And then a referendum ate them all -

And then a referendum ate them all

Notes on the Quebec election campaign beginning Wednesday


Quebec Premier Pauline Marois (Jacques Boissinot/CP)

Notes on the Quebec election campaign beginning Wednesday:

1. There have been only two minority governments in Quebec’s modern political era (“modern” defined, roughly, as “since Jean Lesage” and therefore, since 1960). Jean Charest had the first in 2007-2008, Pauline Marois has had the second. So we’re in a period where some long-established trends don’t always hold, but I’m going to mention a trend for you anyway: Quebec usually re-elects an incumbent government rather than boot it out after one mandate. Pauline Marois is running her third campaign as PQ leader, having lost one and won one. Against a new party leader, Philippe Couillard, and another whose star has faded, François Legault, she is likely to win.

2. In 2007 the PQ ran on a relatively mild version of its traditional calling card, nationalism, and a now-vanished party, the ADQ, ran on what might politely be termed populist nativism. Together they held Jean Charest’s Liberals to a minority, but if a single party could combine nationalism and nativism, it might box the Liberals in more completely than two could. That’s the calculation Jean-François Lisée made, and first as Marois’s counsellor and then as a rookie MNA and senior cabinet minister, he has encouraged the PQ’s transformation into a party with much of the appeal those two parties had in 2007. The rest of Quebec politics, and especially, the Liberals, have had 8 years to prepare for the play the Marois-Lisée PQ is making, without much success. All elections are unpredictable and Quebec has been surprising in many ways lately, but I’d bet a loonie (though not a penny more) that the PQ wins a majority.

3. I don’t want to be sweepingly dismissive, but I have never found Marois a terribly interesting politician. But give her this: she’s highly malleable. While others of her generation — Jacques Parizeau, Lucien Bouchard, even Bernard Landry — have been publicly highly skeptical of the Charter of Values that has been the PQ government’s most high-profile and controversial policy, Marois has peddled it like a champ. She does not seem burdened by introspection.

4. Will she hold a secession referendum? If I were Lisée, I would tell her this: PQ premiers who didn’t hold referendums are not remembered fondly today. Pierre Marc Johnson, Bouchard, Landry. The two who did are heroes of the movement, even though they lost: René Lévesque and Parizeau. To which group would Marois rather belong?

5. In a referendum, political Canada would be represented by a No committee leader, Couillard, who would have just lost an election; a federal prime minister, Stephen Harper, whose party is far less popular in Quebec than Jean Chrétien’s Liberals ever were; and by a reasonably impressive B team (Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau) whose members cannot conceivably work effectively with one another.

6. In 1995, No committee chairman Daniel Johnson spent a lot of time keeping weird or hard-t0-control voices out of the referendum debate. Chrétien’s interventions were limited. Reform leader Preston Manning and his lieutenant on constitutional issues, Stephen Harper, were formally forbidden from campaigning. Expenses of the Yes and No campaigns were capped at parity. The goal was to ensure the No campaign spoke with one voice.

Those days are gone forever. Social media has collapsed the cost of entry into a political debate to zero. Anyone with a Twitter or Youtube account, from anywhere in Canada or the world, will be able to tweet, blog, post video or otherwise gain entry into a referendum debate. One idiot who wants Quebec kicked out of Confederation will gain far more attention than 100,000 “likes” for Quebec We Love You on Facebook. I get the distinct impression the amount of strategic thought that’s gone into this, among federalists who may be a year from a referendum campaign, is zero.

7. So while any part of this chain of supposition could be flawed or simply overtaken by events, I’m inclined to think we’re heading for turbulence.

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And then a referendum ate them all

  1. Grumble.

    Can’t see anything to pick at in this. If it’s true, we’re in for an annoying time.

    • x2

    • Yup. Here we go again, assuming the PQ win.

      • I hope they win, will help drive western separation. Unlike Quebec, the west will economically benefit from leaving Ottawa/Quebec confederation.

    • Marois called this election for one reason, the corruption inquiry and how it relates to her husband.

  2. According to polls, somewhere between 30 and 40% of Quebecers want independence. So even if Marois wins, the prospect of losing a third referendum will probably prevent a referendum from happening. She will need to figure out a way to raise those numbers. In any case, she’ll have lots of opportunities to do more damage to Quebec in other ways, such as new laws against putting the word pasta on a menu.

    • What part of Wells’ post gives you the impression Marois will not win another referendum when you consider how tattered federalist forces have become? I’d like to know so that i too can warm myself at your burn barrel. The only nod he gave to hopefulness that i could discern was he allowed that elections[ and referendums[ i presume] are unpredictable on principle.

