Join 3,561 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Quebec voters elect first minority provincial government since 1878
March 26, 2007 8:12 PM   Subscribe

Results of tonight's election in Quebec are in. The Quebec Liberal Party has managed just barely to hold onto power in that province, winning a minority government--the first time this has happened in la belle province since...well...since the year the phonograph was first patented. But there's an even bigger story. And that's the apparent collapse of the separatist Parti Québécois vote, in favour of the centre-right Action Démocratique Party, surprising just about everybody other than those who actually live in the province. Here's the breakdown in the vote as of 11:00PM:
Liberal (32.50%) - ADQ (31.19%) - PQ (28.48%). What these results mean for Canada's federal parliament---also in a minority situation---is anyone's guess at this point. The smart money is on Prime Minister Harper calling an early summer election. These results tonight would certainly give him reason to think that Quebec voters are in the mood for change. But like spring weather in these parts, things are quite changeable these days.
posted by runningdogofcapitalism (69 comments total)

 
P.S. Looks like Premier Charest (Quebec Liberal leader) has lost his seat. Bet on him not running in a by-election. Similar fortune awaits André Boisclair, who managed to keep his seat but scared would-be protest voters over to the ADQ in droves. Stick a fork in each of these fellas. They're done.
posted by runningdogofcapitalism at 8:21 PM on March 26, 2007


For those of us who are entirely unfamiliar with Canadian politics, can you please explain the significance of this development?
posted by Afroblanco at 8:42 PM on March 26, 2007


I didn't vote for any of the big three, and sadly Block Pot didn't run a candidate in the Outremont riding.

I expected a liberal minority, but I really didn't expect the ADQ to get 20 seats, let alone 42. Lets hope that Mario Dumont is able to keep his hodge podge of candidates in line.

If Charest had any druthers he'd step down, but he knows he's still got Boisclair licked. No doubt Gilles Duceppe will parachute in as leader of the PQ before the next election.
posted by furtive at 8:46 PM on March 26, 2007


61% of Québecois voters voted for Anybody But The Separatists.
posted by maudlin at 8:46 PM on March 26, 2007


According to the latest numbers, Charest is still in.

Also... not in province, colored surprised.
posted by Kattullus at 8:47 PM on March 26, 2007


My take on it: Quebec is slightly conservative (in Canadian terms), perhaps mainly in terms of fiscal policy (low taxes etc), but seems to not want to break away from Canada anymore, just maybe eat desert at a different table. The ruling party does not have a majority of seats so will have to work awfully hard to get much done. Seems like the leaders of the liberal party failed to make a connect with many voters
posted by edgeways at 8:48 PM on March 26, 2007


There were no marijuana-oriented candidates in my riding so I just didn't bother voting. I couldn't bring myself to vote for any of the assclowns that were on the ballot.

The funny thing is that the Adéquistes really don't have much of a platform, besides the fact that they're neither the Libs nor the Péquistes, so you have to take the ADQ vote as being a sort of "fuck you" from the electorate to the traditional "big 2".
posted by clevershark at 8:49 PM on March 26, 2007


I'm betting many Canadian political watchers are breathing a tad easier.
posted by edgeways at 8:50 PM on March 26, 2007


For those of us who are entirely unfamiliar with Canadian politics, can you please explain the significance of this development?

New boss, same as the old boss.
posted by Deep Dish at 8:50 PM on March 26, 2007


Quebec is slightly conservative (in Canadian terms), perhaps mainly in terms of fiscal policy (low taxes etc)

Think again. We have the highest total taxation in North America.
posted by clevershark at 8:51 PM on March 26, 2007


And I gotta say that any democratic country that can have a third party not only be viable but actually gain power rocks
posted by edgeways at 8:52 PM on March 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


This is a re-aligning election. It means no referendum for a decade, and it means a federal election in weeks.
posted by ewiar at 8:52 PM on March 26, 2007


The Bloc Pot candidate in the riding I'm living in (I'm a student, here from America) is named "Starbuck Leroidurock."

Starbuck The King of Rock.

