PQ Wins Quebec

So the separatist Parti Quebecois won the provincial elections yesterday.

Everybody I know in Montreal has spent the night researching what a move to Vancouver would entail. Some of those people were born and raised Francophone in Quebec. Many are, of course, immigrants. And there are a few Anglos as well.

My sister could barely talk on the phone last night. I’m the drama queen of the family, while she is the ultra-positive, can-do sort of person who will easily pull up by the bootstraps herself, you, me and a busload of strangers. So if she is sad, things must be getting dire.

If anybody has a positive insight into the elections, please share because I need to dispel the gloom.

43 thoughts on “PQ Wins Quebec”

  1. They only won a small minority government. They aint going nowhere. Now they actually have to govern on something other than the threat of separation. I think its called fiscal and ethical responsibility. 🙂

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    1. I heard that they are forming a coalition with another party that will give them a majority.

      Of course, I agree with you that stoking nationalist fires is a way of avoiding the unpleasant need to deal with the economy and other pressing issues. This is exactly what happened in Ukraine and is now unfolding in Russia.

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      1. Quebec has made it quite clear they wanted change but they also made it quite clear that separation would not be part of the equation. This was the lowest vote getting PQ party to be elected in the last 40yrs. Dont sweat it, the grandkids of the separatists like the benefits they get from the rest of Canada. They wont let Marois screw that up. 😉

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        1. “Dont sweat it, the grandkids of the separatists like the benefits they get from the rest of Canada.”

          – I know, you are right. But it isn’t the possibility of a new referendum that the people I know are so worried about. It’s the entire PQ platform and the discrimination they propose to engage in towards immigrants, the repressive measures against private businesses, the damage they will do to the economy, etc. People want to live and work in peace without being dictated how to breathe.

          But thank you for your valiant effort to make me feel better! You are a good person.

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      2. Look at at this way:
        PQ won, but they barely won against adversaries one of which was hugely unpopular due to corruption charges and the other – nine months old. They made separatist sentiment, tougher language laws, etc a prominent part of their program. They did not have to, they could ride the anti-corruption horse, and Liberals have given them more than enough ammunition. Out of arrogance or stupidity, or maybe being hostages to their own agenda, they turned the election into a referendum in disguise, and got 33% of votes. Plus couple % for Quebec Solidaire… Which is how it should be (not that I wish for it, but it is logical/natural). If in 1995 the support of independent Quebec was at ~49%, now it is natural to have ~35%.

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        1. “Out of arrogance or stupidity, or maybe being hostages to their own agenda, they turned the election into a referendum in disguise, and got 33% of votes. Plus couple % for Quebec Solidaire… Which is how it should be (not that I wish for it, but it is logical/natural). If in 1995 the support of independent Quebec was at ~49%, now it is natural to have ~35%.”

          – OK, this feels good, very good. I will keep re-reading this comment now.

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      3. It’s the entire PQ platform and the discrimination they propose to engage in towards immigrants, the repressive measures against private businesses, the damage they will do to the economy, etc.(Clarissa)

        Well, hopefully David and the other Separatist who posts on here will try to convince you that just aint so. 😉

        Im glad I could help. 🙂

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  2. A good article on the subject:

    Others have already weighed in on Quebec’s election results. But let’s note that for all the drama of an election where it was an open question whether voters could stomach any of the three main contenders, the outcome may set the stage for sweeping changes in the fairly near future.

    I’ve already pointed out an apparent opening for a Quebec NDP to win over a large number of voters. And last night’s results could hardly have been better designed for the NDP join the mix in the next election cycle – even if they figure to produce some negative outcomes in the short term.

    For at least the next couple of years, the right looks to be in the driver’s seat in Quebec. The CAQ, holding a solid balance of power, will be able to control the agenda of the governing PQ. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see links develop between the CAQ and the Harper Cons to make sure that any devolution of power happens only on the Cons’ terms.

    But if Quebec’s political direction is going to be based on the common ground available between the CAQ, Cons and PQ, that figures to raise questions for a large number of voters who voted PQ based on its (however questionable) self-identification as a progressive party. And while an impending leadership race might offer an opportunity for the Libs to move into that void, it’s doubtful that they can erase the memory of their most recent government within a single minority term.

    Meanwhile, last night’s results don’t signal any huge growth potential among Quebec’s smaller parties either. Quebec Solidaire added only a single extra seat to its total and fell far short of the balance of power in an election where “none of the above” options looked to have every chance of breaking through. And Option Nationale couldn’t manage even that much.

