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Polls, Politics and the Future

This morning the local French newspaper (called La Presse) released a new poll for 18-24 year old party affiliation/interest.  The result is both stunning and obvious; from the 500 young people who were asked, 34% would vote for the Liberal party, 23% each for the CAQ and QS and 16% for the PQ. What was obvious at my time in high school and college that the "cool and Hip" crowd supported the Parti Quebecois -- the party pushing for the independence of Quebec (maybe) is no longer true.  The Party Quebecois is GrandPa's party -- its no longer cool, and the people who run it are the same who were running it in the late 70s and early 80s!

The reality is that young Quebecers don't really see their future here -- 60% say that would like to work and live elsewhere!  Canada, the US doesn't matter -- they are considering a future (or at least dreaming of) that doesn't include Quebec and its "aspiration" to become a country.

For the PQ that is about to sit down for its first real discussion as to its future in about two weeks the poll has to be depressing -- first that the youth is no longer part of their support group, that 60% of young Quebecers consider the possibility of living elsewhere and that their major concern is the heath of the Quebec economy.

For the Liberals, if they play their cards right it could mean another decade in power.  With three opposition parties splitting the vote, the Liberals have a 5 year mandate to govern -- that could be easily be extended.  The CAQ could read some very positive outcome here, if they play their cards right they could see themselves as the true opposition to the Government -- for the next 18 month the PQ will be in full navel gazing mode -- with the race to replace the currently vacant leadership position.  As for Quebec Solidaire although they will be heart warmed that so many young people support their party, they are smart enough that an 18 year old who supports socialism (and a radical form at that) may not remain so when he/she enters the labor force and pays taxes...

What I think we are seeing is a new permanent shift in the role of Quebec in the Canadian federation.  It will take a while but I suspect that if Quebec is seen as a more engaged player in the federation then the resentment (that had been bubbling just below the surface for years now) will dissipate.  Already the rest of Canada has figured out that Quebec's stated dream of independence was the brainchild of too many journalists desire to sell copy!  The reality of the last election, the massive defeat of the PQ government after only 18 months in "power" is more telling than all the editorials that have been written.  The ballot box has spoken!

Now the next generation of voters are telling the pollsters that their future is not bound to the province!

On a side note, and rather depressingly the poll also showed the lack of knowledge about history -- and Quebec history at that.  Don't really understand how that happened, but it seems that young Quebecers know little about the history of the country in which they live -- it may have something to do with our education system I just don't know.


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