The view from the nation (Updated)


The Bloc Québécois’s been running an ad warning the Conservatives that “Quebec was going to stand in the way” of a Harper majority. Now, we find out if he’s right.

Remember, too, that Duceppe’s bet the farm on this race, saying he’d step down if he doesn’t win 38 seats.

There’s a bunch of Quebec ridings to keep an eye on:

-Justin Trudeau vs. Vivian Barbot

-Jean-Pierre Blackburn vs. Chantale Bouchard

-Michael Fortier vs. Meili Faille

-Marc Garneau vs. Anne Lagacé Dowson

-Thomas Mulcair vs. Sébastien Dhavernas


(1) Maxime Bernier has won back his Beauce seat. Despite Bernier’s uneven performance in cabinet and his romantic foibles, his seat was never really in doubt, so it’s nothing for the Conservatives to hang their hats on yet.

(2) It’s still really, really early, but Justin Trudeau is absolutely crushing Vivian Barbot with only a few buckets of votes counted.

(3) I didn’t mention it above, but the Louis-Hébert riding in the Quebec City region is turning into a surprisingly interesting race. The Liberal candidate, Jean Beaupré, appears to be a lot stronger than I’d expected. Going into the election, the capital looked like it might go Tory all the way; somehow, at least in Louis-Hébert, the Grits are having a good showing and may end up splitting the federalist vote.

(4) Josée Verner has won her seat. Looks like she didn’t need her own vote after all.

(5) The Bloc vote in Quebec is hovering around the 37% mark. That’s got to be a disappointment for Duceppe, who was likely hoping to inch up into the low forties.

(6) There isn’t a much safer seat than Westmount-Ville-Marie for the Liberals, and the NDP appears to have underestimated the force of habit by sticking Anne Lagacé Dowson there; she’s nowhere near the lead.

(7) You can pretty much stick a fork in Michael Fortier’s chances. I bet that Senate seat’s looking pretty good right now.

(8) I probably don’t need to mention Wells is always worth reading, but he makes a good point here (two, actually, if you count how difficult it is to understand the CBC website): The Tories are actually doing better in Quebec than they did in the last election.

(9) Jean-Pierre Blackburn is back, which has to be a relief to the Tories. It’s not so much that Blackburn is a particularly adept pointman in the province, but his connections to the ADQ go a long way towards giving the Tories a (relatively) solid batch of groundtroops.

(10) Louis-Hébert is still unusually tight, with the Bloc’s Pascal-Pierre Paillé building on a 700-vote lead over Luc Harvey. Mario Dumont has to be wondering if the Conservatives’ struggles in Quebec City won’t spill over in a provincial election that might come as early as this year.

(11) Mulcair’s in a real dogfight in Outremont. With Lagacé Dowson beaten in spectacular fashion in Westmount, and Mulcair facing defeat, the NDP has lost whatever toe-hold it once had in the province. Back to the drawing board, I suppose.

(12) Wow. How is André Arthur not mopping up in Portneuf? Mystère de Québec, welcome back.

(13) Late last week, Gilles Duceppe suggested defeating Justin Trudeau was important for the good of the nation. Memo to Gilles: Things aren’t looking up, but you’ll survive.

(14) Mulcair is now up by—get this—17 votes.

(15) It doesn’t look like the Bloc is going to lose many seats—in fact, it doesn’t like more than 2-3 Quebec seats are going to change hands at all. But their share of the vote is down 3-4 points from 2006.

(16) CBC’s just called it for Trudeau. Selley and I are already looking forward to the flamboyantly bilingual victory video.

(17) Mulcair is ever-so-slowly building a lead in Outremont. But I still think the point stands: Where does Layton go from here? The Dippers didn’t get anywhere near doubling its Quebec caucus, and Bloc support seemed to bleed to the Liberals rather than them.

(18) Marty says it best: “Thanks for coming out, Galganov. Big 6 percent of the vote.”

(19) For a guy who just took two-thirds of the seats he was campaigning for, Gilles Duceppe’s looking a little solemn. He was right about putting the brakes on a majority, but losing votes to the Liberals—Stéphane Dion’s Liberals!—has got to hurt.