God, I wish I could have voted for him.
posted by 235w103 at 8:53 PM on March 26, 2007


I didn't know it was the highest clevershark , but I doesn't surprise me, some of the stories I read today said one of the reasons the Lib took such a beating is their failure to lower taxes, which was part of the basis for my comment.
posted by edgeways at 8:54 PM on March 26, 2007


Afroblanco: the short of it is that the leader of the Quebec province was the former leader of the federal conservative party while they were taking a trouncing by the federal liberals. Now the conservative party is in power at the federal level but with a new leader because the former leader became leader of the Quebec provincial liberals (confused yet) but he's still somewhat right leaning. Anyhoo, the Quebec election was seen as a sort of bell weather on the national level because the federal conservatives are in a minority government and so they helped out their former conservative buddy (even though he's now a so called liberal at the provincial level) by giving gobs and gobs of money to the province hopping to increase the conservative standing amongst Quebequers because they desperately need to make inroads in Quebec if they ever want to form a majority government (Quebec is usually a left leaning province) , but not only did it not work quite as planned (the liberals won, but a minority) but the leader didn't even win his seat. Haha!
posted by furtive at 8:54 PM on March 26, 2007


Say, for the Quebecers in the tread, I heard the PQ was saying they would hold another independence referendium if they gained power, seeing as the lost so much power so quickly is this an indication the citizens are tired of this question? Or just of the part in general.
posted by edgeways at 9:01 PM on March 26, 2007


Quebec is slightly conservative (in Canadian terms), perhaps mainly in terms of fiscal policy (low taxes etc)

Bzzzzt. Until this year highest taxes in the country, province funds all daycare so it only costs $7 a day, parents get up to a year of leave (mostly) paid by the gov't, marijuana is all but legal, you can bring your own beer or wine to a lot of the restaurants, one of the three party leaders is openly gay and still got a third of the vote, solid separation of church and state going on fifty years, the list goes on...
posted by furtive at 9:10 PM on March 26, 2007


It's official, Charest stays in.
posted by Kattullus at 9:12 PM on March 26, 2007


There were many, many reasons besides the independence issue which caused the PQ to do so poorly this time around. It was hardly an issue at all, except perhaps at the subliminal level (all the PQ posters had the word "Oui" prominently featured on them without much explanation).

I think that the PQ mostly lost because it's been in complete disarray since the last leadership campaign.
posted by clevershark at 9:14 PM on March 26, 2007


Say, for the Quebecers in the tread, I heard the PQ was saying they would hold another independence referendium if they gained power, seeing as the lost so much power so quickly is this an indication the citizens are tired of this question? Or just of the part in general.

A referendum was mostly held up as fear mongering by the Liberals, with the PQ obviously ready to take advantage of any majority to start pushing a referendum, but not right away (the "conditions" aren't anywhere near 51% right now). I think Boisclair was hoping to rally the youth separatist movement (which is usually quite strong) except he didn't hit it off really well with the students (stingy on money, referred to Asian students as "slanted eyes") even though he's really young himself. But yeah, Separation isn't high on the list these days... environment, taxes, daycare were. Charest said he'd cut taxes, had 4 years to do it and didn't, then needed Harper to bail him out.
posted by furtive at 9:16 PM on March 26, 2007


It's official, Charest stays in.

Still, it says something that he couldn't even get 40% of the votes in his own riding. Must be that Mt. Orford stuff coming back to bite him in the bum.
posted by clevershark at 9:18 PM on March 26, 2007


It means no referendum for a decade, and it means a federal election in weeks.

Both of these would make me quite happy, particularly if the result of that election were Harper being tossed out on his ass.

Then again, I'm so out of touch with politics back home that anything I say is kind of suspect.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:20 PM on March 26, 2007


Bzzzzt. Until this year highest taxes in the country, province funds all daycare so it only costs $7 a day, parents get up to a year of leave (mostly) paid by the gov't, marijuana is all but legal, you can bring your own beer or wine to a lot of the restaurants, one of the three party leaders is openly gay and still got a third of the vote, solid separation of church and state going on fifty years, the list goes on...

