Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Remember When...

...Quebec elections actually mattered? From my vantage point, this one seems about as meaningful as your typical trip to the polls in Alberta.

With that in mind, here are some random thoughts on tonight's debate, transcribed as I (kind of) watch it.

8:08 pm: Pauline Marois takes her first two times speaking to complain about Charest calling a snap election. It's a bad sign when, come the debates, you're still hung up on that and have nothing relevant to talk about.

8:09 pm: Mario Dumont came right out in his opening statement promising mixed public/private health care...and he goes right back to it again now.

8:11 pm: Charest asks Dumont where he'd cut the 2 billion he's promising to cut. Dumont...doesn't answer the question. I vaguely recall an exchange like this hurting Dumont during the last election.

8:24 pm: It's interesting to see so much talk about health care, considering how thoroughly that topic was ignored during the federal election.

8:30 pm: Dumont: "when we all go back to the legislature, our parties will work together". Well, that's assuming there are three parties that actually wind up going back to the legislature...

8:42 pm: Is it just me, or does anyone else wish Jack Layton were here so that we could hear more about the kitchen table issues facing Quebecers?

8:46 pm: Marois: "The only person here who has faced an economic slow down before is me, when I was Finance Minister". Hey! She's cribbing Bob Rae's talking points!

8:52 pm: Marois: "It's your responsibility as head of state...". I'm not sure that's a good way to frame things.

9:06 pm: Marois and Dumont go apeshit over Charest calling the early election again. Do they really want to make this their big issue?

9:13 pm: btw, interesting trivia bit. If and when Charest wins, he'll be the first Premier since Duplesis to win back-to-back-to-back terms.

9:30 pm: Federalism! Woohoo! Now it gets interesting!

Marois says the Quebec nation resolution wasn't enough. Gosh, who could have possibly foreseen that it wouldn't satisfy the separatists?

All three want more powers for Quebec. Maybe we should give it to them because I'm sure then the separatists will be satisfied, right?

Dumont, for reasons only he knows, decides to bring up smoking and drugs. This annoys me, because there's no Andre Boisclair to crack jokes about. Get it? "Crack" jokes?

Charest then delivers a fantastic sound byte where he lists everything he's managed to soak down Ottawa for since he became Premier. It's kind of depressing in one sense, but the man is absolutely winning this round.

In Conclusion

Charest looked like a Premier. Marois looked like an opposition leader. And Dumont looked like some random guy who stumbled into the opposition leader's seat by fluke. It might have played differently to a Quebec audience, but I give this one to Charest, hands down.

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  • Marois just starts droning, "Monsieur Charest...Monsieur Charest...Monsieur Charest...Monsieur Charest...Monsieur Charest...Monsieur Charest..." whenever Charest starts speaking.
    All I hear in my head is, "Bueller...Bueller"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:56 p.m.  

  • I think your assessment is spot on. Charest won this hands down. I'd be surprised if Marois is considered to be the winner of this debate in the next few days. Marois lost decisively, especially in the form. She sounded annoyed, she kept trying to interrupt Charest and she didn't look like a leader. Charest was also better, I think, in framing the debate in ways that advantaged him, like in the health care discussion.

    In any case, even if it's a draw it is a win for Charest. With less than 2 weeks and trailing in all the polls by double digits, Marois needed a decisive victory.

    My prediction is that it will be a PLQ majority. This means at least 4 years before another provincial elections.

    By Blogger Victor Tremblay, at 10:38 p.m.  

  • Thanks for watching and reporting.

    It is funny how Quebec Elections no longer are greatly more important than Manitoba or British Columbia elections.

    One might almost think that the Canadian federation has grown up.

    By Blogger Jay Currie, at 11:10 p.m.  

  • I just cant imagine a leader's debate without someone dropping the name 'Ed Broadbent'
    That must have been sweet

    By Blogger kenlister1, at 2:06 a.m.  

  • According to a CROP/La Presse poll, we were both wrong. Marois won the debate for 38%, Dumont for 34% and Charest for 30%.

    But the internals of the poll are ugly. I talk about them on my blog but basically the sample is biased with 94% francophone whereas the real demographic weight is 79%. According to previous polls, the PQ is winning 39% to 36% for the PLQ among french speakers (but overall, the PLQ wins double digits). So it is not too surprising that a sampled biased toward french speakers gives more favorable results for the PQ.

    I am desperately trying to make sense of polls without Nate. It is hard.


    By Blogger Victor Tremblay, at 8:32 a.m.  

  • I'm sorry, but I think you're a typical anglo: u just don't understand.

    If you seriously thought Charest won, you obviously have little understanding of the language.

    People like you should abstain from commenting on what you obviously don't know anything about.

    And I say this as a Liberal who is a fan of yours.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:48 a.m.  

  • Julien - Like I said, it's not my first language and I wasn't paying close attention. Just my two cents and, given that debates re-enforce you opinions and that I really dislike the PQ, I'm certainly not the target audience.

    I'm not too surprised to be surprised on this one

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:39 a.m.  

  • Julien, perhaps you could enlighten us as to how CG is wrong.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:51 a.m.  

  • CG,

    donne moi un break.

    you should be cheered for making the effort. and, anyone who thinks an objective analysis of a political debate can be made such that there is a right answer and wrong answer to "who won?" shouldn't be commenting because they don't know what they are talking about.

    Dumont did best, by the way. But Charest won. Go figure.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 12:08 p.m.  

  • There's no such thing as typical anglo, just like there's no such thing as a typical franco or homo or woman or immigrant or black American. People like Julien just enjoy having others listen to their moaning and griping.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 1:41 p.m.  

  • I always thought that the reason one sees statements like "30% thought Charest won" was because, well, 30% of people thought Charest won.

    If 38% thought Marois won, that doesn't make that other 30% (or 62%) right or wrong, it just finds them in disagreement.

    We use the language of "winning" and "losing" the debate, but that's more of a shorthand for stating preferences: it doesn't establish factual error on the part of those not in the plurality.

    As for the strengths and weaknesses of each leader's position as laid out during the debate, there's plenty of room for further (umm) debate.

    We'll know more after election day, which represents actual winning and losing. Until then, I can't see anything wrong with objective opinions in support of any of the three - clearly, opinions are widely divided.

    By Blogger Paul, at 5:01 p.m.  

  • I too am curious what Julien's thought process is. Obviously he's a victim-type, which is boring - but as long as he's started, he may as well finish...

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 5:15 p.m.  

  • ...Quebec elections actually mattered

    1970: PLQ defeats the UN
    1973: Bourassa landslide
    1976: PQ win
    1981: PQ win
    1985: Bourassa back from the dead
    1989: Bourassa re-elected
    1994: PQ returns
    1998: PQ returns, but with a moral defeat in the popular vote
    2003: Charest defeats PQ for real.
    2007: Chares reduced to minority, first-ever in QC.
    2008: ???

    Versus, let's say, Alberta:

    1905: Liberals elected and stay elected for 16 years.
    1921: UFA elected and stay elected for 14 years.
    1935: Socreds elected and stay elected for 36 years, including Manning's terms making him the longest-serving elected leader in the free world.
    1971: Tories elected, and stay elected ever since.

    By Blogger WJM, at 5:31 p.m.  

  • I'm sorry, but I think you're a typical anglo: u just don't understand.

    Ah, yes, that's one sovereigtist chestnut I never hear of tiring.

    Perhaps we don't understand because your position makes no sense in any language

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:43 a.m.  

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