makes them an option for centre-left provincial Liberals, while the party is somewhat populist and an 'alternative' to the traditional two party system, which might attract CAQ voters.

On the other hand, that the NDP is federalist could push QS and PQ voters away in the spotlight of an election campaign, while it is further from the CAQ and PLQ on the left-right spectrum than either the Conservatives or the federal Liberals. It makes for a difficult balancing act for Thomas Mulcair.

But he seems to be mostly pulling it off. The old sovereigntist/federalist divide in Quebec is fading away, as voters move from one party to another. And even the left/right politics of the province are being turned on its head, as labour-busting Pierre-Karl Péladeau emerges as the saviour of the centre-left PQ. It makes for a complicated political landscape in the province. Perhaps that is why Mulcair, a veteran of the provincial scene, has managed it. So far.


  1. NDP in Quebec may be OK. Elsewhere don't hold your breath.

  2. As both the NDP and Liberals slug it out winning Quebec they become more and more un-electable in the ROC.

    1. BC check out the polling numbers Eric keeps putting up and you will realise that the CPC will lose the election.

    2. What I see in those polling numbers is Trudeau coming back to earth, with the CPC remaining stable.

      The Liberals need a credible platform. By my reckoning, they have published one meaningful policy document since 1993 (Chrétien's Red Book), and that was Dion's Green Shift.

      For what so they stand?

    3. @Peter M

      The latest EKOS poll (historically heavily biased Green and Liberal) has the Cons ahead in the ROC.

      It is a significant challenge as both the Liberals and NDP are based in Quebec and are going to have a pander-off to keep their base. The ROC (specifically Ontario) will no longer stand for pandering to Quebec

    4. BC If you go to the top of this page and look over to the right you will see the latest numbers put up by Eric.

      Lib 35 %
      Con 30 %
      NDP 22 %

      As of Nov 19. Do try to learn.

    5. BCVOR is arguing that the Liberals are behind the Conservatives outside of Quebec, at least in the last EKOS poll. He is right about that, a rough estimate would give the Conservatives 35% to 34% for the Liberals in the RoC.

      But that is just one poll. My averages would suggest the Liberals have roughly 36% support outside of Quebec, with the Conservatives at about 35% (and the NDP at 19%).

      By the way, in the 2011 election the Conservatives had roughly 47% support in the RoC, so that is a big drop for them. The NDP had about 27%, and the Liberals about 20%.

    6. And 35 to 34 has to be less than the MOE ??
      Anyway I'll go with your averages over a single poll. Thanks.

      And I'd suggest a loss of 12 % has to have significance.

    7. It isn't a drop of 12% in the polls. The polls never ever had the CPC at 47% in ROC

      The latest by-election the polls had the Liberals ahead in a virtual tie... This turned out to be a an 8.5 CPC win.

      Has there ever been an election where the Liberals did better than the polls had them?

    8. The Liberals did about as well as their polling in 2008 and 2011, and beat them in 2006 and 2004.

    9. In the 111 polls taken pre-writ 2011 (march 2010 to March 2012 the Liberals polled an average of 27 (un-weighted)

      In the 32 polls in the campaign they averaged 28.15. no poll below 20

      Eric even the CBC would see that the 19% they got was significantly less than the polls any and all polls said they would get.

    10. @Peter

      30% Conservative v. 35% Liberal would likely produice a Conservative minority government given the NDP lead in Quebec. Since, Justin is unable to stand up for his own M.P.s I don't think Mulcair and Harper will have much trouble during the election campaign. Trudeau will prove to be a weaker leader than Dion or Ignatieff.

    11. BCVOR, you're seriously using all the polls done in the campaign? There was a little thing that happened during the campaign called THE CAMPAIGN. Opinion moved. The polls accurately pegged Liberal support on election day in 2011, as they did in 2008. They under-scored the Liberals' actual result in 2004 and 2006.

    12. You're also wrong to say there was no poll under 20% for the Liberals. The majority of the final 13 polls done had the Liberals under 20%. Ipsos Reid, for example, had them at 18% in its final poll.

  3. Speaking of the NDP, what's your rating of Sudbury now that Cimino has resigned? If the NDP loses next by-election it then Horwath should step down.