(20) As much as I often disagree with Coyne’s view of Quebec-Canada relations, he does make a good point about the Conservatives’ failure to become the default federalist alternative in Quebec. After millions in increased transfer payments, two and a half years of overt nationalist rhetoric, formal recognition of the Quebec nation, etc., all they have to show for it is the same lackluster Quebec caucus they had going in. Welcome back to cabinet, Mr. Bernier?

(21) An aside: Where the hell’s the Green vote in Quebec anyway?


The view from the nation (Updated)

  1. My view on Quebec-Canada relations is close to Mr. Coyne’s but I’d be interested to read yours. Have you written about it somewhere?

  2. The short answer is that I don’t believe in a heavily-centralized federal government and prefer to see the provincial government take the lead in almost all areas of social and economic policy. It’s hard not to appear reductionist when trying to frame it in a single sentence, but that’s it in a nutshell. Maybe I’ll expand on it sometime.

  3. I’d like a short answer on how anyone can believe that Canada is anything but a heavily-decentralized country. Or rather, provincialized, given how powerless municipalities are.

  4. Given our tiny population that is around half the size of Texas how would it be possible for Canada to function as a nation on the world stage without a ‘heavily’ centralized Federal government? I would like to read that essay of yours one day. Provincial governments in Canada represent such small numbers of people and are so small that they simply can’t do it all to ensure that the citizenship we enjoy is on a par with other wealthier nations. If you haven’t got your paper all ready to go on this subject how did you win the job as assistant Editor at Maclean’s? What sort of drivel am I reading here at Maclean’s online if the eye that helps filter it all hasn’t done his homework?

  5. “If you haven’t got your paper all ready to go on this subject how did you win the job as assistant Editor at Maclean’s?”

    I keep asking for extensions.

  6. Blackmail, BQ style ?

    With 50 seats filled in the House of Commons, the Bloc Quebecois has far too much power. These are men and women who would prefer that Quebec either separate from Canada , or use the threat of separation to blackmail the rest of us for preferred treatment. Without the BQ’s participation, there is a good chance that the governing party would have achieved majority status in the last 3 Federal elections resulting in a clearer mandate and eliminate the need for elections every few years.

    How long are the rest of us going to stand for this! It is time to shut them down.

    The Bloc Quebecois was founded in 1990 with a mandate to sever Quebec from Canada. In the recent Federal election, it was clear that Quebec separation is no longer a significant political issue. Therefore, their ‘raison d’etre’ is now past its due date.

    To add injury to insult, Gilles Duceppe ran a ‘block Harper’ campaign because he claims that the Conservatives do not appreciate Quebec culture sufficiently to represent their interests in Ottawa . With a financial meltdown going on all around us and the economy clearly the most pressing issue to the the vast majority of Canadians, in good conscience how could Mr. Duceppe make his campaign be about arts and culture?

    I believe that arts and culture funding should be a provincial matter, not a federal one. In the case of Quebec, for example, why should our other provinces and territorities care about what goes on on Quebec regarding the arts, or language for that matter? If they want a distinct society, they should pay for it with their own tax dollars, and if the rest of us wish to enjoy what Quebec culture has to offer, we can either visit Quebec or obtain access to much of Quebec’s artistic output from any one of the many forms of communications that exist today.

    The fact that Mr Duceppe could even attempt to distort the outcome of a Federal election while running on issues that only matter to people within Quebec is proof that its time for the Bloc Quebecois to either expand across Canada with a program attractive to ALL CANADIANS,or fold up their tent.

    In addition, we must change our federal laws in a way that will prevent any one province from establishing its own Federal Party situation and run eclusively on policies that concern solely itself. This is why we have provincial governments in Canada! It is not right or fair that one province can hold so much power and influence on the rest of Canada by being exclusively allowed its own Federal Party. How would Quebecers feel if Ontario, with its 106 ridings, fielded a powerful ‘Block Ontario’ to counter the powers of the BQ ( only 75 ridings) ? And how would the other 8 provinces and territories respond? How soon would it take for Canadian Federalism to collapse in this scenario?

    Am I the only one in Canada who sees this injustice?

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