    So the progressive vacuum may be even more conspicuous by the next Quebec election than it is now. And a well-organized NDP should be in an ideal position to win over the same types of voters who have become staunch supporters federally.

    http://accidentaldeliberations.blogspot.com/2012/09/a-wide-open-field.html

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  3. Of course, you know about the shoot out at the PQ victory speech location where one person was killed and another critically wounded by a person carrying a hand gun and an assault rifle who said in broken French, ” The English are waking up!” and “Pay back.”

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    1. “The Quebec Liberals deserved to lose with their corrupt, lazy and entitled sense of political power but the PQ is going to indulge its fantasies of an independent Quebec again without dealing with the realities that have come up in previous incarnations of being in power.”

      Exactly.

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  4. Two thoughts:
    1) At least Jean Charest isn’t in power anymore.
    2) I realize that this is probably an irreducible part of ethnically-based nationalism, but it seems from where I’m sitting like the PQ is no longer even trying to curb its racist impulses. I mean, seriously: they used to be concerned about maintaining a French speaking population, and I could sympathize; now, they’re demanding that people should have French as their mother tongue–something which isn’t even within an individual’s power to change about themself. And don’t even get me started about the theocratic doublethink necessary to believe that the best way to enforce “secularism” is by banning the display of all religious symbols *except* the Christian ones!

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    1. “it seems from where I’m sitting like the PQ is no longer even trying to curb its racist impulses. I mean, seriously: they used to be concerned about maintaining a French speaking population, and I could sympathize; now, they’re demanding that people should have French as their mother tongue–something which isn’t even within an individual’s power to change about themself.”

      – I so agree! I also come from a post-colonial nation whose language and culture were destroyed by the conquerors, so I’m very understanding of the desire to preserve one’s linguistic and cultural heritage. But I also know that the linguistic identity is so central the core of what constitutes a human being that you do not mess with that. Immigrants don’t feel like they are at home in Quebec many years after coming into the country, even when their French is spectacular. There is something deeply wrong with that.

      “And don’t even get me started about the theocratic doublethink necessary to believe that the best way to enforce “secularism” is by banning the display of all religious symbols *except* the Christian ones!”

      – That whole thing is too offensive for words. I find it unbelievably disgusting and I am a Christian!

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  5. I woke up depressed and I am feeling down all day long – the overall sentiment in the office is that of gloom (mind you, my francophone employees share the same emotion). The economy is finally stabilizing after 3 years and now this? Not only does this create an unnecessary uncertainty, but think of all the money that will be wasted once again on another election in a year from now. I also feel really embarrassed to be in a province led by an extremist wacko who gives political power to uneducated 20 year-olds. Urgh, I could just go on and on….

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    1. Well, dear Sister… you are not the only one who thinks that Leo Bureau-Blouin is an uneducated 20 year-olds brat. As expected, I completely disagree with you. Other people would argue that he was the moderate voice (and eloquent at that, though sometimes he came across as pretentious… like every 20yo should be I think) during the student strike. Other people would also say that it is good to have young people involved actively in politics, unlike some illiterate fossils who have been elected over and over again for decades.

      I am happy for him! Good for him! Good for us! I would not have voted for him, but good for us! I wish more young people were more active in politics, regardless of their political allegiances.

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  6. I thought you were not commenting on the election. Here are some thoughts, mixed up.

    1) ““And don’t even get me started about the theocratic doublethink necessary to believe that the best way to enforce “secularism” is by banning the display of all religious symbols *except* the Christian ones!”

    The Liberals, the CAQ, and the PQ share this doublethink discourse, unfortunately.

    2) I know you once wrote that people who are not immigrants in Quebec should not talk about immigration experiences in Quebec… but many immigrants feel welcome in Quebec and many of them (especially the second generation) would vote PQ, Quebec solidaire, or Option nationale. My wife and her entire family hold much more Quebecois nationalist fervor that me… and they speak with an accent. I am not saying that all immigrants feel welcome, but some do. Like everywhere else. It is the linguistic factor in the specific North American context that makes things much more complicated here.

    3) The new 101 Bill is ridiculous and many people in the Parti quebecois or bad separatists like myself (!) find it deeply wrong. This is one of the (many) reasons why I did not vote for them.

    4) The PQ is not a progressive party anymore. It was progressive under Levesque and Parizeau. At best it is now centre to centre-left. Still better than the PLQ and the CAQ, if you consider yourself progressive.