    1. I'll be adding that one to the By-Election Barometer today.

  4. Éric, your point about the balancing act of the NDP in Quebec is fair, but you could equally turn it around... It shows that the NDP is appealing to a broad cross-section of the Quebec population - just what strong political parties aim for - most notably, the Liberal party (at the federal or provincial level).

    1. A fair point as well, but I think any coalition like that is inherently unstable. The PCs managed a broad-based coalition until it collapsed dramatically in 1993. A coalition that spans such incompatible loyalties like those in Quebec can only last so long - but it could be extremely effect for as long as it lasts.

    2. One could equally argue that the NDP is ahead of the game by basing it's core on centre-left policies rather than federalist/sovereignist ideology like the other parties. The proliferation and radicalization of sovereignist parties on the provincial level (PQ, QS, ON, arguable the ADQ) and the disintegration of both the Liberals and Bloc in the last election would tend to confirm this. That leaves, the Bloc, the Liberals, and the Conservatives slugging it out for the centre-right vote.

    3. Éric and Guy, picking up from some of your points, the federalist/sovereigntist dichotomy is not only less significant than before, I think it has always been largely overstated and misconstrued. Even in the days of the 1995 referendum, support for separation was not large - making up a minority of the "sovereigntist" vote - many people who voted Yes in that referendum were soft-sovereigntists who wanted to make a point rather than separate. And many of those people ended up voting for the (federalist) NDP in 2011; it would be easy to argue (as some have) that the NDP is a valid representative of Quebec nationalist interests (a different thing than sovereigntism, though they overlap). The other misconception about federalism/sovereigntism is how the two positions fall on the political spectrum. The conventional wisdom is that sovereigntism=left, an arguable assertion in the days of Levesque but a non sequitur since. Bouchard and the PQ and BQ leaders since him have been centrist at most, but more often right-of-centre and neo-liberal/neo-con as now epitomised by PKP. Progressive sovereigntists have been leaving the PQ for QS and elsewhere, and abandoned the BQ dramatically in 2011. So much for the official parties of sovereigntism. But even beyond the official political domain, sovereigntist organisations and movements have also been right wing-populist or corporatist-populist rather than left/progressive. Think of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste, for example.

    4. I think sovereignty movements are always inherently conservative. In a increasingly interconnected world separatist movements wish to limit the interaction among nations especially in relation to their own-they are at base isolationist. Therefore, independence movements are formed that would limit the intervention of other states in the "domestic affairs" and or international affairs of a proposed newly independent state. They impose anti-modernist policies such as bill 101 or sharia law that disregard the "others'" human rights and they come up with simplistic explanations to combat complex problems. If we were sovereign; we'd have so much more money everything would be fine, was Alec Salmond's mantra during the recent Scottish referendum. Quebec sovereigntists do the exact same claiming Quebec over pays into Confederation even though every study of the last 50 years has determined this to be untrue and Quebec is a net beneficiary from Confederation, but the myth persists precisely because separatism is based upon a faded ideal of yesteryear not logic of the present day. Separatism is a movement that idolises the past.

  5. Eric, you sayed that when the Liberals are ex equo with the NDP in Quebec (32 vs 34) they get much lower in therm of seat ( here 21 vs 49 ) because the liberal vote is concentrated in Montreal. Here we can see that they are behind the NDP in mtl (-17%) but higher in ROQ (+7%).
    Why the difference is still big between them?

    1. Not Montreal per se, but concentrated among non-francophones.

    2. That makes sense as the Liberal will probably win back Outaouais ridings with a sizable non-francophone minority in the 20-25% range (most of that consisting of anglophones).

  6. What is the election outlook of the NDP's McGill student MPs.

    Mylene Freeman is creating some visibility in calling out very accomplished senator (RCMP, Drug Squad, BC Chief Coroner, mayor of Vancouver) Larry Campbell;

    "“His comments are insensitive to the victims. He should apologize,” Freeman, a 25-year-old MP from Quebec, told The Sun Thursday. “Comments like this remind us why we should abolish the Senate and elect more women to Parliament.”"

