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quebec election

There will almost certainly be a recount in my home riding of Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques, won by QS’s Manon Massé by a margin of only 91 votes over Liberal Anna Klisko.

Obviously, I would have preferred a Liberal victory over a Quebec Solidaire one here. The QS is staunchly pro-sovereignty, militantly anti-English, and has pie-in-sky ideas about economics and policy that only a party at no risk of ever having to govern can afford to hold. Furthermore, Manon Massé, while I’ve no doubt is a nice enough person, is a social justice activist who also happens to be an anti-Israel activist who joined in the Gaza flotilla of 2011 and is a member of a group that calls itself “Queers Against Israeli Apartheid”. (Whether or not any member of this group has any idea that Israel is the only state in the middle east where gay rights are even defended is another question… I’ve learned not to expect any logic when arguing with people like this. But I digress.)

Manon Massé (left) and Françoise David of Québec Solidaire awaiting the results of the close race in Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques

The Liberal candidate, Anna Klisko, a housing and real estate lawyer, daycare owner and mom, seems like a much better representative for this riding.

But the truly amazing thing is that she’s come so close to victory at all. The Liberals were expected to come a distant third in this riding, which has been solidly PQ since its creation in 1989. Instead, Daniel Breton of the PQ is sitting in third place, some 600 votes behind Massé. And it’s Klisko who has challenged for the lead. Her strong showing caught everyone by surprise, even her political rivals.

The truth is, Liberal voters in my neighbourhood do exist, though many tend not to broadcast it. And even if some of the votes that the Liberals got this time around were more anti-PQ votes as opposed to genuine support for the Liberals, there’s also the fact that some folks may have voted Quebec Solidaire instead of Liberal because they viewed them as the best PQ foil. Whatever the case, hopefully this means that our riding will be more than an afterthought in the next PLQ campaign, and that we’ll get some actual attention for once.

Whatever the recount shows, I’m glad to no longer be living in a PQ riding. I hope that if Massé is confirmed as the winner, that she will represent the interests of all her constituents with honour. And either way, I’m happy to know that my vote really meant something for once, that it came close to making a real difference in my riding, and that I no longer have to feel like a lone red voter in a sea of blue.

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It’s a majority government for Philippe Couillard and the Quebec Liberal Party!

It’s been a really ugly 18 months, and an even uglier campaign. But tonight, my faith in the people of this province I call home was restored.

It’s hard to believe that scarcely five weeks ago, the PQ called this election and was projected to coast to an easy majority. How things change in the course of a campaign.

The PQ’s strategy of demonizing the “other” and running on the Charter of Values backfired. Some people finally started to realize that you don’t promote feminism by bullying women and telling them what they can or cannot wear. The big gaffes, though, could all be summed up by three little letters: PKP. His infamous fist-pump, and the subsequent referendum talk, cost the PQ a lot of votes. Their move to the right cost them a lot more on the left. And in the final days of the campaign, they were left scrambling. Tonight, they achieved their worst result in 44 years, since their maiden election in 1970.

Hopefully, this delivers a resounding message to the PQ and to anyone else who wants to play these ugly games of wedge politics: Don’t.

So now we have a Liberal majority, which is perhaps the lesser of the evils rather than a genuinely good thing. But despite my issues with them, this is the best possible result for Quebec. The Charter and Bill 14 are dead. The Liberals won’t be forced to buy support from the likes of the CAQ by promising concessions on language or identity in order to govern. We won’t be living under the constant threat of a referendum. And, best of all, we’ll have a good 4-5 years without an election, so we can actually focus on rebuilding.

More good news:

  • Pauline Marois lost her seat and stepped down as PQ leader. Odds-on favourites for her successor? Drainville, Lisée, or Péladeau?
  • Also defeated for the PQ: Diane de Courcy, Martine Desjardins, Leo Bureau-Blouin, and (thankfully) Louise Mailloux.
  • Former Liberal Fatima Houda-Pepin was defeated as an independent by the Liberal candidate in her riding, which means her obvious plans to cross the floor to the PQ will be thwarted.
  • In a beautiful piece of poetic justice, Quebecor media mogul Pierre-Karl Peladeau narrowly won his seat in Saint-Jerome, and now will have to sit in opposition in a majority Liberal government.
  • And in my home riding of Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques, not only was the incumbant PQ candidate Daniel Breton defeated, but he’s actually in *third* place right now. Manon Massé for Quebec Solidaire is in the lead, but she hasn’t been declared elected yet as she is only ahead of the Liberal candidate by 69 votes. Yes, the Liberals, who were projected to come a distant third and hardly even bothered to campaign here. This riding has been Pequiste since 1989. Everyone said I was nuts for hoping for a Liberal victory, but the Liberals actually won 600 more votes than the PQ. It just goes to show, you never know!

Tomorrow, there will be work to do. The Liberals have to rebuild the trust of Quebecers despite corruption allegations. They have to work to heal the deep rifts that this ugly campaign left, while tackling the important issues including the economy, healthcare, education, infrastructure and the environment. Some of us will agree with their policies and some of us will disagree. And there are no easy answers to the big questions.

But tonight, let us breathe a collective sigh of relief, and celebrate

Merci, Québec.

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A plea to my fellow Quebecers

03.05.2014

Rumours have been circulating for weeks, and now it’s official: Quebec will be heading back to the polls on April 7th. The Parti Quebecois has been in power for a scant year and a half. In that time, it has done more damage than even I would have thought possible. From a vitrol-laced election campaign, [...]

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On being a minority

09.05.2012

Just once, I would like to know what it feels like to be in a majority. Normally, I embrace my outsider status. I’m the liberal in a room full of conservatives, the conservative in a room of Liberals. I’m a Jewish person among non-Jews and an atheist among Jews, a bilingual Quebecer in the RoC [...]

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Why strategic voting is a bad idea

09.02.2012

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 [...]

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Quebec political donations: By the numbers

08.16.2012

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 [...]

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High-ho, high-ho…

08.01.2012

…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 [...]

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5 truths about the tuition protest that nobody has the courage to say (out loud)

05.16.2012

The student tuition protests have dragged on for 14 weeks now and show no sign of ending anytime soon. With the city under siege and anger rising, the media has been flooded with analysis and op-ed pieces of all stripes. But there are some things that nobody’s saying, probably because they’re afraid to rock the [...]

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

09.22.2011

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 [...]

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Why yesterday’s Quebec election matters

12.09.2008

The election that wasn’t supposed to matter, everyone said. A snoozer. A mere footnote in the headlines. Most people in Quebec slept through it. But surprisingly, it may end up mattering more than people think. Here are a few reasons why: A slim Liberal majority: Much slimmer than anyone, including Charest, was predicting. He’ll have [...]

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