Interpreting the Election Results: Is Quebec Still a Part of Canada?

 Tariq Jeeroburkhan

May 5, 2011 – Despite four years of uninclusive and undemocratic decision making, or perhaps because of it, the Conservative Party now has a majority government and were the clear winners of Canada’s latest general election.

The night before the election every NDP and Green supporter vowed to prevent a Harper majority from happening – The day after the election Harper has his majority, and not one NDP or Green supporter cares because the NDP won over 100 ridings and Elizabeth May won her seat.

The election results keep everybody happy, and even the Liberals, who will be destined to fight amongst themselves to revive their party, have to be glad that at least they didn’t fare as poorly as the Bloc Quebecois.

The reality is that the Conservatives now have a majority government with a weaker opposition to their agenda. The leash has been removed from Harper while the opposition are either too caught up in personal victories or bemoaning their personal defeats to seem to care about the big picture future of this country.

The big picture indicates that a Conservative agenda dictating Canadian policy for the next five years will cause an even further decline in this country’s international reputation, while domestically; the rotation of the political landscape in Quebec represents a possible slide as well.

Basically, Quebec opposition to the Conservatives switched their vote from the Bloc Quebecois to the NDP – which accounted for the ‘orange wave’ in the province. Clearly, this had more to do with uniting to oppose a common enemy in conservative policy, rather than anything the NDP did to garner those votes themselves. In fact, it is precisely what the Bloc Quebecois refused to do – take a lead in the direction of Canadian policy as opposed to simply maintaining a Quebec status quo – which accounted for the change in Quebecers’ mentality within federal politics; the NDP being the main beneficiary of this switch as the Liberal party in Quebec is still feeling the negative effects from the corruption findings of the Gomery Commission in 2006.

Now the irony within Quebec is that despite Quebecers removing their support from a party with Nationalist/Separatist sentiment and placing our faith in a party with a proven Federalist track record, Quebec has never been more on the outside looking in. Even under the Liberal governments of Trudeau, the Canadian government in Ottawa has never been more under-represented from this province then the current majority Conservatives are today.

A friend of mine on facebook observed – we now have a Canadian majority government with 0 Quebec support. Quebec representation in the House will be comprised of Vegas vacationers, ‘des poteaux’, unilingual Anglos and McGill Daily writers.

Will it be much longer before we see a rebirth of Quebec nationalism? Separatist Pauline Marois will be here in 2 years, my facebook friend concludes.

There is also another possible direction for Quebec, which is a much more likely scenario if the NDP ‘orange wave’ does turn out to be comprised of nothing more than political opportunists and Vegas riff-raff looking for expense accounts. The NDP candidate in Berthier-Maskinonge, for example, doesn’t speak French and has been AWOL since she won the election by 6000 votes in a riding she had never been to. Apparently, she spent part of her campaign drumming up support on a Las Vegas vacation and hasn’t been seen since. Granted, a lot depends on the Liberal Party’s ability to re-configure and re-apply itself as a party of relevance within the province – however, Quebec can be a province where the Conservatives can add seats to their majority in the next election. The next five years will determine who will get Quebecers’ support in the next election, and if no one deserves it – Quebecers themselves will revive the Bloc!

The most important thing for Federal politicians to understand is that given the fact that Quebec ridings that were 60% francophone still voted for predominately English NDP candidates – Quebecers are currently prepared to prioritize a social agenda over language differences – 5 years of neglect from the Conservatives in Ottawa or from their own NDP representatives and the window for change that we have today may no longer be open.


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Filed under Canadian Politics, Community Rights, Media Coverage, Political Accountability

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