    Now that Harper has slain the BQ separatist dragon it should not be too difficult for a somewhat qualified Liberal Candidate to provide a significant Challenge to Ms Freeman.

    1. How has Harper slain the BQ - surely it was the NDP. Harper merely swept away the right wing fringe - without gaining any seats for his troubles.

    2. Before Harper took over as PM there was a realistic chance that Quebec might separate.

      Now there is none.

      The CPC ideology of smaller decentralized government sets up a structure that welcomes Quebec into the federation.

      Quebec may still be more socialist than the ROC but being their very own country is no longer a serious priority for anyone.

      There seems to be a grass roots understanding that Quebec's fiscal policy for the last couple of decades is unsustainable. This is the first step of their move to the right.... or at least to the middle.

    3. Senator Campbell is absolutely right. Nobody in Canada has the right to remain annonymous if they accuse another person of a crime. The presumption of innocence is a fundamental principle of Common Law, for trudeau to punish his M.Ps without a fair trial is ridiculous and demonstrates how far the Liberals have deviated from their principles. Trudeu is unable to to stand up to Mulcair, Mulcair has claimed the high ground without even delineating the charges against the two Liberal M.P.s. If Trudeau can't stand up to Mulcair how can Canadians expect Trudeau to stand up for Canada? How can anybody think Trudeau believes in the rights set out in the Charter when he allows the NDP to run roughshod over the rights of Liberal M.Ps?

      If trudeau had any intestinal fortitude he would demand the NDP accusers stand up in the Commons and rise on a point of personal privilege. Then the Commons as a court may decide on the matter. Trudeau has shown what he truly is-a pushover.

  7. "Before Harper took over as PM there was a realistic chance that Quebec might separate."

    Based on what? The 1995 Referendum? BC There is no evidence to show to show any of what you're saying is true.

    Harper and the CPC is generally detested in QB and for their part the Federal Government has done nothing to bring them back into the fold. The CPC has done nothing to make a smaller decentralized government, the only thing they have done is deregulated food, environmental safety, all the while increasing funding and giving new and extended power police and law enforcement.

    The Neo-Con/Neo-liberal dream of fiscal sanity and less government is just that a dream. The truth is they have run up the debt and made it easier to interfere in our lives via the roll back of civil liberties.

  8. Please all of you read Chantal Hebert in today's Toronto Star .

    "How the Conservatives are slaying Mulcair for Trudeau" !!

    1. Hebert hits the nail on the head again, and I'm surprised the Conservatives haven't figured this out yet.

      Regular statements from Conservatives that Trudeau wants to sell drugs to kids, supports Islamic terrorists, and insult his mother and father are having the same effect as the old Conservative claims that Paul Martin supports pedophiles. It makes the Conservatives look over-the-top and promotes the Liberals as the party with the best chance of defeating them. It gave Trudeau the profile to define himself to the Canadian that Tom Mulcair never had, and turned a leadership race bump for Trudeau into a sustained lead with a polished coat of teflon. The liberals must be praying for more Conservative attack ads.

    2. Every new attack ad has seen the Trudeau/Liberal ratings go up. And the Cons can't figure it out ?? They don't work and it's so obvious Guy. Keep it up and the Harperites will lose big time.

    3. Attack ads work, if they didn't parties would not use them. Adrian Dix went from a double digit lead to a 5 point loss on election day partly due to the "risky Dix ads". Thus far there is no evidence to suggest young Trudeau has improved in the polls due to Conservative attack ads. Tom flanagan's infamous comments didn't win the Tories the election but, the 2004 campaign did turn a Liberal majority into a Liberal minority government. I'm not suggesting Flanagan's press release is responsible for Martin's loss of a majority government just pointing out that the notion these ads somehow benefit the Liberals has thus far no empirical data to stand on.

      The Iggy attack ads of "just visiting" ended Iggy's political career and set the stage for Layton's famous debate night jab of; "most people don't expect a promotion..." The Dion puffin ads didn't help Dion's leadership either. Attack ads work, so far they haven't found a the right argument against Trudeau but, they'll keep trying and eventually probably discover an argument that works.

