Friday, March 16, 2007

Neck and Neck and Neck


Liberals 33%
PQ 30%
ADQ 30%

First of all, I guess I was wrong, wrong, wrong about Tuesday's debate. To me, it looked like Charest had won and Dumont was nothing more than a hyperactive squirrel (think Jack Layton in the 2004 debates) but it seems Quebecers saw it differently or, at the very least, the overpass stunt paid some dividends.

So this leaves the election outcome a complete crapshot. Any of the three parties could conceivably form what will almost certainly be Quebec's first minority government in over a century.

And that is what makes today's proclamation by Andre Boisclair so interesting:

The Parti Québécois would want to hold a referendum on sovereignty even if it forms only a minority government, leader André Boisclair said Friday.

Obviously, Boisclair would never get a referendum law passed in a minority government so he's just blowing smoke up the electorate's ass. But if he maintains that his raison d'être of forming government is to hold another referendum, it becomes hard to see how Mario Dumont could justify proping up a Boisclair government. If you don't believe in the first priority of the government, how can you say you have confidence in them? Especially after the two bickered to no end on Tuesday and have very little common ground anywhere in their platforms.

What I'm getting at is, let's suppose, the numbers above hold and we get a seat breakdown similar to what Hill & Knowlton predicts (two bad assumptions to make, but, whatever):

PQ 49
PLQ 43
ADQ 33

In such a situation, it seems to me that Jean Charest could make a very strong case to stay as Premier, governing with ADQ support. He'd have won the popular vote and could promise a more stable government than Boisclair.

I'm not sure if we'd see a formal coalition, but I do think that if the ADQ does win the most seats, an ADQ/PLQ formal coalition wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility. Mostly because Dumont doesn't have the talent to make a full Cabinet himself but also because he could probably find common ground with Charest on a wide range of issues.

So will it be Peterson/Rae deux? Peut-être....

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  • What is interesting about this poll is not only that it shows Charest's fall to 33 has probably in fact occurred, and that the ADQ and PQ are on the rise, but also that the green and QS numbers are falling through. Perhaps after the debate people who had been thinking about voting for the Greens or QS started to think again, and they weren't thinking about Jean Charest.

    By Blogger Braeden Caley, at 5:00 p.m.  

  • I still hold to my prediction that Boisclair will win.

    As to your coalition-workings point, here's what Dumont had to say:


    Dumont says he won't form coalition


    Speaking before Boisclair's referendum comment, ADQ Leader Mario Dumont said his party wouldn't form a coalition government to unseat the winner in the event of a minority government.

    "All the hypotheses such as a coalition between the second and the third to supplant the first. . .I will never play this game," he said north of Montreal.

    By Blogger Braeden Caley, at 5:08 p.m.  

  • BC; I think the Green and QS votes were kind of like Green votes federally...a parking lot. It's only natural that their numbers will dwindle when you have a hotly contested election like this.

    And I don't care what Dumont says now...I think if Charest wins the popular vote, you could make a strong case for him staying on as Premier. And if Dumont wins the most seats, then it doesn't fall into his 2-3 vs 1 scenario anyways.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 5:24 p.m.  

  • dumont said NO coalition is possible...

    he was asked at least 50 times today too...

    This poll is alarming...the Reform Party may win a Quebec election with no seats in Montreal...

    By Blogger Anthony, at 5:34 p.m.  

  • The provincial Liberal party should be abolished in Quebec.It could be folded into a new party with the ADQ, based on implementing the Allaire report and taking up Gilles Duceppe's idea of handing the GST over to Quebec.
    Charest could then return to Ottawa as MP for Sherbrooke.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 6:28 p.m.  

  • Re: braeden caley's post

    The ADQ numbers are definately on the rise (+6% in the latest poll), and the Liberals lost a little (-3%), but I don't see a PQ rise (+1%).

    Considering he's trying to scaremonger supposed soft nationalists into supporting the PQ because the big bad ADQ monster is nothing but Union Nationale in sheep's clothing, and considering he was supposed to have performed well in the debate, that's not a good sign.

    I've never seen so much referendum fatigue amongst the Quebecois as I do now, and it's showing all over - PQ at 30%, BQ at 36% (and falling fast)... unless Dumont or Charest make some sort of huge mistake, the PQ are looking at 3rd place in the popular vote, though their better riding organization should ensure 2nd place in seats. Remember, the federal budget isn't going to help the PQ in their case that Canada is evil.

    Then again, everything is so in flux who knows what will happen. I still think it'll be a Liberal victory, but a definate minority government in any case.

    By Blogger Montrealer, at 7:52 p.m.  