    5) I am suprised to hear again stories about people leaving Quebec because of their fear of the independence or the PQ. I thought these people had already left the province! If someone has decided to live in Quebec it is because s/he are aware of that ‘danger,’ right? That being said, I am honestly sad for these people who are afraid of the PQ and, while defining themselves progressives, do not have a better option than voting for the Liberals. Brrrr…

    Thomas Mulcair wants to create a provincial NPD? That is going to be interesting for sure.

    6) PQ is demanding that people should have French as their mother-tongue? Really? Is this written in its political platform? Really? This is a genuine question, believe me. If it is so, then it is laughable and wrong. If not, where does that schizoid idea come from?

    The images of yesterday killing still haunt me. I could barely sleep yesterday. And some people will argue that violence begets violence, that the PQ now is the victim of violence because they promoted violence last Spring during the student strike… or that this is the result of their linguistic policies. Barf… and barf again… I am so sad today.

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    1. “PQ is demanding that people should have French as their mother-tongue? Really? Is this written in its political platform? Really? This is a genuine question, believe me. If it is so, then it is laughable and wrong. If not, where does that schizoid idea come from?”

      I got the idea from here:
      http://www.montrealgazette.com/opinion/Macpherson+takes+language+level/7083867/story.html

      “[The PQ]’s proposed “new Bill 101” would, among other things, restrict the freedom of adults to attend English-language colleges and impose the same language requirements on businesses with as few as 11 employees that large corporations must meet.

      The communiqué justifies the proposed new measures by “the decline of French in Quebec, particularly on the island of Montreal.”

      The 798-word document offers only a single piece of statistical evidence of this decline, however:

      “The weight of the French mother-tongue majority in Quebec has slipped below the bar of 80 per cent,” it quotes Marois as saying. “On the island of Montreal, this rate passed from 52.1 per cent in 2001 to 48.8 per cent in 2006. It is high time to act.””
      (emphasis mine)

      Now, of course, I’m not sure how reliable the Gazette is (it’s a famous newspaper, but that means absolutely nothing in this day and age); but it seems to be quoting an acual party document in this case.

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      1. Got it. As I think you wrote before this is ridicoulous. How can you police languages spoken and taught at home? How can they make this French-as-a-mother-tongue a law? Quebec already uses language as an immigration criterium, so what’s next? Ridiculous. This, along with the French CEGEP travesty is downright dangerous.

        I

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    2. I honestly hope that my niece Klubnikis will feel more integrated in Quebec than her parents. I don’t know how that will unfold after she discovers she can’t go to the same school as her little friends because of where her parents were born but we’ll wait and see.

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    3. OL,
      — I am suprised to hear again stories about people leaving Quebec because of their fear of the independence or the PQ. I thought these people had already left the province! If someone has decided to live in Quebec it is because s/he are aware of that ‘danger,’ right?

      Maybe there are other groups of people like that, but one obvious group is non-francophone part of the middle class, who came here for job. Some of them anglophones from other parts of Canada, most foreign-born, knowing English before coming to Quebec and for whatever reason being more fluent in English than in French. Programmers, scientists, medical doctors, engineers. They were told (or determined it by their own search) that separatism is on the decline. And then, after coming to Quebec they discovered that it was not quite so. That all kinds of protectionist mechanisms, from linguistic to socialist, are in effect reserving good jobs for Quebecois (because good jobs are supposed to be for the owners of the land, immigrants were invited to take the dirty jobs, not compete for jobs with somebody named Tremblay). Of course it is not absolute – these people somehow got their middle class jobs in Quebec in the first place, but professional advancement or changing jobs while staying in Quebec turns out to be difficult. Plus all kinds of random shit, like francophones berating people for speaking English in public. Or French language teacher telling a child two months after moving to Quebec “what are you doing here if you do not speak French?”
      Now of course what one makes of it depends on political position. If one is for Quebec independence at all costs, the natural reaction would be – let those disloyal cosmopolitan bastards leave, good riddance. And less competition for us, real Quebecois. If the goal is different… maybe the francophones have to show more good will by controlling and confronting their idiots, instead of assuring the anglophones that this or that is just an isolated incident not reflecting the attitudes of most francophones.
      And, by the way, those same middle class people are often not too happy about the level of socialism Quebecois seem to favor. So it is not just about language.

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      1. And, by the way, those same middle class people are often not too happy about the level of socialism Quebecois seem to favor.(valter07)

        You have to wonder how much they would like their “socialism” if the bill came exclusively from their own pocket? Take away transfer payments and you would have a totally different politcally reality in the sovereign nation of Quebec. 😉

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  7. Also, I live in Montreal and I did not spend the night looking for houses for sale west of exit 825 on Highway 401. And you know me, right.

