2007 Quebec election - William Matheson's Journal
Mar. 26th, 2007
11:27 pm - 2007 Quebec election
Well, they're having an election in Quebec tonight, and it looks like the Quebec Liberals (not affiliated with the federal Liberal party, but somewhat ideologically aligned) will win; but thanks to the surging ADQ they'll win only a minority - and Quebec hasn't had a minority government situation since 1886.
Even more interestingly, Jean Charest will lose his seat. [Update: No, he won't. As I type this he's ahead of the PQ fellow by almost 2,000 votes, and CBC has withdrawn their earlier declaration and have declared Charest elected. 2nd update: OK, everything's in, and he's won by just over 1,300 votes.] He can remain premier - there is precedent for that, most recently our 17th Prime Minister John Turner's premiership of 1984 where he did not have a seat in the House. If you're a Quebec Liberal who just got elected by a comfortable margin who is willing to step aside for your leader, here's your chance for brownie points by the ton! It's likely that they'll call a by-election for this purpose as soon as possible; without a seat in the National Assembly, Premier Charest will have to do everything by proxy. The members of the opposition parties will naturally have a field day pointing out that the Premier isn't present to answer their questions, so, again, expect a by-election ASAP.
I met Jean Charest in 1993 when he was running for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party (you might remember that Kim Campbell ultimately won this contest and became our first female prime minister). He came to the country crossroads of Pooles Corner, PEI, and spoke to the local PC crowd. Pretty much all of Eastern Canada seemed to be pulling for him, but Kim Campbell won, and led the PC party to... um, 2 seats. Before I was even old enough to vote, it was already too late to be a Red Tory. =( We've all had to, more or less, become Liberals - at least federally.
Charest was not only smart to switch to
provincial Quebec politics, but he played a significant role in the narrow (to be charitable) "No" victory in the 1995 Referendum.
Anyway, all this has larger implications for whether or not we'll have a federal election soon. Although the budget has passed, some like Garth Turner are saying a Charest victory means that we're "guaranteed" a federal election. The idea is for Stephen Harper to secure a Conservative majority now, while he's still somewhat popular.
And so what if he wins? Oh, probably more placative spending, less attention paid to environmental issues, and so forth. I don't think it'll effect our day-to-day lives in any significant way, but over the long term he'd be an expensive Prime Minister - he's expensive enough now! (I mean, look at this lousy Universal Child Care Benefit. The best thing that can be said about it is that it is "better than nothing." It's only good for families that don't require child care; some farmers, some stay-at-homes, and the rich. How is this 'system' better than the Child Care Agreements laboriously negotiated with the provinces before dissolution?)
Anyway, enough politics for tonight. I should either write my paper or go to sleep.