  • Quick correction to the above - the Liberals held at 33% [not a 3 point drop as I wrote], which was the same as the March 8 poll. That's probably the lowest they can go.

    By Blogger Montrealer, at 7:55 p.m.  

  • Boisclair wins, goes immediately for a referendum

    Dion gets elected because of his track record fighting searatists

    Dion enacts his Kyoto laws, pisses off Alberta and they threaten a referendum.

    Somebody calculates the massive drop in Equalization Payments if Alberta is out of the formula.

    Somebody in Quebec figures out a huge segment of their economy would disappear, voters think twice because they are forced to really, really think twice about where the bacon really comes from.

    Senator Charlie Watt (Liberal, Kuujjuaq) organizes another referendum (the first one in 1978 passed by 98%) to decide that if Quebec leaves Canada, the northern 1/3 of Quebec will exercise its aboriginal rights and leave Quebec. Aboriginal rights trump french rights

    Sanity prevails, Canada is saved.

    Dion decides being an egghead professor is more fun than being a PM and retires.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:00 p.m.  

  • Fred: "Dion gets elected because of his track record fighting searatists"

    HA HA HA

    Harper "leaks" his original act that Dion stole...

    good try

    By Blogger Candace, at 3:20 a.m.  

  • In Canada we just dont ask the second place finisher to form a government. If the PQ gets one more seat, Boiscalir will be minority premier.

    By Blogger S.K., at 11:00 a.m.  

  • s.b. - Not quite true. After the 1985 Ontario provincial election, the Liberals had the second-most number of seats, but became the government after reaching a formal agreement with the third-place NDP. Such a maneouvre certainly didn't hurt the Liberals, as two years later they called an election & won a large majority.

    By Blogger Wesley Ferris, at 12:13 p.m.  

  • wes is close, but forgot to mention that the Liberals were asked to form a government only after the Tories were toppled in the legislature at the first opportunity.

    By Blogger Brian in Calgary, at 12:54 p.m.  

  • As well, he wouldn't be "asked" to form a government; unless he resigns or loses the confidence of the Legislative Assembly, Charest could continue in office for as long as he wants. Resignations are perfunctory when the other guys win a majority, but the only way Boisclar could force Charest out would be to pass a non-confidence motion with Dumont's help.

    For example, William Lyon Mackenzie King continued to serve as PM even though he won fewer seats than the Tories in 1925, counting on Progressive support. Similarly, in 1957, the Liberals won the popular vote, but lost the seat count, and many wanted Louis St. Laurent to continue governing and seek an alliance with the CCF; St. Laurent declined to do so, but it was an option.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 12:57 p.m.  

  • CG,
    since when do you need to choose only competent people for cabinet?
    Look at Stelmach's group for instance.
    Better yet, how about Stockwell Day and Betty Hinton. Oops, i guess i cant include Hinton inspite of her claims.

    By Blogger kenlister1, at 6:13 p.m.  

  • Jean Charest, so far, has been uninspired and unispiring. Several pundits have deplored his mediocrity so far in this campaign, which they frequently qualify as his worst ever. He looks tired, he has to defend a below-average record, and he fails to tempt the electorate with his future plans. Charest was the Liberals' strength in the last election, but he is a burden to his party this time around, with his arrogant comments about his adversaries and his inability to appeal to voters. He better hope for Harper and Flaherty not screwing things up with their budget (which, thankfully for Charest, are probably pretty much the only people in the federal government that he'd want to count on), since I don't really see what could give his campaign a boost.

    In the event of a tie between the three major parties, I doubt that the Liberals will have much of a chance to form the government. A lot of their vote is "wasted" in ridings where he gets over 80% (and sometimes over 90%) of the vote, and his francophone vote is really, really low, which is always (rightfully) examined very closely by tacticians.

    So far, Charest's being Paul Martin in the 2005-2006 campaign: arrogant, tired, not having much to offer. The difference is that Martin had a pretty good record, whereas Charest does not. He's lucky that there's no credible federalist option and that the national issue is a deal-breaker for a very large number of federalist voters, or else he'd be heavily collapsing right now.

    By Blogger jeagag, at 7:27 p.m.  

  • A coalition is unlikely, but Charest could make a case to the Lieutenant governor that the ADQ is more likely to support his party on confidence issues than the PQ. In addition both Charest and Dumont are centre-right, although Dumont is further to the right than Charest, whereas Boisclair is the only major leader not on the right side of the spectrum. In fact it is quite possible Charest and Dumont vote the same way federally (Dumont did vote for Harper, while Charest won't say how he voted although many speculate he went for Harper).

    By Blogger Monkey Loves to Fight, at 4:13 p.m.  

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