Quebec City Municipal Election – The Difference Between Vision and Ambition

Quebec City Municipal Election – The Difference Between Vision and Ambition

Labeaume2With polls now closed for nearly 24 hours and our re-elected mayor firmly back in the saddle, it’s easy to say the results of our municipal election were predictable… because, let’s be honest, they were.  That makes any analysis of the campaign, after the fact, seem like a moot point.  That dismissal, I feel, would miss an important factor of this election, and more generally, of the people of Quebec.

In many ways, Démocratie Québec’s approach to the election was flawed from the start.  The overriding message they projected during the campaign was that David Lemelin would do things differently than Régis Labeaume… this in a city where polls regularly confirm that Labeaume’s way of doing things is overwhelmingly supported by the population.  While politicians shouldn’t be afraid to fight an uphill battle, it’s poor strategy to purposefully position yourself to fight one… yet that’s exactly what Démocratie Québec did from day one.

I can’t help but feel that such a maneuvering blunder is a direct result of the approach David Lemelin himself took to the campaign, which showed a stark contrast to the Labeaume.  There’s absolutely no doubt that David Lemelin is a man of exceptional ambition.  I’m absolutely not saying this as a criticism of M. Lemelin – ambition is the fuel that drives good people to do great things – and it was honestly refreshing to see Lemelin so outwardly confident that his place was in the mayor’s office, even in the face of those odds.  Lemelin’s campaign, arguments, debates, and speeches all made it very clear that Lemelin’s goals were firmly on becoming the mayor.

However, Régis Labeaume wasn’t arguing for his place at City Hall – he was arguing for his vision of the future of the city.  To Labeaume, being the mayor was not the end goal, it was merely the means to tackle a much greater, much more long-term problem.  Where Lemelin had immediate ambition, Labeaume had long-term vision.  Where Lemelin offered a muddled message of the future direction of the city, Labeaume offered a clear path and long-term heading.  Attacking unions is commonly thought of as political suicide in Quebec, but Labeaume likely also knew he was one of the only people in the province with the necessary popular support to launch an attack on the social costs of retirement benefits and be re-elected on, or possibly even despite, his stance on the issue.  Unlike Lemelin, Labeaume wasn’t campaigning merely to be Quebec City’s mayor – he was gambling for a strong mandate to attack a very real long-term issue in the city’s finances, without shifting the burden onto taxpayers and without slowing down the city’s phenomenal cultural, technological, and economic growth.  Quebec City also isn’t the only city facing this problem – his gamble might just pay off for the entire province.

If nothing else, this election showed us the difference between a man with ambition, and a man with vision.  The people of Quebec made their choice accordingly.

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About the author:

Farnell-Morisset_BiogFarnell Morisset is passionate about discussing (among other things) the issues of modern social identity for many Québécois who, like him, feel deeply connected to the Québécois nation and culture yet do not identify with the traditional francophone non-practicing Catholic nationalist image.

It is with this in mind that he contributes to LifeinQuebec.com as a valued member of our in-house writing team.

See other articles by Farnell Morisset

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