Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Three thoughts on the Quebec election

I provide these without links (and with apologies):

1.) It is unclear to me exactly why this outcome advantages Harper. The argument being advanced this morning is that this shows that there is a stronger conservative sentiment in Quebec than we knew about a day ago. And this sentiment is particularly tied to social values, concerns about the family, and concerns about immigration. But can Harper really hit hard on those issues in Quebec (especially reasonable accomodation) and not pay an electoral cost in the rest of the country, especially among the visible minorities he is so assiduously courting?
2.) You can call Dumont Le Pen if you like, but what last night's result shows is that when mainstream parties fail to address the concerns of a large part of the population - that is, when they fail to lead on those concerns and to set the agenda - then more marginal forces can grab a hold and make them a winning issue. It's a heresthetic (look it up), and it worked masterfully for Dumont, particularly because the other parties were not proactive.
3.) Boisclair is obviously done. And this hurts Charest. While I think he can hold on, it is made marginally more difficult by the fact that the PQ will soon be without a leader. If disgruntled Liberals can throw Charest over the side fast enough they can elect a new leader and premier - perhaps finding him at a Jean Talon market - while the new PQ leader is still finding his feet (or his way back from Ottawa).

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Peter,

About the latter part of your entry, I don't believe that the Liberals may find a new leader at Jean-Talon market, but it is likely that they may in Jean-Talon (Philippe Couillard) district! However, it is unclear for me that Charest will leave or not. We will see. It is clearer that Boisclair will have to resign within the forthcoming weeks or a couple of months.

A paper written by Andre Perrella and me has been published last week. For your interest:

http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20070322/CPSOLEIL/70321110/5287/

Fred

Neo Conservative said...

"peter said... not pay an electoral cost in the rest of the country, especially among the visible minorities"

peter, i think maybe you need to tune up your proposition here.

i'll oversimplify (well, maybe hyperbole is a better term) for purposes of illustration, but you'll get the sense of it.

it's a fallacy that this situation is a zero sum equation... pitting visible minorities against, well... people who would normally support harper. i submit that most muslim immigrant dads are way more socially conservative than most of the right-wing farmers in this neighbourhood, especially, for example, when it comes to their teenage daughters going out on a date.

i'm not suggesting this was your intent, but it's the type of question that paints rural dwellers such as myself as "dumb as dogshit" rednecks and conversely, every urban dweller as a a metrosexual sophisticate.

i think it's only natural that when there is a heightened perception of danger, people, especially families... want a safer, more conservative way of life.

whether the current boogeyman is drugs, aids, crime, financial distress or a threatening foreign idealogy... there seems to be a feeling right now in canada that things are flying apart.

and that will drive a conservative vote.

*

Peter Loewen said...

NC:

Social conservatism isn't really my question. What I am wondering is if Harper can make the same play that Dumont made - which was basically ethnic nationalism - and not lose support in other parts of the country for it.

Leaving the question of the mertis of Dumont's position to the side, I am just sceptical he can do it. But perhaps we shall see,

Jason Bo Green said...

I think it does look good for Harper, this election. If this many Quebecers don't find Dumont 'scary' or whatever, then it's become a wider field to play for Harper (non-French Albertan that he is, granted).

I also think that while Charest sucks, and Quebec mainly recognizes that he sucks, the new federalist option is attractive (in and out of Quebec). Harper's notions of how the federal/provincial governments should work seems to be gaining some popularity, and I do suspect it's going to pay off for him in Quebec. A good number of Quebeckers are content with more power and autonomy for provinces, inside Canada -- that number could make a significant difference seat-wise for Harper. (We'll see in time, obviously - I also thought Cameron Diaz would never work again after The Mask....)

Jason Bo Green said...

It prompts, I just noticed, the suggestion "heresthetic"... now I'm all set.