They like to runs things socialistically, but many Quebecers seem to have these weird hang ups over language, country, equality and race that makes them eerily similar to the French or even Americans (hah!).
posted by Alex404 at 9:28 PM on March 26, 2007


Both of these would make me quite happy, particularly if the result of that election were Harper being tossed out on his ass.

Don't count on it. The buzz right now says the Conservatives would gain seats and possibly form a majority if they were to call an election now. Voters are still unfamiliar with Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, there was no major outcry over the recent budget from what I could tell, and the Conservatives have been polling much higher, even (especially?) in areas where they've traditionally done poorly, like with women and in urban areas.
posted by chrominance at 9:38 PM on March 26, 2007


[Quebec] funds all daycare so it only costs $7 a day, parents get up to a year of leave (mostly) paid by the gov't, marijuana is all but legal, you can bring your own beer or wine to a lot of the restaurants, one of the three party leaders is openly gay and still got a third of the vote, solid separation of church and state going on fifty years, the list goes on...

g.d., I love BC, but I gotta admit to being a little jealous. Why can't we have nice things?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:27 PM on March 26, 2007


Stephen Harper is all about the negative campaigning.

I suggest his opponents could gain significant voter share merely by replaying all the party-bashing crap he spews relentlessly. Especially all the crap where it turned out he was dead wrong and sucking American cock to boot.

Just show what a louse he is, and his party loses.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:30 PM on March 26, 2007


Quebec...seems to not want to break away from Canada anymore

It might have something to do with Stephen Harper giving them a giant handout a couple of days ago, at the expense of most of the rest of Canada.

We have the highest total taxation in North America.

I wonder how it would compare if you considered the fact that Canadians get free health care and many Americans have to pay out of pocket. Having to pay for health care is essentially a tax.

any democratic country that can have a third party not only be viable but actually gain power rocks

That's not true federally. Sure, there are four parties, but only the Liberals and Conservatives have any chance at forming a government. The Bloc Québecois and NDP have no real chance of doing so, unless they do it as a coalition.
posted by oaf at 11:24 PM on March 26, 2007


I'm glad Charest kept his seat - that would have made a productive result messy.

Anyway, vive le Quebec...j'suis certain que vous auriez un gouvernement plus responsable - meme s'il est de courte duree. (grammar check please)

====
On another note, it is rather confusing for non-canucks that our provincial Liberal parties often share the same fiscal values as our federal Conservatives.
posted by SSinVan at 11:25 PM on March 26, 2007


Quebec...seems to not want to break away from Canada anymore

Negative political issues disappear when "times" are good, and resurface when times are bad. (separatism)

Positive political issues appear when "times" are good, and disappear when times are bad. (environmentalism)

I have absolutely no basis for saying this, its just an observation.
posted by SSinVan at 11:32 PM on March 26, 2007


On another note, it is rather confusing for non-canucks that our provincial Liberal parties often share the same fiscal values as our federal Conservatives.

SSinVan: the same could be said about the US state parties and their federal counterparts. Compare the NY or MA state Republicans to the federal version as an example.

Now, does the turn to the ADQ necessarily mean that Quebec will go conservative in the coming federal election? Based on the odd platform the ADQ had, it looks like a protest vote more so for the provincial parties. With Harper throwing more money that way, I could see some positive gains for the PCs, but I don't see a full or partial return to the strength the old party had in the 1980s when Mulroney somehow kept the entire circus tent together.
posted by myopicman at 11:39 PM on March 26, 2007


For those of us who are entirely unfamiliar with Canadian politics, can you please explain the significance of this development?

The Parti Quebecois and the provincial Liberal Party have dominated Quebec politics for the past thirty years or so. The PQ's mandate is to hold referendums in an effort to get Quebec to "break away" from Canada. The PQ has held office at least three times over the past three decades; by coming in third place tonight (albeit all three parties each received 30% of the vote) in number of seats, the PQ has been defanged, and their should be no chance of a new referendum "for at least a decade" according to some pundits. The party is weak, and there is no guarantee the PQ can choose a new leader before an election is forced on the minority government.

