I will be watching the two French channels and would appreciate some of your comments on what's going on over at the English channels. I hope some of you will help make this event interesting, having a conversation with fellow contributors across the province, the country and indeed the world. Please make it a date, 8:00 until we're done, I'll see you all in the comments section only, right under tomorrow's blog piece.
Now this being a live event I want to stress that spelling, syntax and proper sentence construction is forgiven, so don't go crazy editing and re-editing your comments. Again French and English comments are welcome.
Rants are allowed, but please try to keep it somewhat clean, let's not degenerate into a swearfest.
Also texting shorthand is allowed IMHO, OMG.
LET'S MAKE IT A DATE!
As for final election notes, the resurgence of the CAQ has indeed taken everyone by surprise, me included. I guess I should have heeded my own advice which I have dished out on many occasions, that is the fact that in Quebec voter intentions can change, literally overnight.
At any rate, I 'll repeat what I said before, that a Liberal minority is the same as a Liberal majority, the CAQ in no mood for another election, that is until they see themselves as legitimate contenders for forming a government. It goes to Pauline's rank stupidity and hubris that she finds herself on the wrong side of the polls, after calling an election based on no reason other than the fact that the PQ was ahead at that time.
Let's not forget that 25% of voters still haven't made up their minds, which is a good thing for the Liberals, because as we've seen in the past, most of the undecided break towards the Liberals.
Quebec voters giveth and Quebec voters taketh away, politicians who assume too much usually pay the price at the polls as did Jean Charest by calling a premature election himself, an election that saw him lose his own seat as well. It was a case of rolling the dice, something voters don't appreciate, where in fact elections are looked upon as a bothersome and unnecessary evil.
Over the course of this election I've read hundreds of articles and can say without a doubt, that just one of them offered any real background, insight and substance.
Yes, far and away the very best article written on the election belongs to Vincent Marissal Of La Presse
I'm offering an English translation for those with no French, but would ask those who do read French to do the author the courtesy of reading the article over at LA PRESSE.
Le choc, la charge, la charte
Over the decades , the Parti Québécois (PQ) explored many avenues to explain and promote the sovereignist option. In the 70s and 80s, under René Lévesque, it was primarily a matter of the heart, the aspiration and evolution of the Quiet Revolution and the completed political emancipation. The project revolved around a national affirmation.
Vincent Marissal Of La Presse
Then, under Jacques Parizeau, the PQ added figures, studies, a roadmap of sorts. Lucien Bouchard, the "savior" of 1995, strongly emphasized the pride of the people of Quebec.
Protecting the French language , of course, has always been a central concern but never has a sovereigntist leader, before the era of Marois, gone so far in the identity sector.
Born from the post-traumatic shock of the collapse of 2007, the identity of the PQ curve reached its peak with the introduction of the draft of the Charter of Secularism, last fall. Between these two events, the players patiently forged a new identity under the PQ. Our columnists chronicled the humiliating defeat of 2007 up to the sensational arrival of Pierre Karl Péladeau .
March 26, 2007... election night in Quebec. To it's shock and dismay, the Parti Québécois recorded its worst election result since 1970 , with 28% of votes.
With 36 seats, the PQ , led by André Boisclair , found itself in second position as opposition in the National Assembly and was then shaken by another internal crisis. The rest is history : André Boisclair tried to hang on, but his caucus finally showed him the door, paving the way for the comeback of Pauline Marois.
Every electoral defeat comes with its own lessons. For the PQ , the situation was clear: CAQ leader Mario Dumont has cut the grass from under foot by capturing the identity issue.
At the beginning of 2007, events moved swiftly. The Hérouxville " Code of Life," led to the outbreak of public clashes with some religious groups and the formation of the Bouchard-Taylor commission, Quebec was living a veritable psychodrama over reasonable accommodations, and in that regard, the ADQ has stolen the limelight.
The only good news for the PQ was that the Liberal government of Jean Charest's minority would have to return to the polls before long. The PQ needed a plan to bring the PQ into the identity game, now afoot.
The first building block was laid by Jean -François Lisé, who had just launched his latest book, entitled 'Nous,' in which he insisted on strengthening the French language, the adoption of a Quebec Constitution and the creation of a Quebec citizenship. The PQ, now led by Pauline Marois, deposited a bill providing for the adoption of a Quebec Constitution. It also provides for Quebec citizenship (and thus the right to stand for office,) whereby an immigrant would be required to have an "appropriate" command of the French language.The PQ brought back this idea during the 2012 election, but not yet the present Charter of Values or Secularism.
But ever since 2007, behind the scenes, intellectuals were busy preparing the Parti Quebecois for a sharp turn (virage) over the identity issue.
After the arrival of Pauline Marois and the collapse of the ADQ, the stars suddenly aligned for the PQ.In Pauline Marois' entourage, sociologist Jacques Beauchemin now occupied a more prominent role. His regular attendance at caucus meetings irritated some of the members who felt that he took up too much space for a non-elected. His views on identity were not shared by all and some were offended to see his views imposed.The more progressive members and those identified as in the economic team were worried and annoyed.
