Tuesday, April 26, 2011

NDP in Quebec: Who are these prospective MPs?

With all the excitement/panic/drama surrounding the apparent NDP wave in Quebec, it's fair to wonder who might suddenly become the new crop of MPs from Quebec if polling data translates into seats in the House of Commons. I, for one, am very curious. Here in Guelph, the NDP ran fourth in the 2008 election, and even today, a week before the election, there is still no candidate bio on the website for the local candidate, Bobbi Stewart. I have no idea from the website who she is, other than the election preparedness chair for the local riding association.

If that's the case in Ontario, it's no surprise that speculation is rampant about the Quebec crop of candidates for the party. The Globe and Mail has started digging, and has turned up at least a handful of university students. I'm not surprised at all. When I volunteered for the local NDP candidate in Outremont in the 2004 election, I was rather surprised to discover that the entire provincial campaign was being run out of a single office on St. Laurent Blvd, and that most of the candidates for the province were in fact the campaign management team, based almost entirely out of Montreal, many of them university students, and most of them under thirty years of age. A quick glance through the list of candidates seems to indicate that this is again the case in at least a sizeable number of ridings.

As a person who genuinely would love to see the NDP replace the Bloc as the choice of Quebec voters, I'm hoping that some of the blue seats in that province will turn orange, and that the newly elected MPs will do a good job. It's just that nagging memory of the ADQ surge to become the official opposition in Quebec in 2007 that has me a little concerned of what could happen when a series of placeholder candidates suddenly become MPs.

Let's just say that I'm hopeful, yet concerned...

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At 11:15 pm, Blogger @temking17 said...

Good post!

I'm just North of you in Wellington. Our NDP candidate hasn't shown up to a single all candidates meeting, no one even knows who she is (evidently a UofG poli-sci student?)


Be nice if they picked someone who actually appeared to live in our riding...

Did the NDP parachute candidates into all riding races just to call themselves a national party? They don't seem to have had any intent in actually running for Wellington/Halton Hills, and have effectively hobbled the left vote by pointlessly splitting it.

If you're not going to run, at least withdraw and back another candidate (you know, one that actually shows up). It's not only dishonest, it's unsportsmanlike; shame on you NDP.

Full disclosure: I voted Green in advanced vote, but NDP would have been a possibility if they didn't treat my riding like a joke.

At 11:27 pm, Anonymous ck said...

You have good reasons to be concerned. I still advocate strategic voting.

I remember how Mario Dumont was pretty much a one man show. Other than perhaps Gilles Taillon, there were no grown ups in that party. not even Dumont--he ran that party like a petulant child.

Another thing one must remember about the ADQ. It was a small-c party; a sort of resurrection of Maurice Duplessis's Union Nationale. As such, it garnered seats mainly in rural Quebec and in and around Quebec City where folks tend to be right of center to begin with.

They were shut out of the island of Montreal. Yes, Anglo Montrealers of the West-Island are as far to the right as folks in Calgary are, but one thing that did keep them from voting for the ADQ: Dumont's ambiguous stand on the federalist v sovereignty question. This reminds us that the question is still a very important one to this day. Whether you're right or left in Quebec, the constitutional question must be solved and a party with any hope of winning office must have a clear stand on federalism or sovereignty.

Here, Jack Layton and Tom Mulcair are proving to be Bloc Quebecois-lite, with expanding Bill 101 to federal institutions and such. Tom Mulcair was even on CJAD with Tommy Schnurmacher telling a caller, categorically, that he believed that indeed the 'French language was in danger' in La Belle. Province. Scared Schnurmacher and his production team, that's for sure.

The NDP has at least one known separatist running for him--Rosemont-La Petite patrie Alexandre Boulerice. I'm pretty sure there are more. Two of them crossed the floor from the NDP to the Bloc recently. One lost his nom; the other running in Brome-Miss. You goin' to tell me that Rocheleau and Bogosta all of a sudden became separatists?

I've been looking at election prediction project and over at 308.com. The latter hasn't projected more than 2 seats in Quebec for NDP. The former, has 15 to close to call. But most of those ridings are in the small-c rural ridings where folks are separatist to varying degrees. I've lived in some of those places, enough to know the people. Mucho vote splitting will eat away at the Bloc as a protest vote, but will favour the Conservatives in those ridings. As such, I can see those ridings turning Conservative (Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavit-Eeyou, Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Richmond-Arthabaska to name but a few).

The ADQ could well make a come back if Francois Legault merges his new movement with them and they come up with a new name. Almost certain they could beat the PQ in next provincial election.

Should the NDP succeed, they won't get a second chance.

In fact, if they did (big if; not convinced it'll happen)somehow eke out a minority gov't, it would be so minimal, that it would require more than one party to keep them floating. I don't see the opposition conservatives floating NDP budget, do you?

At 12:13 pm, Anonymous Eamon said...

If those individuals win in Quebec you might get a replay of what happened in Ontario when Rae won his government - a party that is filled with people who are wholly unready to be members of parliament. At least the NDP wouldn't be governing with these folks.


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