Tonight's election also means the Quebec Liberal Party (neo-con under the leadership of former Conservative Jean Charest) will no longer be the Federal Conservatives' ally in Quebec. The newer ADQ will likely assume that role, as the ADQ more closely resembles the Federal Conservative government, in terms of values (and perhaps in terms of incoherent fiscal policy). The Quebec Liberal Party (which will form a minority government) has been wiped out in Quebec City and rural Quebec. Doubtful if they will win a majority in the next election.

So, what does this mean for Canada? No more fears of a Quebec referendum on separation. Canada nearly broke up in 1995, and we don't need to go through that again.

That said, Quebecers have a point; Canada is like a bad marriage, and they should be able to leave if they want to. And sovereignty-association won't be much different than what exists in Quebec now. Quebec has not signed the Canadian Constitution. Quebec has a seperate health care system. It's legal system is different, as is the school system and federal taxation. I'm not sure what the difference would be...perhaps reduced federal transfer payments, which would be a blessing for the rest of us in Canada.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:52 PM on March 26, 2007


Canada is like a bad marriage, and they should be able to leave if they want to.

That sets a really bad precedent. Besides, if Québec were to leave Canada, it would still be bound by all the treaties that Canada has signed, and Québec would also have to take on a portion of the Canadian national debt. Do you think they really want that?
posted by oaf at 12:01 AM on March 27, 2007


Quebec is slightly conservative (in Canadian terms), perhaps mainly in terms of fiscal policy (low taxes etc)

No. They're liberal, in Canadian terms. They have the best social programs in all of Canada, to boot.

Not to mention the best music in Canada and the second prettiest girls...
posted by The God Complex at 12:06 AM on March 27, 2007


when Mulroney somehow kept the entire circus tent together.

Heavy drinking and the prescient knowledge that his son would one day exact an intolerable vengeance upon this great land.
posted by The God Complex at 12:17 AM on March 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


Not to mention the best music in Canada and the second prettiest girls

And, the best films, funniest TV, 2nd best city on the continent
posted by SSinVan at 12:44 AM on March 27, 2007


Quebec is so liberal, socially, though 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.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:54 AM on March 27, 2007


And all of our good goaltenders. Don't leave, Quebec!
posted by The God Complex at 12:56 AM on March 27, 2007


Quebec City? You mean oldest... Oh, wait, you must mean Laval, second best city... wait no, no, do you mean Lachine? Or Point Claire? Gotta be around there somewhere... My vote would be for Tadoussac... or Ste.Anne de Beaupre, but then, that's where the ol' forebear's come from...

So then the greatest is - oh, of course, what was I thinking, my adopted home, Brooklyn.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:58 AM on March 27, 2007


KokuRyu: Canada is like a bad marriage, and they should be able to leave if they want to.


oaf: That sets a really bad precedent.
What is that exactly? That a people should be able to democratically decide their political fate? That the people really are the source of sovereignty?

I think by "bad precedent" you mean you wouldn't like possible consequences.

Besides, if Québec were to leave Canada, it would still be bound by all the treaties that Canada has signed

No, they wouldn't. Unless Canada were to be completely dissolved and somehow Québec were to be recognized internationally as the lawful successor state, as with the USSR and Russia, Québec would no longer be bound by those treaties. That's like saying the United States is bound by any treaties the UK made before 1776.
posted by spaltavian at 1:12 AM on March 27, 2007


I think by "bad precedent" you mean you wouldn't like possible consequences.

No, I mean that anything in Canada is fair game after that. (I'm looking at you, Alberta.) If Québec leaves Canada, anglophone and First Nations parts of Québec could (and would) leave Québec and stay with Canada. Québec can't leave Canada and remain more than about a third of its current size.

Québec would no longer be bound by those treaties.

Yes, it would. You honestly believe that Québec could secede and then decide that it doesn't want to let Canadian ships through from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic?
posted by oaf at 1:28 AM on March 27, 2007


The seperatist movement was always and is always a way of political gaming: We get everyone on our side by playing to their big fantasy - that we can be our own country. What a crock of shit - and they knew it.

All the way back to Levesque (May He Rot in Hell) it was about getting people into a political block through isolationist xenophobia, then runing with that power. Any actual interest in becoming a sovereign nation ? No, not really.

