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Posts Tagged ‘caq’

Why strategic voting is a bad idea

With the latest polls indicating that the PQ is within a hair’s breath of a majority, many of us – at least, those of us who disagree with Marois’s “pure laine or go home” vision of Quebec, are probably thinking about the best way to stop that from happening. And I’ve heard a lot of talk lately from anglos or other anti-PQ voters about voting “strategically”.

Here’s why I think that’s a dumb idea.

Polls can be wrong. They often are. Witness the last federal election, or, more recently, the provincial election in Alberta. Countless other examples. Polls have a margin of error; they rely on small sample sizes; people lie or change their minds. Just because you heard things would go one way in the polls doesn’t mean they can’t go entirely another way.

You don’t know what everyone else will do. The Quebec electorate is notoriously unpredictable and can turn on a dime. So-called “strategic” voting assumes that you do. But if you’re wrong? Your strategic move could end up delivering exactly the opposite result. For instance, voting for the CAQ in a riding where the Liberals are assumed to be out of contention (or vice-versa)? That could put the PQ in power, if there’s enough vote-splitting between the Liberals and the CAQ.

You could end up voting for someone even worse… and what if they win? In my riding, a longtime Pequiste stronghold, the only party running even close to the PQ in the polls is Quebec Solidaire. Now, I know a lot of people like QS, but they pretty much stand for everything I disagree with the most — anti-democracy, hard-line socialism, nationalism, anti-Israel, pro-anarchy, you name it. A “strategic” vote for the QS might make logical sense in terms of preventing a PQ majority, but I’d never do it. After all, they could lose, and then I’ll have voted for a party I don’t believe in and actually hate intently for nothing. Or, worse yet, they could win… and then I’ll have helped elect a local MP from a party that I pretty much loathe with every fibre of my being. Not to mention, the QS holding the balance of power would very likely help, not stymie, the PQ’s drive towards sovereignty. Nope, better to be one of a few people voting Liberal in a riding where they have no hope. At least I’ll be able to look myself in the mirror the next morning.

It hurts democracy by providing all the wrong incentives to politicians. Jean Charest lost a lot of respect at the outset of the campaign when, right out of the gate, he warned anglophones and federalists not to vote for the CAQ or anyone else because it would play right into the PQ’s hands. Now, I’m a Liberal supporter, but I wasn’t the only one who was pissed. Meanwhile, Marois has been using similar tactics, warning hard-core separatists not to vote for Quebec Solidaire or Option Nationale lest they cost her a majority. The fact is, people don’t like to be told to vote “against” something; they’d sooner vote “for” something. And in an election where most people are holding their noses and voting for the least-worst option anyway, outright calls for strategic voting merely encourage this type of behaviour among politicians. If we ourselves admit to voting tactically instead of for what we believe in, how can we then turn around and accuse the politicians of failing to give us something to believe in? It’s up to us to demand it from our representatives.

There will be a September 5th. One way or the other (or the other… or the other…), we’ll wake up Wednesday morning to election results. And, regardless of how things turn out, you’ll have to live with how you cast your vote. The only vote you’ll never regret is the one for the party that best represents the vision of the Quebec that you wish to live in on September 5th. Any other vote will only leave you with a sour taste in your mouth, no matter how things turn out.

Remember to vote on Tuesday. And when you do, vote your conscience.

Quebec political donations: By the numbers

Polls are one thing; money is another. What can we gauge from the fundraising of the major Quebec political parties, and what can it tell us about the possible election outcome?

According to the Directuer général des élections du Québec, there have been 33,547 donations in 2012 to date to Quebec’s political parties, totalling just over $5.3 million dollars.

Read the rest of this entry »

High-ho, high-ho…

…it’s off to the polls we go. Quebecers will vote in the provincial election that some are dubbing the “tuition election” on September 4th.

While it’s true that Charest has always been better at campaigning than at governing, after nearly a decade in power, it’s likely to be somebody else’s turn at the helm. And while Quebec public opinion can turn on a dime (just ask the NDP), all indications are that the “somebody else” will be Pauline Marois and the PQ. And in this election, the anger against Charest’s Liberals — over the tuition hike issue, over the corruption scandals, and over various ills, perceived or real over the years — will be tough for him to overcome with mere campaign promises.

Marois, for her part, has done a good job of positioning the PQ as the de facto alternative for those angry with the status quo. The party was in freefall and chaotic disarray a few months ago, but by falling back on their two stalwart issues — language and unions — they’ve managed to rebound impressively. The student movement claims it will remain neutral, but in reality, it has no love lost for the CAQ and its plans to also hike tuition, and the Quebec Solidaire is unlikely to form a government. So the PQ, with its red-square-wearing stunts, becomes the default choice. The students rarely vote in droves, but the union folks do, and we can expect a lot of separatist rhetoric combined with chants of “solidarité” in the streets over the next few weeks.

Will a PQ government mean another referendum? Not necessarily. Marois is promising a lot of fighting with Ottawa but is remaining coy on the r-word, perhaps recognizing that people are tired of talking about the issue. Still, though, there is less support than ever from the ROC for Quebec staying a part of Canada, and with nearly two decades gone since the last go-around, anything can happen.

But I for one am not panicking. Life will go on. Quebec is unlikely to separate, even with a PQ government. Ironically, the rights of anglos and minorities sometimes do better during a PQ mandate, while they’re busy governing, than during a Liberal mandate, when the PQ can snipe from the opposition sidelines.

Prediction: PQ minority government.

Il n’y a rien de nouveau sous le soleil

Francois Legault finally unveiled his new political party’s logo, which, erm, looks an awful lot like his old party‘s logo.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec (or CAQ, for short, which really brings to mind a whole host of new acronym joke possibilities) was, if you recall, ahead in polls even before it existed. And now, Legault’s generic statements about wanting to move Quebec “forward” and “focus on the issues that matter” sound just like the tired same-old-same-old, even on the day he announces something that’s supposed to be shiny and new.

Barry Wilson of CTV Montreal called Legault the “flavour of the month” in an editorial that pretty much points out the obvious: Quebecers vote according to fads, which fizzle quickly. Witness the ADQ, which rose to official opposition status under Mario Dumont before virtually disappearing from the electoral map in the following election. Witness the meteoric “Orange Crush” rise of the Federal NDP this past election, which crashed and burned almost days afterwards when people figured out that they’d voted for unqualified candidates who couldn’t speak their language and had never even been to their riding.

Legault is repeating tired old clichés and avoiding saying very much. He’s getting a lot of media attention for it. He’ll have his fifteen minutes in the sun.

But it won’t last. We’ve seen this before. When it comes to politics, there really is nothing new under the sun.

Is this what they mean by an “informed electorate?”

More proof – as if you needed it – that Quebecers are bandwagon voters:

François Legault, who is on a 17-stop tour across Quebec to seek feedback on his ideas to reform politics in the province, says he is “humbled” by polls suggesting he would win a provincial election if it were held now, even though he still has not formed a party.

That, right there, says everything you need to know about the wisdom of the electorate. Or, more accurately, the lack thereof.

Quebecers don’t actually care about silly things like party platforms or issues. We just care about what’s new and shiny this week. (Orange Crush, anyone?)

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