      • Quebec won’t vote to leave because Quebecers don’t actually want to leave.

        But a referendum in which the Yes side gets, say, 45-47% is plenty of turbulence, thank you very much.

        • Hope so. But as per Wells, who’s going to speak for Canada after she wins a probable majority? We were complacent last time out. But this time the worry is a significant number of RoCs may not care if they leave. In fact they may wire them bus fare.

          • As ever, it’s a mess.

            Take 1995 — Johnson was an unpopular ex-premier, Chretien was the hated Trudeau lieutenant, and it came down to Jean Charest to actually give some speeches that inspired people about Canada. (After which we drafted him to go to Quebec and give us some peace on the file, and I hope we’re appropriately grateful to him for the 15 years of quiet that he gave us.)

            I don’t think people don’t care. Many say they don’t, but they’re more just tired of it, and unwilling to be blackmailed. (Even in Alberta, less than half of them want Quebec to leave.) [And they’re right, we shouldn’t let Quebec blackmail us, as much as we’d like to keep them.]

            This time? I don’t think Quebecers _hate_ Harper — they disagree with him on policy, and that’s a different thing. (Harper almost won Quebec, before botching the 2008 campaign.) They don’t hate Trudeau, although I’m skeptical he’s as much of an asset off the island of Montreal as people now think. They respect Mulcair, who’s come up through the ranks of the civil service AND provincial politics.

            So things aren’t as much of a mess as last time. But it won’t be easy either. “Turbulence” is a good word for what’s ahead, I think…

          • But your missing some of Wells point – the federalist parties are now more fragmented than ever. It’s an open question as to whether these guys, Harper/Trudeau/Mulcair can put aside their differences, even for the sake of national unity. This has never really happened before. It’s a new variable that might, if we are fortunate, work itself out, but it may not!
            As for Harper in QC not being hated – that’s debatable since his majority. What is clear is that he has lost control of even the sliver of con federalist support he had before 08. That is very likely to be going Trudeau’s way next time. Off the island i presume JT main asset is his relative youth and forward looking personae…maybe more important in a game of inches than you think. I honestly don’t know what role Mulcair will play since his parties position in QC is considerably conflicted without much traction in the RoC at all…maybe even a liability?

          • I do not have a high opinion of Justin Trudeau or Thomas Mulcair in the federal political arena, but I have no doubt that when it’s actually a serious crisis, these leaders would rally ’round.

            Mulcair would be on the federalist side, as would Trudeau, as would (in a low-key way, so as not to put off lefty Quebeckers) Harper.

            For example: there was a bunch of political idiocy over Ukraine when it was just a matter of reacting to the (apparently successful) Maidan; now that there’s a serious crisis, the three leaders are taking it seriously and Parliament is reacting responsibly.

          • Afraid we have to disagree there. Not a lot of votes in the Ukraine to be had during the 15 election…bit different in QC. I will concede though that Harper being somewhat marginalized might lead him to put principle before politics for a change this time, since he hasn’t a lot to lose politically. Mulcair though is in a different position entirely. But if he should put the interests of Canada before the interests of the ndp in 15 my opinion of him will rise. Trudeau just has to be Trudeau come referendum time. His may be in some ways the easiest road.

          • Tories can win back the 5 Quebec City seats, but that’s all. 10-seat ceiling in that province for Team Blue. Mulcair and Trudeau have the other 65 seats to fight over between them. As a Tory, I’ll pop popcorn and sit and watch them.

            I don’t like the QC nationalist bent to NDP QC policy, but I do not doubt that their leader will be on the federalist team come the referendum.

        • Really about economics of depenacy on other peoples money. Quebec has been on provincial welfare for 57 years. No one in Quebec knows the last time Quebec was a contributor to Canada. Just emroiled in anti-business, tax greed, other peoples money for nothing but statism waste. So wrapped up in arrogance, denial….I doubt it will change until it is forced to.

          Until then, the west gets over taxed for Quebec and now Ontario provincial welfare.

      • Marois will not win another referendum?????????

        tattered federalist forces?????

        warm myself at your burn barrel?????????

        Drunk again????????

        • Spam x4 = trash…delete gonzo!
          Easy peasy.

        • Your question mark key is stuck, BB.