This is nothing new, it's how politics work: except what's at stake is bigger, and thus the assertion is more craven.

A Quebec without Canada would quickly become a target of certain Nation/state Overthrowing Entities to the south and every knew, everyone has always known, that. Or at least, that's what the Mountie told me, and since he was the number 2 at the time, I believed him.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:02 AM on March 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


No, I mean that anything in Canada is fair game after that. (I'm looking at you, Alberta.) If Québec leaves Canada, anglophone and First Nations parts of Québec could (and would) leave Québec and stay with Canada. Québec can't leave Canada and remain more than about a third of its current size.

Why are any of those things bad? There are plenty of small countries in the world that are doing alright.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 4:02 AM on March 27, 2007


"Or at least, that's what the Mountie told me, and since he was the number 2 at the time, I believed him."

I am sure he wasn't just number 2 at that time. Mounties are always number 2.
posted by srboisvert at 4:24 AM on March 27, 2007


There are plenty of small countries in the world that are doing alright.

Are these small countries next to the largest economy in the world, whose military spending is larger than the rest of the world combined?

Let's say Alberta leaves Canada. All of a sudden, you have a country with a population slightly larger than the Seattle metro area sitting next to the U.S. Is it really going to be fully autonomous?

Even Québec has fewer people than New York (not including metro area).
posted by oaf at 4:41 AM on March 27, 2007


(And perhaps, once Québec, Alberta, Newfoundland, British Columbia, Ontario, and everyone else split off, one by one, they might decide that they don't have enough bargaining power by themselves, and form some sort of thing where they have a common trade area, a common currency, a common military, and, to make things simpler, just one flag. They could even call it "Canada.")
posted by oaf at 4:43 AM on March 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


Is there really a problem with small countries banding together in common trade areas, common currencies, and common defence pacts? The individual countries would at least get to choose which common institutions they participate in.

Let's say Alberta leaves Canada. All of a sudden, you have a country with a population slightly larger than the Seattle metro area sitting next to the U.S. Is it really going to be fully autonomous?

Its situtation might be comparable to Luxembourg. You could argue about whether Luxembourg is fully autonomous (certainly not in the sense that they could repel an invasion from hostile neighbours), but they have undoubtedly achieved a very high degree of autonomy, and if that's what the people of Alberta, or Quebec, or wherever want, then should they not pursue it?
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 5:48 AM on March 27, 2007


I never liked those pierogie eaters in Albertistan to begin with.
posted by furtive at 5:49 AM on March 27, 2007


The individual countries would at least get to choose which common institutions they participate in.

So you have no problem with Westmount deciding to leave Québec and stay with Canada, then, if Québec should decide to leave?
posted by oaf at 6:58 AM on March 27, 2007


oaf, it's really none of my business! If that's what that community wants, then who am I to tell them what to do? It would be monstrously impractical in a way that bulk secession wouldn't, so I'm not sure how relevent this example is to the more mainstream secession movement.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 7:27 AM on March 27, 2007


As usual, there is a tendency to mix up "separatist" with "nationalist", and this is where the ADQ crawled in.

Most French speaking Quebeckers are more or less "nationalist" in the sense that they are very attached to their language and culture and will react strongly if they feel they are threatened. A huge part of the ROC (Rest of Canada) is still waiting for the French Canadian people to be assimilated as their own forbears have been (that's why the Canadian armed forces and Air Canada have still been unable to be fully bilingual after all these years: they are waiting for the problem to disappear).

It won't happen. Every poll shows that the nationalist sentiment is strong and doesn't changes much. What changes is where and how it manifests itself.

On the political map, the PQ is center-left, the PLQ is center-right and the ADQ is further right. But where it becomes more complicated is that on the nationalist map the PQ has cornered itself in an extremist position (separatist, referendum), the PLQ is traditionally federalist and the ADQ had the genius idea to position itself as "autonomist".

What is an "autonomist"? The ADQ has been unable to explain further. That's not very surprising, because both the PQ and the PLQ, despite appearing to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, are both very democratic and, as such, are very near the center even on the national question: the PQ is always speaking of independence with a close association with its neighbors, and the PLQ waters down its federalist stance with regular affirmation of its distances from Ottawa.