      Trudeau invites the attacks by being so vacuous, if he had a single policy to debate on anything other than legalising weed but, he doesn't. The fact of the matter is if you legalise weed underage kids are probably going to get their hands on it-that is not anything but common sense; you legalise a controlled substance it will increase the supply and availability. If you're from Ottawa we all know people who when they were 18 drove to Quebec to buy booze so it is really not much of a jump to say kids will be attracted to "legalised marijuana", it's common sense, a trait long in short supply within the Liberal Party.

    4. Capilano

      "Attack ads work, if they didn't parties would not use them. " Please lose the blinkers or CPC blinders !!

      Eric I'm sure has the numbers to refute what you say.

      PLUS !! Unlike all the others you say, Justin was a complete UNKNOWN !!!!

      Not a politician until the Liberals dragged him into view about a year ago. Thus there was NOTHING to attack but the name. But the Canadian public actually likes the name as an Icon !!.

      So attacking the son of a Canadian icon doesn't smell of intelligence, eh? Plus they aren't apparently working that well against Mulcair either.

      I would suggest their day is past !!

    5. Peter,

      Please lose your own blinders and stop attacking others. I guess the LPC doesn't need attack ads when they have people like you who attack others without provocation for them.

      Political parties are not in the habit of wasting money on advertising that doesn't work! Why you would think political parties are in the habit of throwing money on advertisements that are ineffective is beyond me, such an attitude is illogical not to mention without evidence!

      I've provided examples of attack ads working now please provide some empirical data of attack ads boosting Liberal numbers as you claim! You write "Eric has the numbers"; why don't you get off your duff and find them in 308's archive? Eric isn't part of this conversation you are but, it appears you're unable to finish what you started. It's O.K. you've probably jumped the gun on legalization and are burned out :)

      The Trudeau name has plenty of attributes that could be criticized. PET was hardly an icon for many Canadians, his record is mixed at best and full of egotistical manoeuvers and political, economic and other mistakes. He opened the constitution to stop separatist appeal among les Quebecois but his inability to get Quebec to sign the constitution and agree to a new constitutional settlement lead to 30 years of constitutional wrangling and the near dissolution of Canada in 1995. His jealousy toward Turner nearly destroyed the Liberal party and set the stage for Iggy's disastrous performance in 2011.

      Icons don’t run away to India so they can avoid fighting the Nazis, they resign their cabinet post and take a position in the trenches below their status for the good of their country.

      Finally Justin Trudeau has been a Politician since, 2008 when he won election to Parliament. If Justin has no history worth attacking that is probably evidence of how little he has done.

      This idea that the name Trudeau should be revered is reminiscent of James I and the divine right of Kings. Only Monarchs are chosen by their familial ties. What has Justin accomplished to earn the respect of Canadians? He hasn't even had a good day in Question Period yet!

      I'm not attacking young Trudeau I am criticizing an ill-thought out policy, his only policy and I am criticizing Trudeau's inability to put forward any meaningful ideas. Even with the legalization of weed Trudeau has not put forward any examples of how legalization would work and be implemented. How much tax would weed be subject to? Would tax revenue be earmarked for specific programs (mental health perhaps)? Who and where would grow? How would he ensure criminal organizations are prevented from infiltrating the industry? What preventitive measures would he take to dissuade chikldren from smoking dope? All questions a strong leader would be able to answer. But that is the problem with Trudeau isn't it? He was elected leader based on his name and nostalgia for the 1970's by aged baby boomers not his credentials or accomplishments.

  9. "Before Harper took over as PM there was a realistic chance that Quebec might separate.

    Now there is none."

    Complete nonsense. Nice try.

    1. There is still a realistic chance Quebec will seperate, the only change has been in the lngth of time for separation to come about.

      It would only take a swing of a few percentage points for the BQ to to go from a handful of seats to a dozen or more.

      Guy Smily,

      Notwithstanding what you write about Trudeau there is evidence that negative advertising works-ask Adrian Dix and Michael Duhkakis. Secondly, it is not really a sustained lead the Liberals enjoy it is a lead within the margin of error. So to turn it around the Tories have held a sustained lead whil e dealing with some unpopular policies.

