Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Similarities: The US Republican Party Vs. Partie Quebecois

Last two days remind me of the days following Obama's re-election to the utter astonishment of the GOP and its supporters -- as a side note I viewed Mitt (documentary on Netflix), and the opening sequence where Mitt "jokes" that maybe he should write a concession speech (and find Obama's direct phone number) is telling as to the GOPs complete surprise as to its defeat.  It is evident that the PQ here too was stunned as to the popular rejection of its ideals and objectives.  18 months ago, the PQ was elected with about 31% of the popular vote, this time around they had around 25% of the support of the electorate -- its worse ever defeat.

The GOP and the PQ had the same reaction: The people didn't understand us, we compromised too much, we need to get back to our roots and be clearer. The PQ has decided that the people though they were too timid in their objectives of separation. This inability to "hear" the popular verdict, blinded by their own analysis discussed endlessly within a closed environment where outside opinions are automatically rejected as heretical.

Before the election, pollsters indicated that there were three important themes to the population: the economy (jobs), education and healthcare, separation and Quebec's value charter (e.g. if you are muslim you are bad) were small blips on the electorate's radar .    The PQ ran its campaign on value charter (badly) and separation (unintentionally) but actually didn't talk about the economy, education or healthcare.  My own view is that Quebecers are tired of the PQ insistence on creating conflicts with our neighbours .

Unfortunately for the PQ, the ideal of separation only finds strong endorsement from the baby boomers -- those who experienced the very real and hurtful segregation that was practiced here in Quebec where the "Anglos" ran the show.  The PQ's single largest strategic error was to introduce bill 101 (the language charter) because the one "in your face" item of segregation was that in Quebec power spoke english -- blue collars spoke French!

Young Quebecers (born in the late 60) came of age in a "country" where French is exclusively spoken. Where the anglophone media (TV movies) is inexistent (all movies are translated into French as are TV series).  Young Quebecers live on the Web -- make no border distinction, and really have no sense of limitation as to their future (a large percentage of population lives their entire life within 60km from where they were born).  Young Quebecers worry about getting jobs, a good education (their parents anyway) and a healthcare system that works -- we just have to look at our American cousins to see how screwed up and frightening getting sick in America can become.

The average age of the PQ's supporters is 55.  Younger Quebecers supporters equality and social justice (I know how it sounds...) will probably gravitate to Quebec Solidaire which in its heart is really a socialist party.  Internal tension within the PQ between the hard and soft separatists will explode and the party will splinter.

Finally, several friends have recounted that their children's schools, to promote political participation, regularly run moot elections -- with all four parties represented.  The PQ was usually in 3rd or 4th place.  If we had run such moot elections in my time 90% of the vote would have been for the PQ -- private school or not!  Today, Quebec's youth is focused on social justice (QS), and then the usual left right (Liberal & CAQ) split.  The thematic of the PQ (which was the coolest bunch when I was in high school) are just not relevant to today's Quebec youth -- to me the final blow.


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