      • Nothing in Wells post. I was talking about polls. AFAIK polls show support somewhere between 30 and 40%. Wells did not talk about polls. If polls show support for independence in the 30s, the PQ cannot win an election. They need to raise that number, one way or the other. No doubt they will try, but until they are successful raising that number, they will not commit to a referendum.

        • Let’s hope the polls are right then and that a vote for this odious charter doesn’t = a vote for leaving. There’s bound to be some momentum for the PQs though in any event.

    • 41% as of January

      • OK, this is news to me. That number is higher than I would expect.

        • I don’t blame you. The number is usually lower when stated in english media, even though the pollsters make em in both languages with the same numbers

    • More like 42-44% as of today.

    • Do they favour actual, unadulterated independence, or some vague term that can be taken to mean the best of both worlds?

      • The latter — there is literally nothing actual, logical, or coherent in the separatist playbook.

      • Yes, there was a reason for the clarity act. They’ll probably ignore the clarity act.

        • The question in the upcoming Scottish referendum is the epitomy of clarity. Hopefully, any future Quebec referendum would be too.

          This is the question that will be put to Scottish people. It could not get any clearer.

          “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

    • Who predicted the NDP sweep last Federal election? Who predicted that the last referendum would come down to a nose because of a charismatic guy with a cane?

      Canada has changed in many ways since the last referendum, predominantly because of the rise of the west. Quebec no longer central in any federal party’s plans for winning an election. Possibly in a search for relevance, but not power.

      Another factor that I would give serious thought to is the fact that in a closed room in whispers, most Quebec NDP and even Justin would prefer a left leaning Quebec than a Canada with an entrenched Conservative majority. The real danger is the vigorous pro Canada campaign would alienate the rest of Canada. How that would play in a referendum would be interesting and dangerous.

      Consider how the voters outside of Quebec would respond to a Justin Trudeau, or a Mulcair who promises the world to Quebec at the expense of everyone else in his self appointed role as Captain Canada. The only hope would be that the important journalists who cover the story and happen to be bilingual forget how to translate what he says into english.

      Harper has no leverage because he cannot, and I suspect will not tax the rest of Canada to buy a province that doesn’t vote for him anyways.

      • I agree no MSM predicted the NDP sweep in Quebec, but that has more to do with the blindness of the MSM and the misunderstanding of the Quebec mindset – they are a fickle bride and thought that there would be a minority government and that the NDP would hold the balance of power. Quebec voters wanted to control that balance. Unfortunately the MSM forgot that you don’t need Quebec anymore to win a majority federal election. AND in the 2015 election that will be even more true given the redistribution of seats.
        I suspect that at some level the PQ know that and will use the referendum as a sword over ROC heads to get more deals. Trudeau and Muclair will likely fall for that (they have already indicated that Quebec is special), but ROC will not. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if there is a credible movement to have a NATIONAL referendum on letting Quebec stay in confederation. That is something I could get behind.

      • Easy, it was a protest vote. Modern media is not the CBC brainwashing, but the Internet media. It allowed a mass of people to strategically vote out the cronies, the non-performers all talk no action types.

        Heck, even a non-local bartender that no one int he ridding met won a NDP MP seat while she was in Vegas not even following the election. Tells me the Quebecers were so ticked at Liberals and Conservatives they just sent a clear message that they are garbage parties of statism.

        If Liberals and Conservative want more Quebec, and more votes like mine, they will have to talk less and deliver more positive results.

        Because the reality is NDP/Lib/Cons do not represent the people who make this country work. Its all about deception, PR, lots of idle talk and false hope promises never kept, to put a bloated governemtn in a good light to get more of our money and do less and less for it. And the more governemtn gets, the less we have to spend on each others jobs.

        NDP got elected as a protest vote. If Liberals and Conservatives don’t smarten up, and deliver something better than more taxes, devalued money and rising costs….might as well vote NDP.

        I am a small C conservative, I might vote NDP in the next election as a protest as I know Harper, my MP doesn’t represent small c conservatism or my values. “Trust” lies, bank bailouts, corporate/union welfare, inflated contracts….none of this is conservatism.

        Conservatives wonder why their support is diminishing, its because people like me realize they are just another statism party of government greed, lies, deceit and get nothign tangible done to improve Canada.

    • The way the PQ has been raising the yes numbers is by attrition. The exodus of anglos for greener pastures is part of their plan to get rid of ‘No’ voters. The separatists are like the Tea Party in the States, in that they are scorched-earth: they’d rather ruin the province in order to “save” it.