  10. Eric,

    I would argue that neither the CPC nor the NDP are responsible for the BQ's fall from grace. Quebec nationalists did in the Bloc. They collectively chose over a number of years to move on from the BQ narrative of sovereignist watchdog in Ottawa.

    The NDP was the accidental recepient of this displeasure with the Bloc. Most sovereignists knew little of and cared even less about NDP policy.

    They simply elected to move on in a convenient political vehicle. And with Beaulieu's election as BQ leader, the chances of a Bloc resurgence have become even slimmer in the next election.

  11. Both good and bad news for Mulcair's NDP in Quebec.

    The good news for them is that they are highly competitive, even at 34%-32% lead against the Liberals, I could see the NDP winning the majority of seats in the province due to their vote efficiency there.

    I've said this before, but I believe the NDP's incumbency in Quebec will play a huge factor.

    Furthermore, progressive vote splitting is not an issue in Quebec as in Ontario, so the Liberals cannot claim that a vote for the NDP is a vote for the Tories.

    If polls don't improve, the NDP could also claim to their Quebec base that they will hold a Liberal minority to account and extract progressive and pro-Quebec policies.

    The bad news for them is that they have an unstable coalition of support in the province, that has the potential to shatter in dire circumstances. This results in Mulcair tiptoeing and dithering on provincial matters while the Liberals, Tories and the Bloc can be more vocal in their opinions. Trudeau would seem bold, fresh and honest, while Mulcair will come off as an old school politician mincing his words.

    Another issue is that most people do not think the NDP will form government in 2015. So there also the notion of ditching the "lost cause" NDP and voting Liberal so Quebeckers have a seat at the government table.

    1. "Unstable coalition"? The NDP has consistently polled at roughly 30% for the last year and a half and 25% or better since, the last election in Quebec.

      All coalitions have the potential to break apart but, usually require a 'shock" in some form as a catalyst. Perhaps the NDP-Liberal"inappropriate behaviour allegations" scandal will be that catalyst. At the moment I think the stability in the polls argues against any split within the NDP coalition.

  12. While the NDP and Liberals are going at it no holds barred for Quebec there was an interesting poll by Abacus comparing Trudeau to Mulcair.

    56% of those polled said they would vote for whoever to get rid of Harper.

    Does that mean that 44% are comfortable with Harper as PM?

    If the NDP/Liberals have a campaign as poor as Ignatieff and Duceppe there is an obvious chance that Harper could have a Blue Surge through Quebec.

    About a year out from last election all talk would have been how the BQ and the Liberals were going to divide up the 63 seats they currently held in Quebec.... and then at election they were left with 11.

    The Feburary 2011 (2 months before the vote) polling averages according to 308 were:

    QUEBEC (12 polls - about 6,360 people)

    Bloc Québécois - 39.9% (+0.1)
    Liberals - 19.5% (-0.9)
    Conservatives - 19.0% (+1.9)
    New Democrats - 13.3% (-0.8)
    Greens - 6.8% (+0.6)
    Others - 1.5%

  13. BCVOR,

    With respect, I'll stick with Chantal Hebert's assessment that nowhere in Canada was there a greater desire to get rid of Harper than in Quebec.

    Couple that with a fair point that Harper's is the most right-wing federal government in Canadian history and I fail to see how the CPC could surge in Quebec. Am I missing something? I don't think so.

    1. Just the poll saying that only 56% of Quebec people have a high priority in getting rid of Harper.

    2. Harper is hardly rightwing compared to Martin-Chretien governments that slashed spending to social programs and the Provinces. By contrast Harper has increased government spending by 21% over 2006 levels, well above inflation.

      Harper may have re-instated "Royal" for the Navy and Air Force but, Chretien accepted a royal order from The Queen, the Order of Merit. Chretien suppressed the democratic right to protest by the RCMP's unlawful use of force in dispersing protesters at the 1997 APEC Summit. Calling Harper's Government the "most right-wing federal government in Canadian history" is nothing but, leftwing propaganda espoused by partisans who have no policies to trumpet. They are unable to promote a Liberal agenda because their leader, chosen like a Monarch for his familial ties( how very conservative), has no ideas to promote.