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    1. We all know and love your feisty separatist spirit! Of course, if all separatists were as reasonable as you are, I don’t think anybody would need to look for houses in Vancouver. Except if they really love Vancouver, of course.

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        1. “Always there to shake up things a little, when I have an intelligent interlocutor like you, of course!”

          – That’s why I was waiting for you to liven up the thread. 🙂

          “The images of yesterday killing still haunt me. I could barely sleep yesterday. And some people will argue that violence begets violence, that the PQ now is the victim of violence because they promoted violence last Spring during the student strike… or that this is the result of their linguistic policies. Barf… and barf again… I am so sad today.”

          – I don’t believe in the idea that anybody deserves being a victim of violence or that anybody can be provoked into violence in this way. A killing is unexcusable no matter what slogans are shouted while it is being perpetrated. I hope this is just an isolated case of a disturbed individual.

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  8. I don’t think any half sane individual would suggest that anyone brings unmotivated violence upon themselves. Every time there is a shooting, it is tragic and deserves no analysis. This was clearly an unstable person.

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    1. Hum… it was an isolated case and [hopefully] this man was unstable.

      I do think that shooting deserves analysis, unfortunately. We should not minimize these kinds of tragic events. We need to examine our conscience. Think about the Polytechnique tragedy. It could have been easy to swipe away the tragedy by claiming that the shooter was an unstable person, but the fact is that it was a feminicide, a politically charged act. It was an isolated case yes, yet an act deliberately committed against women.

      So… we reallly did not need that shooting, and we really did not need that man saying the things he said. We all agree on that. And P. Marois’s speech was kind of conciliatory at that.

      The first question that came to my mind (and do deserve analysis) is: how come an unstable person (if that man is indeed unstable) had access to a gun?

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      1. Yes, I most definitely agree with you and would not want to minimize what happened in any way. I do also agree that Marois, as well as other political leaders, handled it in an admirable way. What I really fear is that these types of events will lead to even more divide, even more ‘us VS them’, which is what I loathe.

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    2. 22 guns Bain had. And he carefully planned his attack. And he mumbled the things he mumbled. The more I think about it the more convinced I am that we should not evacuate the political dimension of this killing… that would be like repressing tensions, and we must rather ‘work our way through’ tensions.

      To condemn the violent and isolated act of a [perhaps unstable] man is a necessary first step towards social peace, but it is simply not enough.

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      1. “The more I think about it the more convinced I am that we should not evacuate the political dimension of this killing…”

        – I’m not sure what you mean by this. What do you think is its political meaning? Do you believe there is an organization behind him?

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      2. No organization behind this act, of course. It was an individual and isolated act, but thinking that it was apolitical would be wrong and irresponsible. Bain talked in the name of a community, because of that it is political, even though the community clearly does not back the action of this man, and that the ‘support’ of this community only exists in the killer’s twisted mind.

        If you disagree with the use of the word ‘political’ I will put it differently. I remember that after the Polytechnique tragedy some people tried to avoid talking about the very true fact that the killing was a feminicide. When people tried to heal the wounds this sad root of the tragedy was evacuated because it was too painful to face with or analyze… we did not want to face the truth: a man wanted to kill young, intelligent, and sucessful women. The same applies here. There is some sort of defense mechanism at play… or repression… something like trying not to face the nasty truth of the root of Bain’s plans: he wanted to take his revenge over the PQ, in the name of the Anglophone community. Of course we all condemn his act… all of us… but our defense mechanism would be to claim that the man was unstable. Period. And condemn his act. Period. Call it a political act or not, but I am not happy with short and superficial analysis of what happened on election night. After the necessary general condemnation of this isolated act I want to read good analysis of what happened on that night.

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        1. “No organization behind this act, of course. It was an individual and isolated act, ”

          – Thank God for that, at least. I’m terrified of fascist organizations that keep springing up everywhere.

          “After the necessary general condemnation of this isolated act I want to read good analysis of what happened on that night.”

          – I agree with this. His mental instability, I’m sure, existed in and of itself, the same as that of the Polytechnique killer, but this mental disease tapped into a specific way of thinking, a way of thinking that fed off of something. In the first case, it was hatred of women and in the second case, it was nationalist resentment that rose to the level of a fascist outpouring of rage. I don’t throw around the word “fascism” lightly but I am convinced that this qualifies.

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