      • No, there is no similarity between the tea party and the separatists. The tea party is trying to return to the constitution. The tea party is against change, the tea party is not against the status quo. The tea party is against ballooning deficits, increased government control and regulation, giant stimulus bills, and so on. The separatists want to ignore the charter. The separatists are against the status quo.

        The tea party would rather save the country from ruin than allow the country to be ruined by American liberals who want to change everything.

        Separatists have far more similarity to American liberals. And it’s not a surprise, the PQ happens to be a leftist party at the same time they are a separatist party.

        So your comparison is ridiculous.

        • Wrong. Tea Party is about constitution and on that you are right, but its about real conservatism and economic liberty. Taxes were never meant for bailouts, inflated contracts, corporate/bank/union welfare, war mongering waste….and ethics…as printing money for debt is fraud….only legal as the corrupt governments do it.

          Tea Party came from dumping tea in the Boston harbor in tax protest. A more centric libertarian view that you should pay your bills without governemtn generational debt, less governemtn so people have more jobs to employ each other…..a economic liberty for the people who make the country work. Taxes should be for common good, and not uncommon good.

          But also agree here, Quebec separatists are not Tea Party like, too many years has Quebec lived on provincial welfare transfer payments to pay their bills. This isn’t Tea Party anything.

  3. “So while any part of this chain of supposition could be flawed or
    simply overtaken by events, I’m inclined to think we’re heading for

    I put off going to bed in order to finish reading this…i wish i hadn’t
    Turbulence…that’s an understatement…is it to be the turbulence of a passing truck, or the turbulence of a tornado?

  4. Harper is definitely the dream opponent for the separatists. If they’re serious about trying again, they’d want it to be against him.

    • Stay on topic! This is about a referendum on seperation, not Harper! Can’t we ban this commenter, all he does is turn threads into attacks against Harper.

      Not being serious of course. Just having a look at the shoe on the other foot. My goodness, imagine banning commenters who turned threads into anti Harper rants, this place would be empty.
      No, Harper is a big boy and he can sustain the weight of scrutiny (free speech preeminance aside). As for Justin? Its no wonder his supporters continuously seek to police comments against him. It’s the same reason all totalitarian thugs need to. The light cast by the free flow of facts and ideas tend to show very critical faults unhelpful to the fictional excellence of their dear leader. In the instant case the only real response to pointing out the overwhelming shallowness of our political Paris Hilton is to cry “shut up”. Sadly much of the partisan media self-police, eagerly avoiding the elephant in the room – that the “chosen one” makes Sarah Palin look like JFK. (The brutal treatment of Sarah Palin as an airhead can give you some indication of what the media would be doing to Justin if he were a conservative, particularly given that Justin’s credentials are vastly inferior to Palin who actually accomplished something).

      I wonder if characterizing the very true facts about Justin come election time (as the CPC will surely do with their massive warchest) as “attacks” will lessen their impact? I’m thinking not.

      • Hi Biff!

        Actually, (and I know you know this), talking about Harper’s ability to defeat a referendum is right on topic.

        I had to stop reading your nonsense about Trudeau at about word #3 – but then again, it is likely the same stuff you always write, and it is certainly off topic, untrue and boring, so why waste my time?

        Anyhoo, I digress, GFMD is certainly correct that Harper is Marois best shot at winning a referendum. Which, of course, is why people are so worried.

        But you can go ahead and spin fairy tales about the man who will bring Harper down. Go ahead, demonstrate once again how very much aware you are of the threat Trudeau poses Harper. The rest of us will focus on the real issues facing this country.

        • I had to stop reading your nonsense about Trudeau at about word #3 – but then again, it is likely the same stuff you always write, and it is certainly off topic, untrue and boring, so why waste my time?

          Ironically, whenever I see Charles post something, there’s a 100% chance that Gayle not only responds, but is the first to respond to his posts. Why is that, despite your assertions that his comments aren’t worth your time?

          • Care to point out, other than skipping by it is possible to rebut his tripe without actually commenting? The written word being the communications medium still being the only option available i’m pretty sure? It isn’t irony at all. It’s necessity;otherwise Biffer’s screeds stand as unpaid advertising.

          • Do we have to respond to every comment that we disagree with? At what point does commenting on a blog cross the line into obsession? Do you really not see the irony in dismissing someone’s comments as irrelevant and not worth your while, and then devoting a not-insignificant amount of time replying to each and every one of their comments?

            A simple “thumbs-down” (or, I guess I should say, “down arrow”) is a quick way to voice disagreement.

