These days you win a Quebec election by not being from Montreal
"Legault could have said, “Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who’s a notorious socialist.” Or “Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who’s so woke I don’t know what he’s talking about.” Instead he went with calling his rival a Montrealer. Legault, of course, grew up in Montreal and ran an airline there. But he hides it well. "
“Legault wasn’t just engaging in transit policy with his project. He was wearing a $6.5 billion Nordiques jersey.”
Another home run, Mr. Wells. There's a lot of parallels between what you describe and what's happening in Alberta.
In the UCP leadership race, Danielle Smith is openly saying that her proposed Sovereignty Act would allow Alberta to have the same kind of status in Confederation that Quebec does. There's also the split between Edmonton and most of the rest of the province, with Edmonton being a provincial NDP stronghold that's seen by many other Albertans as having the same left-leaning disdain for them that Montreal does to the rest of Quebec. Edmonton even used to be nicknamed "Redmonton" in previous decades because it was one of the few places in Alberta where Liberals had a good chance of getting elected. And just as people in Rouyn wouldn't want Montrealers telling them how to live but have no problem doing the opposite, it's arguably the same with Edmonton in some circles in Alberta.
The perception of Legault is he does what he said he would do and is willing to admit mistakes. So people vote for him. Speaking plainly is a gift and helped Ford also win. The Federal players would not do that.
I think that most contemporary Canadian politicians have a healthy level of comfort with hypocrisy but Legault pulls it off with real aplomb.
I don't keep up to date on Quebec politics the way that I should, considering that the Atlantic Provinces rely on Quebec for the land connection to the rest of the country. The dynamics here are quite interesting, as you've summarized in your post. It's not a fair comparison but I can't help but draw some parallels to some of the tactics and realities used by our neighbours south of the border, particularly the affluent insider switching to an outsider script. And obviously it can work well to win elections. And, who knows, maybe it's just the way politics always is.
But damn, that's an expensive jersey.
You don't mention the terrible turnout, but this definitely illustrates why it's there. I think we all felt it was a, how do you say, fait accompli? ;)
And Pontiac is the only Liberal holdout in west Quebec. They lost Hull and got smoked in the Gatineau riding that includes Chelsea and Wakefield. Part of their problem was candidate Caryl Green.
The tension between Montreal and the rest of Quebec (Quebec City and les regions) goes back to the nineteenth century. It was papered over at times, but never resolved. This was partly religious and linguistic, but it went much further. Briefly, the population outside of Montreal was less welcoming of strangers. By that I mean, not only immigrants, but Quebeckers from other parts of the province (as it was then styled). Today, there is still deep suspicion of the metropolis and its inhabitants. M. Legault played on that like a maestro.
Of course, the sense of superiority is reciprocated, in large part. But then I'm un p'tit gars de la Cote des neiges.
I really like this story because it's a real world manifestation of what I have lived for a very long time.
I live in NE Ontario and I can say with absolute certainty that the Big City Animosity is real. Not just as a identity conversation piece but as a grass root belief that we would be better off without their meddling.
George Pirie is the first Conservative to be elected in NEO since the Mike Harris days, and to achieve that a special Timmins only riding had to be created, where George was the mayor and a fairly popular one. Not even Harris, being from Nippissing, could convince the NEO residents that Toronto is running Queen's Park and is stacking policy in its favour, and to our detriment. The last time NEO didn't elect a plurality of NDP was when David Petersen was Prime Minister. It's been largely NDP since Bob Rae, as though we identify only with people who don't get elected in Toronto.
I think what's different about Ontario, is that you can't win without winning part of Toronto, even when the rest of Ontario votes for you. Also, Montreal is a lot more centralized and isolated from it's regions. There's not a lot of regions around Montreal that would truly suffer with Montreal's demise. On the other hand when you look at the GTA and it's surrounding communities, it's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. That makes it a lot easier to aggregate seats outside of Toronto just by catering to Toronto.
Quelle belle analyse! Paul Wells a mis en mots ce que les Montréalais ont vécu pendant la campagne électorale. Cette forme de rejet de Montréal, ce n'est pas digne d'un premier ministre, mais c'est quand même ça qui se passe. Lors de la première élection de Legault, j'ai pensé que la CAQ allait gouverner sans Montréal. Maintenant, je me dis qu'avec le discours ambiant, nous serons chanceux s'il ne gouverne pas contre Montréal.
We might be in for a melodrama soon between Trudeau and Legault, arrogance is their middle name.
"The L left-of-NDP Québec Solidaire have almost no presence outside Montreal." well, there are those two seats in central Quebec City which surprise me. Quite different versus how they vote federally.
I am chastising myself for not signing up for this newsletter earlier Paul!
Excellent analysis of the electoral situation in Quebec.