Catching up to Quebec

Posted 04.21.13

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Of all the commentaries about the Quebec election -- and there are no end to them --we learn a great deal about the parties, their strategies, and their missteps. What we don't see are comments on the people who made the difference here -- the voters.

Couillard, Marois, Legault, David, and the dozen or so other party leaders, all had their roles, and played them well or not, according to each commentator's view. What role did the voters play? What agenda were they following? What was the voters' real message to the politicians -- and to the other voters, to other Canadians, to other politicians?

Quebec's voters have been impressive. No holding your noise and voting, here! They have shown a remarkable independence of mind, not something Anglophone commentators can recognize. They have not followed the polls (like sheep), although the party strategists certainly have done so -- usually to their loss.

We saw the implosion of the Bloc Quebecois -- which the polls were not predicting, until the last week. Quebec voters had dutifully supported the Bloc out of patriotism, but even patriotism has its best-before-date, and after years of nothing gained via the Bloc, Quebec voters ended the romance.

They ended it intelligently. Rather than rush to the opposite side of the canoe, as most of Canada does, Quebecers opted for a non-sovereigntist party but one which still held dear its social democratic values, as the Bloc had done. Quebec is socially conscious -- from cheaper tuition, to daycare, to innovations like the GMFs in health, Quebec has not been tranquilized by promises of "jobs" or "economic rebirth", or the other neo-conservative mantras that our media owners support.

Quebecers turfed the Bloc and gave the NDP one of the biggest boosts of its life.

Next up was Mr. Charest and the Liberals -- eyes glued only to the polls. The polls said the public supported Charest over the student protestors. He decided he could ride the student issue with a snap election and sidestep his other problems. The voters ignored those polls; Mr. Charest lost his job unceremoniously.

Next was Mme. Marois, also hypnotized by the polls. They said the voters would support them and their Charter against the spectre of non-Christian immigrants. The PQ followed the polls over the cliff. Mme. Marois lost her job, unceremoniously. The voters had failed to read the polls.

It could be said that Quebec's voters are not particularly thoughtful (as I am saying they are), but rather that they are particularly angry. They are so fed up, this explanation goes, they will vote down any status quo -- because the status quo in Quebec stinks. Maybe, and maybe this is part of voting shift.

They'd now vote out Mr. Couillard, too, given the opportunity. He has a brief time to prove his abilities.

All this is very refreshing and encouraging for the future.

Now, if we could only get the rest of Canada up to speed with Quebec.


Copyright © 2014 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/04.14