      You claim to fail to see how a Conservative surge could take place in Quebec but, look at the polling averages. The Conservatives have held their popularity since the last election. If Quebec has the greatest desire for a change of Government would n't one expect support for the Tories to have fallen since 2011?

      Quebec has always held a large number of conservatives hence, support for separation (a conservative ideology that harkens back to french colonial times) and the history of conservative parties such as the Union Nationale, CAQ and ADQ, the strong showing of Macdonald in Quebec in the 19th century and Mulroney and Diefenbaker in the 20th. Quebec like the rest of Canada has diverse array of political opinions, those who wish to paint Quebec as a monotone colour of red or orange fail to see the diversity of Quebeckers not to mention ignore the nuances.

    3. Yes, they want to get rid of Harper, and I'd be shocked if he got more than 8 seats. But I think many forget how progressive Quebeckers are compared to the rest of Canada. A ot I've met will not vote liberal as they actually consider them a bit right wing. So don't think them wanting a progressive alternative will mean to jumping to Justin Trudeau when they get desperate to get rid of Harper.

  14. Capilano Dunbar,

    I take your point about Chretien and Martin slashing the social transfer to help get the federal budget on its way to balance. One wonders how Harper would have handled it -- but that is neither here nor there.

    I agree that Quebec has always had right-of-center support, particularly in the Quebec City and Chaudiere-Applaches regions. That support is relatively solid but to project support beyond that is challenging to say the very least.

    Think back to 2006 when we got Luc Harvey elected in Louis-Hebert. That was a temporary upward blip. After eightyears in power, I doubt we will see such a move again going into the rumoured spring election.

    In short, moving beyond their base will be quite an accomplishment should it come to pass.

    1. Ronald,

      No one saw the Orange surge either. With the Liberals and NDP stuck at 30% in Quebec a swing of a few points could double the Conservative Quebec caucus. I don't think anybody expects the Conservatives to win 50 seats but, they could easily double their Quebec caucus.

      The election of Luc Harvey and the other 9 Conservative M.P.s was not a temporary blip, the 2008 election returned 10 Conservative Quebec M.P.s and the 2011 election 5 M.P.s. Today the Conservatives are at 16.5% in Quebec and so there is a strong chance all their incumbents will be re-elected and possibly a pick up of a few seats.

    2. Capilano Dunbar,

      You need a strong symbol as your anchor in Quebec in order to make further inroads. In 2004, 2006 and 2008, that was Josee Verner, now a Senator.

      I don't see Maxime Bernier playing that crucial role. The other thing that I would refer as troubling is that the CPC will be running losing candidates from other elections both in Louis-Hebert and Beauport. To my mind, a party confident of a breakout would be running name candidates that hadn't lost in previous election cycles. The psychology strikes me as wrong if that party expected a considerable uptick in their support.

  15. I disagree parties need a strong symbol in Quebec because I don't beleive Quebeckers are as superficial as that statement would imply.

    Harper has a strong front bench of Francophones with the likes of Steven Blaney, Christian Paradis, Denis Lebel, Bernard Valcourt and of course Maxime Bernier who still enjoys a high degree of personal popularity.

    I do not understand your second paragraph, according to the Conservative Party website no candidates have been nominated for Quebec so it appears your "information" is not accurate. There are some advantages in re-nominating past candidates since, they already have some name recognition, know the riding et cetera. It is unusual that a party like the NDP can nominate a slate of unknowns and get most of them elected.

    1. Capilano Dunbar,

      It is public knowledge that Sylvie Boucher will be running again in Beauport. It was in La Presse.

      As for Louis-Hebert, I may have changed parties in 2009 but many of my friends remain on the CPC riding EDA. It's not my place to reveal his name (we both voted No on merger in 2003) but he is an accomplished lawyer in Quebec City.

    2. Ronald,

      You may very well be correct about Beauport but, it can't be public knowledge because the name of the candidate has not been publishesd by the CPC. Ditto for Louis-Hebert

  16. CAQ voters vote NDP, lol, that says it all about Quebec voters.

    Francophones in Quebec don't vote for Left, Center or Right. They instead vote on Nationalism, Federalism, or Sovereignty

    1. Phil S,

      All I can say is that provincially, CAQ voters second choice is the QLP.


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