"He took up a lot of space, made presentations, taking notes and sometimes leading the discussions, said a former member of the PQ .
"This was the key to the 'virage' over the identity issue for the PQ, where some didn't want to be trapped by the ADQ a second time. We were now into the defining of '' us. ''
According to a former PQ chief of staff who witnessed many discussions on the identity question, it is also then that Mathieu Bock -Côté and Éric Bédard arrived on the scene. The first, also a sociologist, was a protégé of Jacques Beauchemin, the second, an influential historian in nationalist circles (he is also a former president of the youth wing of the PQ ) .
"They were traumatized by the 'reasonable accommodation' debate and sought a policy response, says our source. It is at this point that the conservative fringe of the PQ established itself and Ms. Marois fell in, although she was not really a supporter to begin with.
"These intellectuals were driven by a sense of urgency caused by demographics [Immigration and aging population,]" he resumed. "They knew that Montreal was essentially lost to the cause and they feared losing the rest of Quebec. They were able to solidify their thoughts and moved into political action." he added. "According to them, if sovereignty couldn't pass, another lever was required. "
Was Jean-François Lisée under this new influence, he who said in his book to be accustomed to the Islamic veil, believing perhaps that Quebec had more urgent business?
"Jean -François Lisée was hesitant, but saw the advantages in this 'virage,' said another source involved in some discussions in the Marois government. According to our source Mr. Lisée was breathing hot and cold..
Upon the depositing of the draft charter, Lisée advocated flexibility for cities (including Montreal, for which he is the minister responsible) , but then retreated to the hard line (the exemption of up to five years). He also wanted a grandfather clause for state employees, especially those employees who wear a religious sign, limiting the prohibition to new employees.
Another character essential to the implementation of the PQ's new identity policy was a certain Pierre Karl Péladeau, star candidate in Saint-Jérôme. His arrival in politics was not as sudden as it seemed and the outcry he created among columnists, politicians and intellectuals certainly played an important role in the PQ identity curve.
A former member of the leadership of the Parti Québécois, very active in the sovereignty movement for years , says that in 2009, Bernard Drainville confided to PQ militants that PKP wished to enter politics.
The political debate and in particular, the identity issue, was of particular interest to Péladeau. With a degree in philosophy before taking the reins of the company founded by his father, he liked to talk and enjoy the company of intellectuals.
He hung around with sociologist Mathieu Bock-Côté and historian Éric Bédard, both columnists comfortably in the lap of the Quebecor stable. Last summer, these two attended a meeting with PKP in the company of Pauline Marois. The PQ leader also asked Mr. Bock -Côté to stand for this election, but he declined the offer.
Mr. Péladeau met with other chroniclers of his media empire, like the ubiquitous Richard Martineau, and his presence was noted at the book launching 'La laïcité, ça s'impose,' by Louise Mailloux, a cegep professor of philosophy and PQ candidate in Gouin .
Péladeau also sits on the board of directors of the Lionel-Groulx Fondation, which is funded by,among others, Quebecor and populated by many influential members of the sovereignty movement.
Mathieu Bock-Côté, Éric Bédard, Joseph Facal (who has always kept close to Pauline Marois ) all wrote for or placed prominantly in the Quebecor media empire. Not only people like Jacques Beauchemin, but also historian Frédéric Bastien ( The Battle of London) and Yvon Thériault, of the University of Ottawa , forming what a former PQ apparatchik called "the most influential intellectual group in Quebec "
"It's really a school of conservative identity, says a source. They firmly believe in the impact of a big player in the history of a people and cite de Gaulle as an example, who they view as a great helmsman. "
They apparently believed that person might be PKP , but the famous "fist in the air "and his willingness to "create a country" seem however to have had a counterproductive effect .
"PKP perhaps went a little overboard for St. Jerome, but had no choice but to "make a proclamation of faith" to calm the sovereigntist PQ left, uneasy over his arrival," says a source in Quebec. The arrival of PKP should have been a crucial step in the PQ counter-attack over identity and should have affixed a certain seal of prestige and legitimacy to their national aspirations .
According to a source who attended the discussions at the very highest levels in the Marois government, following the policy shift in identity it was decided that once a majority, the PQ would adopt the Charter as presented, without any derogation clause. It would no doubt be challenged and be beaten in federal court, which would provide a powerful tool for sovereignty.
That was the plan, but the reality for now is that every day, Pauline Marois must defend the spectre of a third referendum with the Charter relegated to a minor role in this campaign.Very interesting read....
And so readers a bit of levity after that.
Here is Quebec humorist Guy Nantel proving a point about the intelligence of the average voter.
Nantel is one of am excellent crop Quebec's of comedians, with a sarcastic wit that sets Quebec humour apart.
See you here. 8:00PM