            As for “unpaid advertising,” I think you put too much stock in the impact that any commenter on these boards has in shaping others’ opinions, or selling any particular message/p.o.v.

            (And why do you call him Biff? My best guess is that it’s a reference to either Death of a Salesman or Back to the Future.)

          • Charles is the resident expert on obsession, so you’ll have to ask him that one.
            Fair enough, don’t feed the trolls is still valid advise.
            I guess you haven’t been around long enough to have had the full measure of Charles/Biff/Kody/chet…these are his past identities that we know of. No way of knowing how often he appears here as guest of course. I’ve seen Wells kick him off for diving at least once or twice and or pull his comments, which really got under Biffers skin.Additionally he pretty much outed him by informing the blog it was Biff’s job to be here. I guess PW’s given up on the blog now.
            On the plus side Charles has learned the art of brevity. Five years ago it was common to see whole threads full of his vogon poetry.They were often hilarious in a twisted sort of way. I quite miss those days myself. I doubt anyone else does.

          • Charles and Gayle sittin’ in a tree…..

          • Actually, i am not always the first to respond, though I do try. Too many people engage him, and it allows him to hijack the thread. Calling him out and/or mocking him tends to do the opposite.

            I am not the only one who calls him out.

        • I had to stop reading your nonsense about Trudeau at about word #3

          That’s unfortunate. You missed the part where he called Trudeau a totalitarian thug. That was classic.

          • Darn!

      • Yah, lets ban the commenter for turning threads into attacks against Harper.

        While you’re at it, you may as well ban the ones that turn threads into attacks against Justin Trudeau or Thomas Mulclair. You know, like you just did.

        • Don’t help him falsely equivocate the two — that’s what he’s trying to do.

          As Gayle points out, there’s a difference between bringing Mr. Harper’s actions (or lack thereof) on an issue into a conversation when he actually has the power to make an effect on the issue of conversation and bringing unrelated activities of Mr. Trudeau or Mr. Mulcair into the conversation.

          • And Harper’s popularity or lack of it is actually relevent.

      • Says the man who never shuts about about Trudeau…my bad i stopped reading at 77th word, 7th line. I do believe you are a bit of malware, not a person at all.
        Nobody could be so reliably tedious, repetitive or galatically thick, could they?

      • oddly enough, i almost didn’t post because I was afraid it was too close to what mr. wells had said already.

    • Yes, before the 2011 election when Harper was awarded absolute power on 40% of the vote, pundits had declared separatism dead. Harper is the separatists’ best friend.

  5. Seperation, being a flawed idea, will only be hurt by the easy entrance into the idea marketplace. We don’t need idea gatekeepers on this issue.

  6. 8. A large and influential neighbour who might be even less interested in making its opinion known in a referendum.

  7. Quebec is:
    (1) Socialist
    (2) Mainly run by an elite that has no concern for the regular people.
    (3) Corrupt

    The average Quebec voter needs to be well informed that things will get a lot worse for them if they vote to go on their way.

    Everyone thinks we are stronger with Quebec;
    (1) Do we need to be more socialist?
    (2) Do we need more elites running us?
    (3) Do we need their corruption?
    (4) Do we need them taking 3 times as much in federal dollars as they put in?
    (5) Quebec people vote NDP or Liberal or Separatist so if we didn’t have to count their votes in a federal election we could be sure of a much more mature Conservative political landscape.

    We need to point out to the Quebec voters the consequences of their childish whining and either get WITH US or GET OUT and bear the consequences.

    As Canadians we should NEVER let anyone with Quebec roots negotiate for Canada.

    • Seriously? This is your response?

      Actually, I am pretty sure the “average Quebec voter” is well aware that people like you think stuff like this. What, you think if you go there and say you think things will be worse for them if they separate they are going to suddenly say “hey! I never thought of that!”. That has been the argument for a very loooong time.

      • The problem in the past is Prime Ministers with Quebec roots have paid up the ransom and blackmail to Quebec and Quebec thinks they are entitled.
        Many of us in the Rest of Canada fear another Prime Minister with Quebec roots who will give the “home” province more candy.

        Sometimes children need “tough love”

    • 1. Gratuitously insulting Quebec isn’t productive.
      2. In the event of a Yes vote, other politicians knew that already in 1995 — see Brian Tobin’s interview in the documentary “Breaking Point”. They’d have formed a new government because Chretien couldn’t have negotiated on behalf of the rest of Canada.
      3. If Quebec leaves under a given party’s government, that party becomes the party that lost the country, and it won’t survive in its present form.