During the previous provincial election, the polls showed for a while a brushfire for the ADQ when it was percieved to be at the center between the PQ and the PLQ. As soon as it was known that it was at the far right, it almost disappeared from the map. And now it's back at the center right with a bit of nationalism (autonomist), and a bit of populist cheap tactics playing on people fears (against immigration, against the big cities, against big government).

So, contrary to what some people said, the nationalist agenda is still ruling Quebec politics. And please stop the "separatist scare". Quebec is not a third world colony. It's a modern, democratic, educated, sophisticated "nation". Civilization is not black and white choices. it resides in nuances and, as could be expected, Quebec people have shown once again how nuanced they can be.
posted by bru at 7:50 AM on March 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think that at least for now, entirely new lines have been drawn in Quebec politics. Voters seem to have said, "we certainly don't want any kiss-ass federalists like Charest, but that doesn't mean we need to separate. We just need solid lines drawn between us and Ottawa and an aggressive posture towards the feds. And, by the way, the first preoccupation of all policy must be mainstream Quebeckers - quit with all the heavy-duty social liberal stuff. We want our daycare, but mostly we want to keep the outsiders out of the mainstream (though they're welcome if they assimilate) and if it's a choice between one and the other, we'll choose the latter."

It's going to be fascinating to see how this plays out. It almost forces the PQ towards a more ethnic nationalist position, though I don't think they will see that or CAN go there. It gives the Liberals a huge potential for a rebound if they can get rid of Charest and get a Bourassa-style guy in there who will kick at Ottawa at every opportunity - though I don't know that they will see THAT or can go there either.

And it means we will have a federal election before the end of the summer, and that the Conservatives stand a very good chance of forming a majority, as Quebeckers have just demonstrated that they are in an experimental mode and are willing to try something new.
posted by mikel at 8:01 AM on March 27, 2007


For those of us who are entirely unfamiliar with Canadian politics, can you please explain the significance of this development?

Are you one of those people who asks "Who's that?" thirty seconds into a movie?
posted by jon_kill at 8:35 AM on March 27, 2007


I wonder how much of this is generational. Are the post-baby boomers tired of the hardline souveraintists? It's a fuck-you vote for sure, but a fuck-you from the post-boom and echo to their parents.

The Adéquistes (great name!) are vagely nationalistic, but also don't seem to have the hard core xenophobia engrained in the pur laine wing of the Péquistes. The Quebecers I know, of my age and younger, are some of the most socially progressive people I've ever had the pleasure to meet. If this vote signifies the final rejection of the tribal nastiness exemplified by Jacques Parizeau, that can only be a good thing.
posted by bonehead at 9:34 AM on March 27, 2007


chrominance writes "he Conservatives have been polling much higher, even (especially?) in areas where they've traditionally done poorly, like with women and in urban areas."

On the flip side their no-question base is cheesed right off about the energy trust issue and the reduction of oil and gas subsidizes. The whining hasn't reached NEP levels yet but it has amazing staying power.
posted by Mitheral at 9:50 AM on March 27, 2007


bonehead, I think the opposite has happened - the results last night are a rejection of the distance that the PQ has tried to put between it and Parizeau since 1995. They've always tried to finesse the point, but I think the big reason the PQ was rejected is that they are too identified with Montreal (though ironically they don't elect that many people in the city). Montreal is really the only place in Quebec where civic, not ethnic, nationalism is really relevant or important.

ADQ rhetoric is mild, perhaps, but this idea of thinking of the middle class first is really just support for the mainstream status quo - and I think it explicitly includes a rejection of difference. It's not for nothing that people in both the PLQ and the PQ have painted Dumont as Quebec's Le Pen. I think that's an extreme and I hope incorrect caricature, but I do think there is a small kernel of truth there.
posted by mikel at 10:09 AM on March 27, 2007


oaf: Yes, it would. You honestly believe that Québec could secede and then decide that it doesn't want to let Canadian ships through from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic?

Of course they could. That they won't doesn't change that.

