The numbers for the CAQ have steadily declined to the point that they now are nothing more than a spoil-sport, presenting a dangerous situation for Quebec democracy, where the PQ government, lounging in the low 30% approval ratings, soldiers on because the CAQ is afraid of being decimated at the polls, in any potential election
With polling numbers like these below, the CAQ has good reason to fear an election. Never underestimate a politician's will to survive and between doing the right thing and preserving one's job a little longer......well.
Nouveau sondage Léger montre une situation similaire au dernier Crop
As you can see in the chart above, the Liberal party is in majority territory, a frightening scenario for the PQ, but even worse for the CAQ, which would likely not survive an election rout.
It isn't really a case of the CAQ foundering or losing its way, but rather the reality that set in, once the bloom is off the rose, and where only the traditional true conservative base of voters remains, less than 20%.
It's hard to envisage any scenario where the CAQ will make a comeback to that brief period where they were leading in the polls, the voters have had a chance to live with the CAQ for a while and have tired of the message of fiscal restraint.
How many times do voters really vote for cuts and restraint, something the CAQ has droned on and on about, to the dissatisfaction of most voters who prefer to live in a fantasy world where their entitlements endure forever.
I like the CAQ, its members perhaps the most honest and realistic of all the provincial parties, traits that are unfortunately a death knell in politics where stealth, deception and blatant dishonesty usually wins the day.
|Couillard delivering leadership|
As for the Liberals, the very strong performance of Philippe Couillard and the party's resurgence has been a pleasant surprise.
Before I go on, let me quote him from an interview he gave to the Suburban
“The PQ ideology is all centred on the fact that in some way French-speaking Quebecers are besieged or humiliated or threatened…It's not true, and we will stand up and say it,” he says, “and I say the same thing in the Gaspé as in the west island of Montreal.”Readers, as an ex-political organizer, I can tell you this position was brilliantly crafted, whomever in his entourage who scripted it, should be recruited on the federal level and offered the big bucks.
“Maybe we hesitated to say it in the past, but now we have to say it as it is” he says, adding is that the PQ is working to define identity of francophone Quebecers “instead of seeking to define a shared identity among all Quebecers, one that includes the primacy of the French language.”
Couillard said that while the government had suggested it will tweak some elements of its Bill 14 language legislation in committee this fall, the Liberals will vote against it “not on technical grounds or question of this or that article. No, it's based on false premises. If we want French to be promoted in Quebec there are ways to do that which would lead to a much more favourable climate.” Read the whole article
In one fell swoop Mr. Couillard changed the dynamic of the debate, striking at the heart of the separatist argument that Quebecers are threatened and weak, something the PQ has based its entire political existence on.
The PQ have successfully attacked the Liberal's with accusations of weakness in the face of the federal government and for its perceived lack of defense of the French language, to which Jean Charest's limp reply was usually appeasement, with reactions like beefing up the loathsome OQLF.
Couillard is having none of that.
He's going on the offense, striking at the heart of the PQ's bedrock premise and that attack has already struck a chord, as evidenced in the polls.
The Couillard message is that Quebec is not weak nor threatened and shouldn't act as if it is. Furthermore, more is to be achieved by friendly cooperation with Ottawa, than by self-destructive fighting.
Furthermore, his interview with the Suburban, (an unofficial party organ of the Liberals) has re-established the eternal link with the English and minorities and has squelched any resurgence of Anglo protest.
The Liberals under Couillard are back in the saddle and to say that the PQ and the CAQ are frightened is an understatement extraordinaire.
The PQ, fearful of losing power will do anything to survive and so Bill 14 will arrive, not stillborn but hobbled enough to allow the CAQ to save face.
Nonetheless, even in its less restrictive form, the law will be another disastrous step backwards.
And that is where we will find ourselves politically for the next while, firmly ensconced between a rock and a hard place, the disastrous co-dependance of the PQ and the CAQ, a frightening scenario.
So don't expect an election soon, even next year.
The only bug in the ointment is the issue of Hydro rates this Fall.
In order to pay for the foolish green energy programs that the PQ government expanded, Hydro-Quebec needs a big rate increase and the media is attracted to the story like bees to pollen.
It is an issue that can rip the PQ apart and if the Liberals manoeuvre the issue onto the front page, the CAQ will be caught, unable to support the PQ on such a fundamental issue.
But from this observer's point of view, the likeliest scenario is more PQ, more Marois, more stupidity, more pain and this, not in the short-term but rather the intermediate.
I remember the great Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup victory of '93 where an improbable combination of overtime victories coupled with underdogs taking out the competition led to a less than stellar team winning the Stanley Cup.
Sometimes the stars align, and like the Canadiens in '93, the hapless, unpopular and incompetent Pauline Marois and the PQ finds itself, through an incredible serendipitous confluence of circumstances, firmly in power.
It's a sad note to leave on but with that, valued readers, I'm off on vacation and will publish erratically over the next little while.....
I do have a post for Monday which will be interesting and spark some debate (I hope!)
Check in... As I said, I might sneak in a couple of posts, even though I promised my wife to take a break!!
And with that dear friends, I'm off to visit the grandchildren in NYC.
I hope you are all enjoying your summer.