Quebec's Orange not-quite-yet-Revolution -

Quebec’s Orange not-quite-yet-Revolution


YGRECK, Journal de Montréal

A moderately big surprise here in Quebec: Jack Layton is the most popular leader in Quebec. You’ll note the lack of the usual ‘federalist’ leader caveat here, because ol’ Jack has pulled ahead of even Gilles Duceppe in the province for the first time in recorded history. Now for the caveats: this is one poll, polls are fleeting, and the NDP’s support is still very much in the ‘spoiler’ (not ‘winner’) category, as its support is spread thin across the province. Also, the party doesn’t have the vote-harvesting machinery of the other parties that translates support into results.

But still. Jack Layton! The Bloc has long benefited from Quebec’s progressive but non-sovereignist vote, simply because there was no other viable lefty party in the province. Much as it may like Duceppe personally, this demographic has always been orphaned somewhat, especially when Duceppe very publicly reminds everyone that the Bloc will work with the Parti Québécois.

It seems Layton is managing to steal away at least some of this not-inconsiderable wedge. No wonder Duceppe is suddenly commenting on polls—even though he has sworn up and down for years that he doesn’t comment on polls. (Memo to Gilles: it smells a little of desperation when you use a column from the more-federalist-than-thou André Pratte to back up your argument…)

And no wonder the Bloc attack (lap?) dogs have suddenly woken up.


Quebec’s Orange not-quite-yet-Revolution

  1. The NDP taking votes from the evil separatists? Surely this is great news, even for our Conservative friends here who insist that the continued existence of the BQ is the single greatest threat to life, freedom, and the Canadian way….right?

    • Yes, it's good news.

      I prefer socialist Quebeckers to vote for socialist parties with a country-wide reach.

      • Me too. But I suspect that for some of our more doctrinaire rightwing friends this news will not be well received (and that their problem with BQ voters isn't that they're voting for the BQ, but that they're not voting for the Conservatives)

        • Well, I'm more doctrinaire than most, and I definitely would _prefer_ that they vote Conservative.

          But Western Quebec is socialist, so they probably ought by a rational vote to be going Dipper.

          So good on them for doing it, finally.

          Also, Layton becomes a national hero if he slays the Bloc.

          • Very clear-sighted of you. It won't happen – even if their seats really were halved, the Bloc would still gum up Ottawa nicely. But federalism is preferable to all other political persuasions, at the bare minimum level.

        • Eh, the BQ is a socialist party, and the NDP is a socialist party. Until the Quebecers resist socialism and desire to generate their own wealth again, they aren't going to vote conservative. There are too many people paid off in Quebec society to vote for anything right of center fiscally, and they are generally too post-modern to even consider social conservatism.

          However, it might split the vote enough to allow those minority of Quebecers who do generate their own income (rather than earning one as a wage) to come up the middle and bring a few accidental seats to the conservatives.

          • Spent a lot of time in Quebec?

  2. Both caveats are wrong in this particular case.

    Any numerical analysis of election data will tell you that when your support is low, having it spread thinly is a problem (think the Greens vs. the Bloc); but when your support is high, having it spread thinly wins you MORE seats (think Liberal majorities with 38% of the vote).

    Also, there now two polls showing these results.

    • Yes, very strange caveats!

    • Do we know for a fact that NDP support is spread evenly? How do we know it hasn't risen more in some areas than others?

      Also, lets keep in mind that, as far as they've come in this regard since Layton became leader, NDP organization in Quebec is largely nonexistent, so you can basically take some portion of their standing in the horse race poll and give it to the other parties (same as for the Greens everywhere).

  3. Should the NDP be abel to translate their new votes into seats beyond Outremont (and maybe Gatineau) then their caucus will be filled with a bunch of "deux-de-piques."

    The same thing happened when Mulroney swept Québec and can been seen with members from other parts of the country that vote massively for one party to the exclusion of all others. The only reason they aren't as noticeable is that they are kept silent and out of sight by Steve.

    • If they literally end up in first place, there is no way they only win Outremont and Gatineau – the math simply doesn't work out. They might still end up in second place seats-wise (since they would likely be getting extra votes in some ridings and barely missing in others (esp. when you consider the fact that rural ridings tend to be much smaller population wise than urban ridings), but there is simply no way a party that won a plurality of the vote wouldn't win a significant number of seats. (Okay, there is a way, but it involves the Liberals, Conservatives, and Bloc votes being highly concentrated and non-overlapping; while this is true to a limited degree with the Liberal vote in Montreal and the Conservative vote in Quebec City, it's not true of the Bloc. Plus, this poll shows the NDP ahead of the Liberals in Montreal.)

      • But there would certainly be a lot of "deux-de-piques."

        • True; whenever you have massive growth in a party, you end up with a lot of random people elected who were only put on the ballot because no one else was willing to run.

          FWIW, Éric Grenier of ran a quick projection based off the CROP poll and got 31 NDP, 30 Bloc, 10 Conservative and 4(!) Liberal from Quebec. (see his twitter feed:!/308dotcom). We should definitely take that with a grain of salt (and, in fact, he said that himself), but it does confirm that if the NDP moved into first place in the province, they would start sweeping up seats all over the place.

          Now, for a fun hypothetical, let's assume the results outside of Quebec remain the same as Éric is projecting right now, but then add in these numbers for Quebec. This would give the Conservatives 146, the Liberals 68, the NDP 64, and the Bloc 30. Not quite enough for the NDP to move into official opposition territory, but a change of three additional seats could do it.

  4. This is incredible and it could portend a major shift. Quebec, like Alberta and very unlike Ontario, is not afraid to get behind new parties.
    The Conservatives were close to a breakthrough that would have handicapped the Bloc. They couldn't sustain it for a number of reasons, just as the ADQ could have been a historic game changer but wound up petering out.
    So, first, can the NDP hold this momentum through the election? And if they do, can they sustain it in the long term? If so, and if the COns can get their game back together in QC, we could see a majorly weakened Bloc. The Bloc has a huge advantage though: they are the only party that does not need a consistent ideology across the country; they have shown repeatedly that their leftist bent is not a priority compared to their Quebec-ism. There will always be issues that pop up where the Bloc will be able to gain an advantage because they only need to make demands for QC.
    Still, I think this is good news for democracy in the long run in that such regional blocs are bad for any democratic federation.

    • Alberta is not afraid to get behind new parties? It seems as though Alberta has been Blue forever. All the Conservatives need to do to win all the seats in the province is grunt: Registry Bad. Oil Good.

      • Wildrose, Reform, Social Credit…

        • TweedleDee, TweedleDum

          • Yeah, I fondly recall Preston Manning's call for micro stipends to Dust Bowl Farmers in his 1993 election speech.

  5. What a laff.

    A federalist commie vs. a separatist commie.
    Lev and Uncle Iosif all over again, although Layton looks more like Vyacheslav Molotov.