      4. Quebec isn’t leaving. Quebecers don’t actually want to leave.

      • Insulting the Rest Of Canada is not productive either.
        We are tired of the childish behaviour coming from Quebec.
        Yes we have corruption in the rest of Canada but no even close to the level corruption exists in Quebec. The construction industry and SNC Lavalin stand out as examples of corruption that has been accepted by Prime Ministers with Quebec roots – Trudeau, Mulroney and Chretien.
        Especially the Liberal party of Canada has been turning a blind eye to Quebec corruption for a very long time. SNC Lavalin has earned a world class corruption title.
        When Quebec gets rid of their ultra high acceptance of Corruption we in the rest of Canada are likely to be more accepting.
        There is a difference between hating corruption and hating Quebec.

        At present those who hate corruption will have a hard time to love Quebec.

    • Quebec is:
      (1) having the strongest growth among provinces that don’t produce oil;
      (2) run by an elite just like the rest of the country
      (3)investigation corruption, rather than keeping it hidden.
      You live in a dream world to think that corruption is specific to Quebec.
      Quebec roots are Canadian roots.

    • Ah, so that’s your ultimatum then is it? Vote Conservative or get out! Brilliant! Genius! Let’s all go home then! You have it under control.

  8. I just find it ironic, that the PQ wants to do all it can to not integrate and assimilate into English North American culture is about to launch a campaign that touts its Charter of Values that essentially forces people to integrate into their culture.

    • It’s not ironic at all, it is common in this kind of deliberate nationalism, based on the idea that the separatist Quebecois actually believe themselves to be some kind of race.

      You’re right though that it is totally illogical, as is the assertion that Canada is divisible but Quebec is indivisible.

  9. We don’t need to overwhelm Quebec with our love. But telling
    Quebec it’s evil and stupid is, well, evil and stupid.

    • Oh but someone has to tell them the facts of life…how they’re a blood sucking leech on the arse end of AB the good, and a wart on the financial and societal face of Canada the fair…oops, too late. Eric is already here.

  10. So as. Someone said recently on the radio, Who is goin to wear the Captain Canada. Jersey?

    • Apology. Tried to use a new tabletty thing!

      • I kind of liked it. I read it in William Shatner’s voice.

    • “So as. Someone said recently on the radio, Who is goin to wear the Captain Canada. Jersey?”

      Probably no one this time, sadly. No one with real authority anyway.[ the kid is still pretty green even if his credentials are blue chip]
      Isn’t it like to be a 3 or 4 way squabble with everyone wearing the A on the jersy, but no one having the C?
      On the bright side[as PW points out] this time there will be less gate keepers, which is likely to be both a negative but hopefully also a plus. It may be that it will take many voices urging caution and reason that gets QC to stay for now?

    • Nobody did in 1995. Chretien remained silent throughout. Paul Martin was somewhat more active, but still not leading the charge. Maybe QC Liberal Leader at the time (Daniel Johnson was it?), but he was hardly a Captain Canada.

    • Sidney Crosby. Duh.

  11. When the separatist govt cant balance a budget, takes $16billion a year more out of Canada then it puts in, Quebec is totally dependent on the ROC and cant go it alone
    And then there is the biggest impediment to Quebecers having their own country, First Nations land claims

    • I think we were warned about you in PW’s post.

  12. Im just curios, who does the cons and the dippers support in the Quebec election ? I guess they wouldn’t dare say. With the hate that harper has for Trudeau and the liberals, I wouldn’t be surprised if harper hopes the libs looses(he would never say public though, but I bet he thinks it). The cons and the dippers don’t even have a provincial party set up in Quebec, their not even players in this.

    • I’m a conservative. I’m for the parties that don’t want to break up the country.

      The Quebec Liberals are fine; I liked Jean Charest. The CAQ amuses me — Legault’s statement “we accept that we are Canadian”. It’s grudging, but I’ll take it.

      Either of those win, great. The PQ is a bunch of bigots and tends to be on the left these days (Parizeau being gone), so the heck with them.

      • But it does raise the question of who speaks for conservatives within QC at the moment. Is it in fact the QLP that speaks for all federalists at the provincial level? That’s a lot of eggs in one basket at a time when the federal voice in QC is very faint.
        I liked Charest too, he was a strong leader who went out on a bad note. Right now the leadership of the Liberals looks rather shaky. It’s a worry. Hopefully Couillard can up his game.

        • Max Bernier on broad policy issues, when he’s not free-lancing.
          Denis Lebel, when we’re dealing with municipal bread-and-butter issues.