But there are thousands of treaties involving Canada and while it would not be Quebec's best interest to say, discontinue free passage of Canadian and American ships, they will not have to follow any Candian treaty they don't think is in their best interest. The treaties would not legally impact them unless the new country's government resigned.
posted by spaltavian at 10:56 AM on March 27, 2007


err- re-signed
posted by spaltavian at 11:08 AM on March 27, 2007


oaf: If Québec leaves Canada, anglophone and First Nations parts of Québec could (and would) leave Québec and stay with Canada. Québec can't leave Canada and remain more than about a third of its current size.

Except that the separatists, or at least their leaders, have always maintained that a separate Quebec would be indivisible.

KokuRyu: That said, Quebecers have a point; Canada is like a bad marriage, and they should be able to leave if they want to.

Erm, let's not paint all Quebecers as separatists, please. I was born here, and I'll have no truck with that ideology for reasons explained below.

In my experience of separatists/ism it's racism, linguism, and xenophobia wrapped up in a pretty political "power to the people" blanket. The OLF and it's "defense" of French consisting of marginalizing English while allowing crap French like "yé" (slangy contraction of "il est") to go on public signs. Lots of talk about pure laine Québecois (as in, pure francophone bloodlines, "real" Quebecers). Parizeau's infamous ethnic comment. Boisclair's asian oopsie. The talk of that not being 'offensive' in French is ridiculous... it's equivalent to refering to Jews as "those big-schnozed folks" or muslim women as "those broads with sheets on their heads". The language it's in is irrelevant.

I went to French immersion elementary school, and thus became bilingual pretty easily. Some of my friends spoke English, some French, some both. With one friend in particular, we'd switch every now and then just for the hell of it. So, when I was maybe 8 or 9, we were in the park and happened to be speaking in English, about Thundercats or something equally childlike. This teenaged french girl, dressed up in a ratty camouflage jacket and fleur-de-lis patches - looking like something straight out of the FLQ - comes up and tells us that "in Quebec, people speak French". Me, being a little smartass, retort with "in Canada, people speak English too". I got a punched in the face, fell over, and kicked a few times with her army-surplus boots.

Sorry for the slightly lengthy rant, but it's not all about Democracy and Self-Determination.
posted by CKmtl at 5:17 PM on March 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


Of course they could.

For a couple days, until they were forced to reopen shipping, sure. For any lengthy period of time? No chance, no matter how much they want it.
posted by oaf at 5:48 PM on March 27, 2007


And by "forced," I mean that shipping would resume on the old terms whether an independent Québec liked it or not.
posted by oaf at 5:49 PM on March 27, 2007


Question:

If I decided to learn French and then pack up my bags and move to Quebec City or Montreal, would I be accepted into the social fabric, or would I be forevermore an outcast unwelcome to participate in public life?

'cause I was listening to CBC and all about Quebec City, and it sounds like a helluva great place to live. Again, I'm a little jealous.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:51 PM on March 27, 2007


bru: Most French speaking Quebeckers are more or less "nationalist" in the sense that they are very attached to their language and culture and will react strongly if they feel they are threatened. ... So, contrary to what some people said, the nationalist agenda is still ruling Quebec politics.

Attachment to language and culture are great things. But it doesn't have to be an exclusionary thing, which it is in the case of separatists / separo-nationalists. New Brunswick's Acadians are attached to their language and culture without freaking out about it.

Groups with distinct cultural identities don't necessarily have to be separate, or try to beat one another into submission. Maine and Louisiana seem to be able to get along pretty well nowadays. The Pacific-Northwest states aren't going at it tooth-and-nail with the Southwest states.

I know you've differentiated between 'nationalist'* and separatist, but I can't. At least, not yet. They've been interchangeable for as long as I can remember. We'll see if Dumont's able to clarify the distinction.

* I'm saying this partially seriously, partially tongue-in-cheek: 'Nationalism', as an ideology and political concept, hasn't worked out all that nicely elsewhere in the world. Germany, for one.

And please stop the "separatist scare".

