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A moral victory does not exist

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This is a defeat that the Parti Québécois did not need.

He has officially just lost his only riding in Greater Montreal.

With the exception of Joliette, the PQ is completely wiped off the map west of the Capitale-Nationale. He has only six ridings left northeast of Quebec. René Lévesque’s large formation looks like a regional party this morning.

In 2018, the PQ won 30.80% of the votes. This time, he almost got the same percentage: 30.06%. The drop is minimal. Even if it is a “moral victory”, it does not change the result.

The PQ was desperately looking for good news to put the brakes on and break the pessimistic discourse that weighs down the morale of the troops and harms recruitment.

Its leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon took the shock with dignity on Monday evening. With Marie-Victorin who has just fallen, he sees the extent of the work that awaits him in Bourget, in the east of Montreal, where he will present himself in October.

“Circumstances will be different in six months,” he said, trying to convince himself.

I can’t too much participate in what looks like a contest to find the exact date of the death of the party. It still has convinced militants and talented deputies. Before predicting their defeat, it would be necessary to analyze their ideas. But let’s say that the atmosphere must not be great this morning.

The PQ had however found a good candidate, Pierre Nantel. He had been a local federal deputy and commented on the news in the Quebecor media. In addition to this notoriety, he could bank on the PQ and Bloc organizations, which understood the importance of this battle.

Admittedly, his stint with the Greens and then with the New Democrats may have mixed voters. But this is also the case for Shirley Dorismond, former vice-president of the FIQ, the nurses’ union.


PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

Shirley Dorismond and the CAQ received nearly 35% of the votes.

Barely a year ago, she severely criticized François Legault, in addition to campaigning for the recognition of systemic racism.

She can now try to change the CAQ from the inside, where she will be one member among 75 others. His arrival should enrich the debates in caucus.

Marie-Victorin differs a little from the other ridings. It is more French-speaking and less wealthy. It also has significantly more tenants than the Quebec average. However, housing does not seem to have been a decisive subject.

According to strategists from different parties I spoke to, the campaign resembled the debate in the National Assembly. With health first.

As the party in power, the CAQ had a huge advantage. She was able to hold the election at a time that suited her: when most of the health measures had been abandoned and just after the budget, which had the merit, among other things, of giving back $500 to no less than 98% of the citizens of Marie. -Victorin.

The CHSLD Herron scandal, however, has come back to haunt the caquists in the last few days. Monday morning, François Legault was angry. He accused his opponents of engaging in “smearing” while lowering expectations.

However, the CAQ has invested heavily in this campaign.

Because of the low turnout, the by-elections are above all an organizational battle. In the 2016 partial, barely 25% of registered voters had voted. The goal was therefore less to woo the undecided and less politicized than to get its sympathizers to vote. It worked. This time, the participation rate was 36%. Even if it is low, it remains a notable increase.

For the past few weeks, Vieux-Longueuil has looked like a caquiste photo studio. On Twitter, MPs and political advisers showed themselves there going door-to-door with Mme Dorismond. They also visited residences for seniors, which was not the idea of ​​the century at the start of the sixth wave.

Why so much effort? Because the CAQ’s plan is to replace the Parti Québécois. And also because at the dawn of the next election campaign, she did not want to give the impression of vulnerability.

Mr. Legault knows that his party will not always remain so high in the polls, but he hopes that the descent will be slow and smooth.

However, he will have to make sure not to have his head too much in the clouds. From such an altitude, it is easy to give in to arrogance.

However, I would be careful before drawing too many conclusions from this by-election. Of all partial, in fact.

In December 2011, the Liberals won easily in Bonaventure, with 49.5% of the vote. Nine months later, the result was reversed. It was the PQ who won with a lead of more than 12 percentage points.

In Argenteuil, the PQ caused a surprise in 2012 by ending four decades of Liberal rule. The fall of this fortified castle presaged a resounding victory for Pauline Marois. However, she had to contact a fragile minority government the following fall.

The CAQ victory in Louis-Hébert in 2017, which hinted at the rout of the Liberals of Philippe Couillard, is more the exception than the rule.

That said, since the start of its mandate, the CAQ has had a perfect record in by-elections (Roberval in December 2018 and Jean-Talon in June 2019). That must mean something.

The Liberals had lost both of those elections. It is now up to the PQ to bite the dust. The old parties are in freefall. Here as in France, moreover, as shown by the crushing of the Republicans and the Socialists.

Solidarity can rejoice to have beaten the conservative candidate, the actress Anne Casabonne. They received fewer votes than in 2018, but just a little more than their national support in the polls.

Marie-Victorin not being fertile ground for Eric Duhaime’s party, he should not be too disappointed by this result. Especially since he defeated a recognized party in the National Assembly: the Liberals.

The PLQ finished fifth, with a starving 7% of support. The PQ sinks at the same time as its historic enemy.

Times are cruel for the old parties.

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