Monday, January 2, 2017

5 provincial politicians to watch in 2017

With a federal government willing to meet with premiers and provincial and territorial ministers on a regular basis, federal-provincial relations are likely to continue to loom large while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in office.

Elections will be held in two provinces in 2017 as British Columbians and Nova Scotians head to the polls. And while no provincewide votes will be held in Alberta and Ontario, the premiers of these provinces will nevertheless have difficult political obstacles to tackle this year.

Though a third referendum on Quebec's sovereignty is very unlikely for the foreseeable future, a change of venue for one politician could bring that debate back to Ottawa.

With that in mind, here are five provincial politicians to watch in 2017.

You can read the rest of this article here.


  1. In Quebec the politician to watch is Jean-Francois Lisee. The PQ's coalition of left-and-right-wing sovereigntists and people who just don't like the Liberals has been fracturing ever since Parizeau retired 20 years ago. It's an open question whether it can still challenge for power, having lost so much of its base to Quebec Solidaire, and with CAQ as a viable alternative for swing voters. Lisee, Parizeau's old advisor, is as much of an establishment insider as an opposition leader can be, so the populist swing that saved the Bloc from annihilation in 2015 would probably seem phony coming fron Lisee. People have written off the PQ dozens of time before, but if Lisee doesn't show more adeptness than Boisclair, Marois or Peladeau, then the party could get supplanted by Quebec Solidaire as the default option for independence-driven voters.

    1. Quebec nationalism is changing from a movement focused on independence back to its traditional principles of autonomous self-government within Canada. The idea of the nation-state of Quebec is dead. if the PQ could not achieve victory in 1995 after they drove 90% of Anglos from Quebec they never will. Quebec Solidaire is the base of the independence movement now because that movement can only count on 25-30% support. Even Quebec Solidaire actively promotes socialism not separatism- independence is only a means for achieving socialism.

      The separatist movement has a terrible record. They transformed Montreal from the business and cultural capital of Canada into just another city. They drove away the wealthiest and most educated minority-Anglophones; they are unable to attract highly skilled immigrants and Bill 101 has done nothing to promote the French Language instead creating another cost for business and further driving down economic growth. The PQ's only attribute is thay are not the PLQ-that line of thinking still holds some meaning for those who dislike de Couillard and distrust Legault.

      Short of a crisis constitutional or otherwise, I don't see how the separatist movement gets back on its feet. They'll always get a rump of 10% but its days as an effective cultural and political force are waning.

    2. I wouldn't write off the sovereignty movement just yet. They are still at 30% in the polls, which is remarkable considering that no major party is pushing the issue.

      Just like in 1976, the economy is stagnant, the Quebec Liberals are losing their sheen, the Liberals in Ottawa look unbeatable, and frustrated, disengaged voters are displaying a "What's-the-worst-that-can-happen" attitude in voting for radical or populist parties all over the world. It's not unimaginable to think that Quebec Solidaire might win a 4-way race, being the party with no track record to criticize, the way that the PQ won in 1976, or that Layton won Quebec in 2011. In that environment, I wouldn't bet the farm on a crushing "Non" victory in a sovereignty referendum.

    3. Goaltender,

      I would go further: IMHO, the next election is Lisée's to lose. He has very shrewdly put a referendum on the backburner. If he wins, it will be because quite simply, he isn't Couillard or Legault. That should be enough for a plurality of voting Québécois.

    4. Well, the trend lines are pretty clear-support for separation is waning. Sure they still poll between 25-30% regularly and I agree a crisis or political surprise could tip the boat unexpectedly but, a third referendum would ultimately fail and a unilateral declaration of independence could provoke who knows what in the Trumpian reality we are soon to call the present.

      At the end of the day though even a surprise Quebec Solidaire victory is unlikely to elicit separation.

      A recent Angus Reid Institute-CBC poll found 82% of respondents agreed: "Ultimately, Quebec should stay in Canada."

      82%! Even the separatists don't want to separate. So, sure they'll always be a rump 10% in favour of independence but, nobody is talking about it-not even separatists!

