Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Quebecers seem to have the most cunning voters around. Back in 1999 they managed to elect a PQ government but give the Liberals more total votes to spook the separatists and postpone any referendum plans. And now this year they managed as best they could to say 'wow, we aren't particularly impressed by any of you' and divide up the vote 32%, 31% and 28% between the Liberals, the Action Democratique and the PQ.
This means that there probably won't be another referendum in the next decade or so, and separatism may lose its place as the baton people grip when they feel alienated and marginalized.
Unfortunately that position may have been replaced by a weird right-wing protest vote that will bring some pretty borderline candidates into the legislature in positions to hold the government hostage if they want to.
The one thing the two main parties in Quebec have agreed on in the last 30 years is on an over-archingly socialist model for governing. That there was this backlash coalescing behind the ADQ in Quebec City and in rural Quebec that was mainly a resentment of the dominance of Montreal in Quebec culture that was picked up by right-wing radio in Quebec City and Mario Dumont sensed it and played to it very deftly.
What is worrying now is whether the former federal Conservative Party leader, Jean Charest, who may owe his political life to a gigantic budgetary bribe from his former federal party, might see the writing on the wall and realize he needs to co-opt the right-wing ADQ and bring them into a coalition against the solidly socialist PQ, and start slashing taxes (something he was critiziced for not doing in his term in power) and allowing the ADQ to play to cultural (perhaps even racial) isolationist feelings rather than be so focused on just the language aspect.
If I was Stephen Harper I'd call an election in the next six weeks, this huge protest vote in Quebec shows that the Bloc could be taken down in the PQ's wake, and that Quebecers might be ready to vote for the Conservatives again.