          And who knows, maybe one party or the other can persuade Charest to get back into federal politics. He’s still a relatively young man for a politician. :p

          • I second that last point.I imagine Charest knows about social media?
            And maybe there’s a wild card we are overlooking. As per this article, some of the grandees of PQ who take issue with this charter will put principle before other dreams and we may see a few more tacks on the road to a majority than the lady anticipated riding over?

      • Thank you for your rational reply, but i still feel that Tom and Steve are out in the cold provincially in Quebec. they are only spectators in this election. If the liberals win in the election provincially it would boost the name brand across the country, even though i know fed and provincial parties don’t always work good together, but if they win, liberals will be in power in 5 of the 10 provinces, so i guess the liberal brand is not gone completely like conservative pundits and talking heads have been trying to say for the past 8 years. The Liberal Brand is very alive and well.

        • Tom has an issue with his caucus (a bunch are happy to vote for separatists because they’re on the left).

          Steve is a spectator, sure, but he’d still vastly prefer to deal with Phillippe or Francois after the election. This’ll be the fourth Quebec provincial election during his time as PM. Nothing new there. (Legault would be interesting, just to shake things up, but he seems to be crashing and burning just now.)

          As for party brand, they tend to work in opposition to who’s in power in Ottawa. Pierre Trudeau had to deal with, what, seven Tory or other conservative (SoCred, etc.) premiers during his last term?

          The only real federal political strategic element I see at play here is “how does this affect Ontario”? If there’s a separatist threat, do Upper Canadians prefer having a Trudeau in power? Or does it matter to them anymore?

          • French citizen Thomas Mulcair’s caucus are mostly happy to vote for separatists not because they’re on the left, but because they are basically separatists themselves. Just look at their policies: attacks on the Clarity Act, guaranteeing Quebec 25% of seats in the Commons forever, extending Bill 101 into federal administration in Quebec.

  13. Rest of Canada should be allowed to have a referendum to see if we want Quebec to remain part of our country. Hillbillies from Que are embarrassing, bring down tone of the neighbourhood with their ethnic nationalism. I have long been curious to know what exactly have francophones done to make them think they are superior human beings.

    • And slapping Royal all over everything and plastering pics of her maj all over the place in a sovereign country, isn’t just a wee bit ethnocentirc? Entirely different goal of course. No one is actually trying to actively promote singular British root cultural values any more, or suggesting we assimilate…unless you happen to be FNs.

    • Hint: Not accepting other people’s assertions that you’re inferior does not mean you think you’re superior.

      • Pure laine are not egalitarians, which is the problem.

    • Aha! You must be that “one idiot” to whom PW was referring in his blog. Compared to the “Hillbillies” you so arrogantly dismiss, you prolly think you’re pretty sofiskated and intilleckshul ’cause you know how to cut and paste irrelevant quotes into comment boards.

      • You say idiot, I say Captain Canada. Nominate me for Captain Canada role in next referendum and I will sort out the Que question that so vexes the nation. My heart is pure, my cause is just.

        • What’ll you do, overwhelm les Quebecois with pithy quotes from Bartlett’s en deux langues?

  14. No mention by Paul Wells of Montreal’s new mayor, who also happens to be a former Liberal MP and federalist. This means either A) Wells believes Coderre (and Montreal in general?…) won’t play much of a role in a referendum, or B) Wells ran out of space before getting to Coderre.

    In either case, it would be nice to know how Wells sees Coderre’s role in all this.

    • Every day Mayor Coderre runs Montreal’s administration well, I am surprised and grateful. He’s had a lot of good days so far. As a rule of thumb, most of Quebec would do the opposite of what any Montreal mayor asked them to.

      • If there are no good elected officials to lead the no “charge” does this suggest an opening for a Captain Canada comeback at the federal, provincial or even civic level?

  15. I find the reference to social media being the new wild card a concern[ although it is important to remember that cuts both ways] In any new referendum it isn’t likely to be such a clear cut or binary choice in terms of input. You can’t keep the wild cards mute as with Harper in 95[ who asked him to sit, Chretien or the no committee? News to me] and with pet actually who Chretien would not let near a mic, possibly wisely by then? This time the wild card may be those voices, particularly in the west who will be more inclined to wire QCers the bus fare out of town, rather than ask them to take their boots off and sit a while, or just grumble about higher taxes, equalization payments and corruption, before going back to the Hockey game[ i mean have you watched a flames vs oilers game lately?] There’s both the opportunity and maybe the incentive to have your say on QC now more than ever. And please stay or not i don’t care that much either way may be not the only voice heard in the room from the hinter lands of Canada?

