Thursday, May 24, 2007


An interesting game of chicken is developing in Quebec, with both the ADQ and PQ promising to vote against Charest's budget over the fiscal imbalance solving tax cuts. I'm sure someone will blink in this one, probably Charest, since a defeat at this point would probably mean Mario Dumont taking over as Premier.

Of course, given Harper's talking points over the past year, this begs the obvious question: Was all that money for Quebec in Flaherty's budget intended to help defeat the most federalist Premier from Quebec in Stephen Harper's lifetime?

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  • I dont know about you Dan but I was THRILLED to hear that Quebec now has the fifth lowest tax burden in the country courtesy of the rest of the country. Merry Christmas! Im sure ordinary Canadians are pleased to know that their hard earned tax dollars have gone to a good cause... making someone elses taxes lower than their own.

    By Blogger KC, at 11:43 p.m.  

  • KC, that money was shovelled to Quebec by Harper to buy votes. It is only coincidence that the tax burden was lowered.

    Harper has been quick to dump Charest as a dance partner.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:03 a.m.  

  • Buying votes in Quebec is not the exclusive domain of Tories. The last time I looked, both the Liberals and the Cons have been proud purveyors of selling out to Quebec since Christ was a cowboy.

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 4:52 a.m.  

  • "since Christ was a cowboy"

    Hmm... is that a George W. Bush reference?

    By Blogger Mickie, at 10:20 a.m.  

  • ya but only the Liberals can claim that they specialize in buying votes in the Maritimes as well as Quebec.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:39 p.m.  

  • I'm sure someone will blink in this one, probably Charest, since a defeat at this point would probably mean Mario Dumont taking over as Premier.

    You could be right. On the other hand, Charest might be willing to let Dumont become premier for a few months because he doesn't think the ADQ leader is ready to govern, and wants the voters of Quebec to see proof of that.

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

  • charest wont back down

    By Blogger Antonio, at 1:12 p.m.  

  • The other question - if there is an election now, does that mean Boisclair is still PQ leader?

    They may be able to get Marois in by caucus vote (the separatists seem to adhere most closely to the old Westminster practice of caucus selecting leaders, not the party membership).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 2:16 p.m.  

  • Perhaps it will be the PQ who backs down considering they are leaderless? It would be pretty hard for them to vote for a tax cut but maybe they'd pull a Harper circa Spring 2005 and abstain?

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 2:50 p.m.  

  • It would be pretty hard for them to vote for a tax cut but maybe they'd pull a Harper circa Spring 2005 and abstain?

    nbpolitico, this is an option I hadn't thought of before. I think this scenario is more likely than the scenario that has Charest backing down.

    By Blogger Brian in Calgary, at 3:07 p.m.  

  • somebody will back down, probably the PQ because they have the most to lose. charest has to show that he's not a eunich.

    By Blogger Clayton, at 3:15 p.m.  

  • Well, from a game theory perspective, whoever has the most to lose should back down. Dumont becomes Premier if the budget is defeated (the LG should ask him to form government at the very least) so obviously they'll stick to their guns.

    The PQ could quickly annoint Marois if there's an election, or just back a Dumont Premiership. It's not a great situation for them, and they also lose the least by flip-flopping.

    Charest has the most to lose if things stay on track, but he also has the most to lose by flip-flopping on this. Maybe he's fine with Dumont as Premier and then an election in a'd depend if he thinks he can hold on to his party and caucus over that time period.

    Interesting times...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 6:24 p.m.  

  • You guys clearly over-estimate Jean Charest if you think he is looking two steps ahead.

    By Blogger Samir, at 11:14 p.m.  

  • Poulet!!

    I think that the PQ will blink first. Charest will get his budget passed.

    Dumont will look like the option. PQ will look like the limp noodle.


    By Blogger Tomm, at 1:28 a.m.  

  • If this goes to an election, I would have a hard time seeing Charest doing much worse than last time. The ADQ won, in part, with its economic reform proposals - the tax cut is aimed at those kinds of people. Charest did so badly among Francophone voters in the last election that he is down to his core, and has little to fear from an election.

    The ADQ might get a chance to govern (that in itself would be bad for them, because they aren't ready and they know it). If an election is called, they stand to lose the most, I reckon, since their support is largely borrowed. With a stronger PQ under Marois, and Charest waving around tax cuts, they will have a tough time.

    My prediction: Dumont balks... of course my prognostication skills suck.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 2:05 a.m.  

  • First, most provinces received extra funds from the Harper Conservatives. All of them should have given the money directly to their taxpayers. Only one did. If there's scorn to be handed out, it should be to the provinces which kept the extra money for themselves.

    Second, I would agree that Charest could hold out: the ADQ did surprisingly well in the last election, and I'm not convinced that all voters see this as a good thing. They may well have a difficult time repeating the result. And if the ADQ and PQ force voters back to the polls so quickly, who's to say that the electorate won't work harder to give one party (presumably the Liberals) a majority - to avoid such shenanigans, since the other parties are proving themselves incapable of working for Quebec.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 5:24 p.m.  

  • I think that the PQ wants to go in election the most. It doesn't think it can sink any lower, so they have everything to gain.

    As for Dumont, I'm not completely in agreement with CG about the LG just handing over power to him easily, for two reasons. First, it's not been seen often in Canada, and never in Québec. However, the main reason is that the LG, in order to do that, would have to be convinced that the ADQ will be able to get its budget passed, therefore needing helpfrom the PQ. However, the PQ would never do that, both because they have very few similar points with the ADQ (other than nationalism), and because they have the most to gain from the debacle of a potential ADQ government. I don't think Dumont will want to take power right away, but if he did, I'm sure we can expect a handful of unelected ministers.

    That leaves Charest. I honestly don't see how he'll survive this. If he goes ahead and we have an election, I don't see how he'll be able to retain power - he is amazingly low in the polls. However, he's not the kind of guy to back down. He'll defend his ideas to the end, no matter how ill-advised, no matter how unpopular, like the Orford fiasco, which he abandoned when it was much, much too late.

    The PQ, with a hastily appointed Pauline Marois (I'm sure they'll take the necessary steps to appoint her soon in case of election), is the party that, in my opinion, clearly has the most to win from an election. With Boisclair out of the picture (hosertohoosier: the interim leader is François Gendron, and he's been very talkative as of late; also, Boisclair was elected through the membership, and the PQ has a great grassroots tradition, a phenomenal membership, it's a very "popular" party), the PQ looks really good.

    My bet is on the Liberals announcing a few changes to satisfy the PQ. They won't have a choice if they want to survive. They'll never satisfy the ADQ; the budget is very close to the ADQ's traditional demands, the ADQ is nearly rejecting its own budget.

    By Blogger jeagag, at 5:38 p.m.  

  • By Blogger alex, at 9:46 p.m.  

  • I think Charest will blink first and it seems clear the ADQ and the PQ think so too. I doubt any f hem are chaffing for another election so soon.

    OT: I was driving around Calgary Elbow today...Cheffins signs everywhere.

    By Blogger Ian, at 12:54 a.m.  

  • Thanks so much for your article, very helpful info.

    By Anonymous, at 11:17 a.m.  

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