Thank God for the CAQ, Says Peter

Thank God for the CAQ, Says Peter


By Peter Stuart

Well folks, despite the recent poll, which shows Jean Charest’s Liberals ahead by a slight margin, I think it’s safe to say that after nine years of incumbency, most Quebecers are pretty much ready to vote for anybody but the Liberals just to get rid of Jean Charest.

I’ve been speaking with friends and colleagues, both French and English, and even the dyed-in-the wool French-speaking federalists who are pro-English and anti-separatist are giving me an ‘anybody-but-Charest’ message.

The problem is that this will motivate people to either vote PQ and give ammunition to the separatists to get back in and hold another vote on secession, of which Pauline Marois insists she’s in control of the agenda as to the where, when, how, and why of such an animal will take place. That or people will vote CAQ and split the usual PLQ/PQ vote down the middle which will either allow the CAQ candidate to get in, or, if it’s in a closely-contested French-language riding, where it could go either way, could give the advantage to either the PQ or the PLQ, depending on the nationalist slant of the riding, the personal popularity and local appeal of the candidates, or local  issues being perceived as being better defended and promoted by one or another of the candidates. 

Something else which could muddy the waters is the multiplicity of fringe left-wing parties this time around. The left in Quebec, as is the case most everywhere, has severely splintered into many cells, including, in this case, Québec Solidaire, and Option Nationale, just to name a couple. QS is now running candidates in all ridings in the province this time around, making the possibility of drawing away some of the more militant left-wing/secessionist voters away from the PQ. 

So there will definitely be a lot of vote splitting this time around in our somewhat antiquated ‘first past the post’ British-style electoral system. What seems to be certain is that the CAQ, as a third party, seems to be attracting enough of the soft-nationalist support on the one hand, what with its large contingent of imbedded ex-PQ and ADQ candidates and rank and file members, as well as enough pro-business, right wing supporters who also may have previously supported ADQ on the one hand, or the Liberals on the other, that they will certainly bleed off enough votes from both the Liberals and the PQ, preventing either of them from getting a majority government. 

So with dissatisfaction with nine years of Liberal rule at an all-time high, and Quebecers feeling as equivocal as ever about secession, especially in light of many Quebecers’ high standard of material prosperity in places like suburban Montreal and Quebec City, resulting to a large degree from our continued belonging to Canada, it just may be that François Legault and his CAQ party may end up being the ‘stopgap saviour of Canada’ for the foreseeable future, preventing Pauline Marois’ PQ party from getting a majority government and thereby preventing her from being able to claim that she has a clear mandate from the people of Quebec to hold another vote on secession. 

So François Legault, I predict that on September 4, 2012, patriotic Canadians everywhere will salute you in at least one way shape or form, for at least having given our long-suffering country the opportunity to at least die another day.

Such is the lot of the citizens north of the 49th parallel in the distinct Society called Québec. So remember:

September 4th, 2012, go vote!!!

About the author:

Peter Stuart is a freelance writer based in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
He has a degree in Canadian Studies from the University of Ottawa.
He has written Op-Ed pieces for the last ten years for publications including: Le Soleil, La Presse, Quebec Chronicle Telegraph and Impact Campus.
Peter writes in both French and English, and and has published his first book, entitled ‘The Catholic Faith and the Social Construction of Religion: With Particular Attention to the Québec Experience’.

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