Final Predictions: Quebec
BQ 54 seats (49%)
Lib 21 seats (34%)
CPC 0 seats (9%)
NDP 0 seats (5%)
Riding to Watch: Outremont
Jean Lapierre has been the laughing stock of Parliament Hill since becoming Paul Martin's Quebec Lieutenant. Lapierre represented Paul Martin's desire to cozy up to separatists, in the hope of sweeping Quebec. But Lapierre, while being a competent Transport Minister, has been a disaster as a political organizer and strategist, and the Liberals had to turn to Stephane Dion to save their bacon in 2004. Recent polls have Lapierre neck and neck in the riding, with a remarkable 32% combined support for the NDP and Green Party. No doubt, these are federalists who just can't stomach Lapierre. I'm going to predict this riding stays Liberal, but not by much.
The big news in Quebec this election has been the surge of the Conservatives. Not only will this win Jean Lapierre his referendum election, but it will also end the doomsday national unity scenarios of a Tory government without a voice in Quebec. Quebecers love a winner and are certainly hoping to get a voice in Cabinet.
Lawrence Cannon, Josee Verner, and Maxime Bernier are the three candidates the Tories have targeted from the start, and I expect all three of them to win. Jonquiere has gotten a lot of media buzz after the Liberal candidate kinda-sorta stepped aside, conceding defeat to the Tories. I also think Levis-Bellechasse, Megantic-L'Erable, and Lotbiniere-Chutes-de-la-Chaudiere (boy, that's a mouthful) could swing Tory. The problem the Conservatives have is that their organization on the ground is weak so they won't be as effective at bringing out the vote as the BQ. I'll mark them down for 6 seats, with each and every one of the winners heading to the Privy Council.
The Liberal campaign, once again in the hands of Jean Lapierre, has been rather...umm...not good. Coupled with some vote splitting with the Tories and I think the Liberals may be heading for a complete wipe-out outside of the Island of Montreal. I'm going to predict that either Jacques Saada or Marcel Proulx hang on, but I can't see any other seats outside of the Island staying with them.
As for Montreal itself, it's gotten to the point where you can list the Liberal MPs by name: Scarpaleggia, Cotler, Jennings, Patry, Dion, Pacetti, and Robillard are all safe. I know a lot of people think Paul Martin might lose his seat but that's probably a little far fetched. Frulla and Pettigrew are gone for sure but they should be able to hang on to a few other seats (like Lapierre's) here and there. Add it up, and I'll give the party which used to win 74 seats in La Belle Province, 11.
Finally, I'm going to give Portneuf to independent candidate Andre Arthur. Arthur is a former radio host and poll numbers show him in the lead. Perhaps he'll be the next Parliament's version of Chuck Cadman.
So, add it all up, and you're left with:
Bloc 57 (up 3)
Liberals 11 (down 10)
Conservatives 6 (up 6)
Independent 1 (up 1)