In case you didn’t know, I’ve got more than a passing interest in Quebec politics. Although it doesn’t affect me directly, I try to keep tabs on what’s going in the province next door–y’know, in case I need to bring my passport the next time I visit. All kidding aside, there’s a very strong possibility that our neighbours could elect a Parti Québécois government for the first time in nearly a decade–though some doubt that seperation is the Parti‘s top priority nowadays–including folks like Jean-Martin Aussant, who left the PQ to start his own party that’ll make sovereignty priority numéro un. They’ve even created a catchy campaign song to the tune of the Francis Cabrel classic “Je l’aime à mourir” that expresses their views on the current provincial premier–but that isn’t enough to earn them a spot in the leader’s debates.
Y’see, Quebec’s political landscape has been about as varied as the United States’ over the past 40-odd years, alternating between the federalist Liberal Party and the separatist PQ since the early 70′s. In the absence of the NDP and the Conservatives on the provincial scene (though the latter has recently sprung up as a minor player, running candidates in a mere 26 out of 125 ridings), there’s been the occasional third-party uprising (ie ADQ circa 2007), but never have they had a real
menage lutte à trois in recent memory. The CAQ, comprised of ex-ADQ members and led by Air Transat founder François Legault (himself an ex-PQ cabinet minister) created quite a splash when they first hit the scene, and while they’re currently polling third, they stand to steal a few seats in Quebec City and the Montreal suburbs. It looks like whoever wins won’t end up with a majority government, in any case.
There are also a couple other parties with representation in the National Assembly, though they’ll do well to hold on to their current seats. Aussant’s Option nationale, as well as Québec solidaire, represented by Ami Khadir, don’t have enough seats between them to form a three-on-three basketball team, and were left out of the one-on-one televised debates amidst a bit of a brouhaha. If nothing else, they should divide the separatist vote in certain ridings, as both of their parties prioritize Quebec sovereignty.
Ah yes, the debates. While last night featured the four national party leaders (Québec solidaire took part, Option nationale, despite filing an injuction, did not) going at it on most major TV networks–including Radio-Canada and even CBC Newsworld–the Big Three now face off for some mano-a-mano action on the TVA network, stating with Charest v. Marois tonite. This could get hostile en ostie! I know that I’ll be tuning in…
(FYI, TVA is channel 101 for Rogers Digital customers in the GTA. These debates are set to air nightly at 9 pm.)