  16. Separatism has never been a rational objective; it’s romanticism, an emotional position. We’ve tried fighting it with our own romantic narrative of a united, bilingual Canada. Unfortunately, generations of Quebec separatist governments have managed to grind away at the Canadian nationalist narrative such that it lost a lot of its power in Quebec. Fortunately, the objective effects of PQ economic & legal policies have become more apparent over the same time period. The province is an economic wreck compared to the western parts of Canada, and an insular business & political culture has become riddled with corruption. As anybody knows, nothing kills romance faster than a discussion of finances! It’s hard to predict which way things will tilt, but pocketbook issues tend to win the day, particularly in tough economic times.

    As far as the effectiveness of the “no” side in a referendum, I’d submit that a federal government whose power base lies outside of Quebec is going to be able to take a harder line against Quebec separatists than previous Liberal governments. The Conservatives can’t play the romantic Canadian nationalist strategy, but they’re in one heck of a position to play the hardline economic rationalist strategy.

    • No matter who is in the PM’s chair then (I expect it to be Harper), the No campaign will be a team effort.

      As it was in 1995, and in 1980.

  17. Harper does not want to be the PM that lost a Quebec Referendum. He will change his policies and tone by 180 degrees to win.

    Just look at his almost maniacal desire to destroy the Liberal Party. He has lied, cheated, and changed the rules to do so. He risked losing power during the Coalition business to try and nail the Liberal coffin shut. He will completely change his spots in order not to lose a Quebec Referendum. He will even quit as PM in order to do so.

    • I highly doubt that Harper would care if the separatists won. If you remove Quebec from the electoral equation, the Liberals and NDP become fringe parties and Canada would be rock-solid Conservative for the foreseeable future.

      • That electoral math is indeed true. However, I don’t think Harper, or any PM from any party, would survive after losing a referendum.

  18. Not to minimize the potential gravity of the situation PW presents here, it’s worth remembering that nationalism has waxed and waned in Quebec continuously since 1759 and had some pretty ardent support periodically throughout the 19th century. It will never totally subside and requires constant negotiation, even periodic appeasement, if Canada in its present configuration is to endure.

    It literally comes with the territory.

  19. I will say this positive point about Quebec, they understand that politicians are like diapers. Once on too long they all begin to stink so change often.

    But I don’t see anything wrong with a minority government federally or provincially, as it prevents the term dictator effect and is more democratic.

    It just seems to work better with a minority governments as not one party represents all Candains other than to tax us more and inflate our costs for their buddies. Makes the winning party have to work to keep in power…and not just run off on a tangent with other peoples money for their favorites.

    I like minority governments. As one think this small c conservative has learned about Harper, is how nonconservative the Conservatives are, they should be called the Religious Right Statism Party of Canada.

    There is actually very little difference between any parties, they all want more of our money so we have less to spend on each others jobs, they all want big government with no regard to efficiency, effectiveness, economics and accountability. The all pander, make promises to never be kept as to bait us with false hope of it getting better. Its just a sales job to con us out of money that goes for mostly uncommon good.

    But with minority governments, they seem to compete a bit and better represent the people who make this country work. Minority governments are not term dictator governments.

  20. Given the provincial NDP in Quebec are insignificant, clearly the federal NDP Quebec vote was a protest vote.

    Reality is Ottawa doesn’t work for the citizens of this country that make Canada work. So many years of Ottawa/Quebec government economic statism depression, corruption in mafia driving high taxes and low benefits has left people angry enough to vote NDP and change provincial parties.

    Borrowing from Einstein, voting the same way expecting better results is insanity. I think Quebec voters could be waking up…and realizing they want better choices. I just wish the west would wake up like this.

    I live in Alberta, and I support separation. If you want real changes, you have to vote for change. Politicians are like diapers, if they stink, change them diapers. And do it as often as term dictatorship democracy allows until we get some real leadership and not just statism false hope.

  21. Pingback: Media Bites: Canadians Might Not Ask Quebec to Stay This Time | RUBOU: more news. more often.

  22. I’m in!
    Only one person to wear Captain Canada jersey. Yes he’s green. Can we see Brad Wall from Premiers. I say I hope so. All we got from that bunch.
    But then maybe a big majority of Canadians will say who cares, shrug and turn away. The nineties along time ago. Not expecting very much will be the same as way back then.