      You can not expect to pull Quebec out of Canada without the agreement of the people (of Quebec). If the separatists themselves are unable to enter into conversation with the people-they can not obtain consent.

      So, if the separatist fail to speak or engage in debate about separation the project itself is morbid bound-everyone knows it. Sure it will take another decade and a half for separation to land at 10% in the polls but the trend is clear and has been clear since the last referendum. Demographics, history and economics are not on the separatists' side. It's over. Someone get over to the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society and turn off the lights!

    5. Ghost -- I read lots of comments like yours thirty years ago. In early 1987, Rene Levesque was gone, the PQ had been crushed in the previous election, Quebec had signed onto the Meech Lake Accord which was well on its way to being quietly ratificatied, no one was talking about independence except a few diehards like Jacques Parizeau. You might very well end up being right, but in this Brexit/Trumpian era of unpredictable voters, any electoral option with 30% support ought not to be dismissed as unwinnable.

    6. Here's the difference: In 1987 Jacques Parizeau was alive and kicking. No one of the late M. Parizeaus's character or intellect is now part of the Sovereignty movement.

      The Sovereignty movement does not have 30% support it has 18%! 82% of Quebeckers including a majority of Francophones (73%) believe "ultimately Quebec should stay in Canada".

      The PQ has not won a majority Government for nearly 20 years! In the last election they only managed 25% of the popular vote. Today with the CAQ and QS they can not win a majority Government! The PQ's only hope of election is to specifically rule out separation for an indeterminate period! In other words; they do not have a policy in favour of separation since, they have no policy to execute the separation process. The movement is dead! This isn't thirty years ago its 2017. What has the separatist movement achieved since 1995? Nothing.

      If this was one poll we could dismiss it as such but, when was the last time support for sovereignty was above 50%? Shortly before PKP became PQ leader support spiked at 42% but, then receded in quick order back down to the 25-35% range. What happened to PKP anyone remember? Oh that's right he saw the situation was hopeless and went back to Quebecor. Look at the PQ popular vote over the course of the last 20 odd years; it has declined in every single election since 1994. With the exception of 2008 when it spiked to 35% before turning negative once more in the subsequent elections of 2012, 2014 when the PQ garnered little more than 25%; it's worse showing since 1970!

      The unexpected could happen but, it is unlikely to result in a crisis similar to that of the early 1990's. If it does Canada's response may shock Quebeckers. Here is the cold hard truth for separatist Quebecois and sovereigntists: Nobody cares about you or your cause anymore. If you want to leave-great-we don't want you. If you wish to stay and work within Canada even better-we enjoy the differences Francophones bring! Even separatists don't want to separate anymore and it is easy to see why. French as a language and culture is increasingly losing its relevance and place in the World. It is the ninth, 9th, most used language on the internet behind Malay! The cold hard truth separatists: You need Canada more than Canada needs you.

      Finally, both Brexit and Trump were entirely predictable. I was in the UK three months before the referendum and everyone I met was voting Leave. The polls were spot on within the MoE. Trump's victory was predictable as well. The last group of polls heralded it with remarkable accuracy. Just as Brexit and Trump were predictable so too is the death knell of the Quebec separatist movement as a political and cultural force. It will never disappear entirely but, a 10% rump is fast approaching and gets closer with every passing year. I'm sure you'll catch up to the rest of us in due time Goaltender Interference.

  2. Hi Eric,

    Where is the list of polls used for your poll aggregation of Jan. 6th, 2017 and your poll aggregations in general? They do not appear to be in your methodology and without it I am left to wonder where your numbers come from. Or are you simply trying your hand at "fake news" since it seems to be all the rage at the moment?


    The Ghost of Paul MacEwan

    1. Lists of polls are included in all of the provincial aggregations. I will be listing all of the polls for the federal aggregation starting with the first ones published in 2017.

      You can also find a list of polls here:

    2. Thanks Eric I knew they had to be somewhere or other.

      Happy New Year!
      The Ghost of Paul MacEwan


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