Election in Quebec: Why the rest of Canada should care


Quebecers will vote on October 3, with the incumbent Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) dominating in the polls and expected to win another majority government. With less than four weeks to go before the election campaign, here’s how the race — and the results — could affect the rest of Canada.

A recent Leger poll places the CAQ well ahead of its competitors, with 42% of respondents saying they would vote for the incumbent party for another term. This compares to 17% for the Liberal Party of Quebec, 15% for Quebec solidaire, 14% for the Conservative Party of Quebec, and finally the Parti Quebecois and the other parties trail with 9% and 3% respectively.

Meanwhile, the CAQ is operating off its four-year record, so Quebecers, the federal government and Canadians can expect more of the same from la belle province under Premier Francois Legault, according to Daniel Béland, professor of political science and director of the Institute of Canadian Studies at McGill University.

Béland told CTVNews.ca that when it comes to Legault’s relationship with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a resounding victory for the CAQ is probably not something the federal Liberals are looking forward to, especially because the former Minister encouraged Quebeckers to vote Conservative in the last federal election.

Legault also focused on increasing Quebec’s autonomy during his last term and intends to continue on this path, Béland said.

He added that while there are unlikely to be any big surprises in this election, he is watching to see how strong the CAQ’s victory will end up being.

“That could sound the alarm bells among the Liberals,” Béland said. “It would not be good news for Justin Trudeau to see the CAQ become even stronger.

A point of contention is the difference between the immigration policies of Quebec and Canada. Legault told The Canadian Press he plans to maintain the province’s same immigration targets – about 50,000 a year – to meet Quebec’s “integration capacity” and protect the French language, while qualifying Trudeau’s immigration policy of “extreme”.

Béland called the difference between federal and provincial goals with Legault as premier a “mismatched vision.”

Another issue is Quebec’s controversial Bills 21 and 96. The first is the province’s secularism law, which prohibits public servants from wearing religious symbols at work, and the second is its language law, which affirms French as the official and common language of Quebec, and seeks to increase its use in public places and in the workplace.

Pearl Eliadis, a human rights lawyer and associate professor at McGill University, told CTVNews.ca that the two pieces of legislation – and the CAQ’s use of the notwithstanding clause to protect them from legal challenges – show a “unilateral attempt by the CAQ to change our fundamental charter and constitutional values” and a “push and pull on the constitution”.

“I think it’s important to have a long-term view,” she said, explaining that this is neither the first nor the last time that a province has tried to meddle with the Constitution.

“If this becomes the norm, if this becomes the way we do business politically, I think the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms could quickly become much less relevant than it has been since 1982,” Eliadis also said. .

At the same time, another election is taking place: that of a new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Béland said it would be interesting to see how the presumptive frontrunner, Pierre Poilievre, reacts to candidates in the Quebec election if he wins the leadership of the federal Conservatives.

On the one hand, Poilievre and Legault both hold populist views, Béland explained, but he’s more interested in seeing whether fourth-place Quebec Conservative leader Eric Duhaime wins enough seats to be a good ally. placed for Poilievre, for which he is known. more than two decades.


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