The last two referenda - or 'public consultations' as Boisclair would like to rebrand them - scared the bejesus out of me. I have no desire to relocate just because 50% + 1 decide that Quebec should separate. I don't want to have to, say, apply for a passport in order to visit my hometown.
posted by CKmtl at 8:01 PM on March 27, 2007


The Pacific-Northwest states aren't going at it tooth-and-nail with the Southwest states.

The day is coming, though. The North-South line still exists in the form of cultural and social differences, on things ranging from the generic name for fountain refreshments ('pop' vs 'coke') to religion.

I think there's a good chance there'll have to be a split along religious lines. The Christianists want a Dominion.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:23 PM on March 27, 2007


(pop vs. soda, blow vs. coke)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:57 PM on March 27, 2007


oaf: For a couple days, until they were forced to reopen shipping, sure. For any lengthy period of time? No chance, no matter how much they want it.

You're missing my point. You're pointing to something that would not be allowable on the world stage for polical reasons as proof that Quebec would be bound by everything Canada did.

But there are many, many agreements and treaties involving Canada. And many of them the superpower next door wouldn't care if Quebec didn't continue or altered.

Of course military and political realities would cause Quebec to adopt some of the same international positions. But that's doesn't mean Quebec would be totally imprisoned to Canada's diplomacy.
posted by spaltavian at 10:05 PM on March 27, 2007


If I decided to learn French and then pack up my bags and move to Quebec City or Montreal, would I be accepted into the social fabric, or would I be forevermore an outcast unwelcome to participate in public life?

I can't speak to Quebec City (and to be honest I wonder what that radio show said! Quebec's old [ie tourist] town is beautiful but I'd never ever want to live there...), but in Montreal there would be no problem at all. There are tons of Anglos who live their lives with just smatterings of french, and those who have the decency (or opportunity) to become bilingual are wholly embraced. I've never met a young Quebecois who was anything less than really friendly with an anglo speaking french.
posted by Marquis at 7:55 AM on March 28, 2007


five fresh fish: The day is coming, though. The North-South line still exists in the form of cultural and social differences, on things ranging from the generic name for fountain refreshments ('pop' vs 'coke') to religion.

Sure, I don't mean that there's no cultural differences. Just that the differences aren't being made into destructively divisive issues (well, possibly fundie religion, but I'll leave that alone).

It's not like pop-sayers have to send their kids to soda-saying schools, unless the pop-saying parents happen to have gone to pop-saying school and have a pop-saying education eligibility certificate. Or you don't see "Go Home Pop-head!" graffiti. That's the situation with english (pop) and french (soda) schools here, and I still see the occasional 'Go Home Anglos'.

If I decided to learn French and then pack up my bags and move to Quebec City or Montreal, would I be accepted into the social fabric, or would I be forevermore an outcast unwelcome to participate in public life?

I've only been to Quebec City (it is a pretty city) once, on an elementary school field trip, so I can't say for sure. If you spoke French all the time, you'd probably get along fine. You wouldn't be shunned, but you might still be considered an 'outsider' in minor social ways because of your accent.

In Montreal, you'd probably be just fine too, even if you spoke English. A greater factor would probably be exactly where you chose to live, neighbourhood / area-wise. If you moved to a really pure laine-ish WASPy (well, white francophone pseudocatholic) suburb, there might be more friction.

Of course, if by "public life" you mean running for office... forget it. The anglo accent and not-quite-right French wouldn't work out well. Preston Manning's French wouldn't cut it here.
posted by CKmtl at 8:26 AM on March 28, 2007


well, possibly fundie religion, but I'll leave that alone

Problem is, they won't leave it alone.

My French accent would, btw, be horrendous. Montreal would be harder than Quebec City for a transplanted BCer? I thought Montreal was the more cosmopolitan place.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:22 PM on March 28, 2007


Montreal would be harder than Quebec City for a transplanted BCer?

No, no. I guess I should've uh.. separated.. the paragraphs differently, I see now that it doesn't read the way I intended. The "In Montreal..." line should go up with the rest, with the "A greater factor..." as another paragraph.
posted by CKmtl at 7:54 PM on March 28, 2007


« Older "I've been getting death threat comments on this b...  |  Modern Thai fiction,... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments