What now for the BQ?

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Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture
What now for the BQ?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Their vote swung as a...well, you know...to the NPD on Monday, but the underlying idea of the Bloc remains and it can't be assumed that Le Parti Jacques will be able to hold former BQ voters forever.

What chances do you think they have to revive in the future...what does the NPD have to do to keep the votes it took from them...and what series of events are most likely to revive separatism as the organizing principle of Quebec politics in the way that it was from the late 1980's until only a few years ago?

mike 1791

The BQ is finished (Mario Dumont wants them to dissolve so the four elected MPs can sit as independents) but the Parti Québecois will win the next provincial election as a counterweight to the absence of a Québec nationalist presence in Ottawa. This election result is bad news for Canada. First, this is the first time since Confederation that Québec is not part of a majority government; second, the right is in the ROC, the left is in Québec, a clear picture of the stark differences in core values; and, third, the pent-up anger against French-speaking Canadians in Ontario and the West is ready to blow and may be hard to contain (the bashing of official bilingualism has already begun on Sun TV). If Harper is not careful, we could end up with a much stronger separatist movement in Québec than we had when the Bloc was in Ottawa.

I can't imagine that a Province that did not sign the Constitution, that now lacks a meaningful Québecois voice in Ottawa (Layton and Mulcair notwithstanding) and that is clearly at odds with the neo-con value system will feel secure or positive about Canada. It is going to be a rough four years. It is even possible to imagine that English-speaking Québecois and recent immigrants who reject what the Harper Conservatives stand for may respond positively to the call to form a new country that shares their values. If Harper tiptoes toward re-instituting capital punishment, limiting choice or gay marriage, eliminating the gun registry, cutting CBC or arts funding, slashing employment insurance or weakening language laws, watch out - the PQ - not the BQ - will be there to stand on guard for thee.

gyor

mike 1791 wrote:

The BQ is finished (Mario Dumont wants them to dissolve so the four elected MPs can sit as independents) but the Parti Québecois will win the next provincial election as a counterweight to the absence of a Québec nationalist presence in Ottawa. This election result is bad news for Canada. First, this is the first time since Confederation that Québec is not part of a majority government; second, the right is in the ROC, the left is in Québec, a clear picture of the stark differences in core values; and, third, the pent-up anger against French-speaking Canadians in Ontario and the West is ready to blow and may be hard to contain (the bashing of official bilingualism has already begun on Sun TV). If Harper is not careful, we could end up with a much stronger separatist movement in Québec than we had when the Bloc was in Ottawa.

I can't imagine that a Province that did not sign the Constitution, that now lacks a meaningful Québecois voice in Ottawa (Layton and Mulcair notwithstanding) and that is clearly at odds with the neo-con value system will feel secure or positive about Canada. It is going to be a rough four years. It is even possible to imagine that English-speaking Québecois and recent immigrants who reject what the Harper Conservatives stand for may respond positively to the call to form a new country that shares their values. If Harper tiptoes toward re-instituting capital punishment, limiting choice or gay marriage, eliminating the gun registry, cutting CBC or arts funding, slashing employment insurance or weakening language laws, watch out - the PQ - not the BQ - will be there to stand on guard for thee.

He still has some Quebec seats and I bet every single one of them will end up in cabinate. Also strange as this sounds for some reason I that the fact that Quebec doesn't have much of a voice in the Harper government could give Jack more power and influence then people expect. A kind of good cop Jack with bad cop PQ deal.

adma

Watch for Maria Mourani to try an NDP party-jump...

mike 1791

I can't imagine Harper can have more than one Cabinet Minister from Québec; otherwise his caucus will be in open revolt. In any event, Harper will have to find the right balance as he will now have two official oppositions to contend with - the NDP in the House and the Parti Québecois in Québec City. The PQ will make sure to point out how awful Canada is at every turn. The Duceppe conclusion about the gun registry during the French language debate is a nice sample - "Québec does not share your values, sir." 

Unionist

mike 1971 wrote:
It is even possible to imagine that English-speaking Québecois and recent immigrants who reject what the Harper Conservatives stand for may respond positively to the call to form a new country that shares their values.

That is so true - and we don't need to speculate. I've heard it from progressive Anglo friends. I've heard it from callers on CBC's Radio Noon (Montréal). And no one should count on immigrants in Québec sounding like some of the Ontario or Alberta immigrants featured recently in TV news shows saying, "Yeah, we need stable majority government, I like Harper!"

It's a bit early to speculate about the BQ as an organization, but ultimately the BQ isn't and never has been relevant in and of itself. The same holds true, I would argue, for independence itself. Whether or not Québec can see itself, its potential, and its aspirations reflected within the federation, will determine the fate of the BQ and indeed of the federation. And that, I would also argue, is a question of politics (call it "values" if you like). If Canada turns in an even more extreme anti-worker, anti-women, anti-Aboriginal, imperialist direction, etc., then at some point in time Quebeckers, of all stripes, will ask themselves: "What's the easiest way out of this?"

 

JeffWells

mike 1791 wrote:

The BQ is finished (Mario Dumont wants them to dissolve so the four elected MPs can sit as independents) but the Parti Québecois will win the next provincial election as a counterweight to the absence of a Québec nationalist presence in Ottawa. This election result is bad news for Canada. First, this is the first time since Confederation that Québec is not part of a majority government; second, the right is in the ROC, the left is in Québec, a clear picture of the stark differences in core values; and, third, the pent-up anger against French-speaking Canadians in Ontario and the West is ready to blow and may be hard to contain (the bashing of official bilingualism has already begun on Sun TV). If Harper is not careful, we could end up with a much stronger separatist movement in Québec than we had when the Bloc was in Ottawa.

Can we be certain that's not what he wants? Can you imagine Harper leading or even lending his voice to the Non campaign? Jesus, I shudder to think.

Quebec is all that's keeping Canada on life support. Harper may be happy to pull the plug. We know what his base thinks of Quebec. "Get lost!" is a polite summation.

mike 1791

I agree. The call for a new Québec nation is already being heard and the appeal to the english-speaking and immigrant community has already begun. I heard an anglo friend say it was an intriguing thought to be part of creating a truly modern country where everyone, no matter where they come from, as long as they agree to live and work in French, can be pure laine - part of the founding people. The statue in the St.Lawrence will read:

"Give me your feminists, anti patriarchy, no-logo anti-racists, your gays, lesbians and transgendered, your egalitarians, environmentalists and byciclists, your atheists, unionists and socialists, and pot-smoking partiers, your swingers, anarchist performance artists, anti-materialist, anti-corporatist masses, all yearning to breathe free, send these, the wretched refuse of post-modern evangelical capitalism to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden shore." Well. it needs work but it will be a lot better in French.

mike 1791

I agree. The call for a new Québec nation is already being heard and the appeal to the english-speaking and immigrant community has already begun. I heard an anglo friend say it was an intriguing thought to be part of creating a truly modern country where everyone, no matter where they come from, as long as they agree to live and work in French, can be pure laine - part of the founding people. The statue in the St.Lawrence will read:

"Give me your feminists, anti patriarchy, no-logo anti-racists, your gays, lesbians and transgendered, your egalitarians, environmentalists and byciclists, your atheists, unionists and socialists, and pot-smoking partiers, your swingers, anarchist performance artists, anti-materialist, anti-corporatist masses, all yearning to breathe free, send these, the wretched refuse of post-modern evangelical capitalism to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden shore." Well. it needs work but it will be a lot better in French.

Slumberjack

Pretty good bargaining chip for PR.  This sucks, make it more fair, or we're out...all of us.

Caissa

They might go the way of the Bloc Populaire. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloc_populaire

 

The battle for sovereignity will continue to be fought in Quebec.

Aristotleded24

I'm not sure what will happen to the BQ, nor am I sure that is relevant. Sovereigntists now are going to shift their energies to the provincial scene and work to get Pauline Marois elected.

How will things go, I can't say. Marois was already set to unseat the unpopular Charest government anyways. The PQ lost 2 consecutive elections when the referendum question was brought up, and Marois brought the party back by not allowing the issue to dominate, so it seemed as if there was some "referendum fatigue" in Quebec. But if the anecdotes in this thread are true, who knows?

Sean in Ottawa

Quebec can make or break a party as fast as you can bake bread. The support of Quebec can never be taken for granted and must be earned. The NDP has a job to do.