François Legault in an enviable position as the Quebec election campaign approaches

François Legault’s victory in the 2018 provincial elections ushered in a new era in Quebec politics after nearly 50 years of federalist-separatist bipartisan rule.

Four years later, Lego and his coalition Avenir Québec are firmly in control, with polls suggesting Lego’s second majority win on October 3rd.

Experts cite a number of reasons to explain Lego’s runaway lead, including his popularity in the French-speaking world, divisions in the opposition, and the sustained recognition he gained during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most polls show Lego’s approval ratings in the mid-40% range. This is more than double that of his closest enemy, the Liberal Party. Days before the campaign kicked off on Sunday, poll aggregator website put Lego’s party at over a 99% chance of winning a majority government.

Valerie Anne Maheo, an assistant professor of political science at Laval University, said the election came after more than two years of a pandemic in which Legault was “omnipresent”.

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He was there every day giving press conferences. We saw him all the time and he was ruling by decree for health emergencies,” she said in a recent telephone interview. With discussions suspended, most of the opposition had new leaders, but struggled with visibility, she added.

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However, she said Lego’s rise and continued strength was not due to circumstances alone.

Maheo said the outgoing Quebec premier was able to take advantage of the new political climate that had begun to change even before his party was formed in 2011. For nearly 50 years, Quebec politics he defined by two competing visions. Quebec, federalism defended by the Quebec Liberal Party.

But as concerns about sovereignty fade, a more traditional left-right political divide is emerging. The change, she said, led to the left-leaning Quebec Solidaire, losing its position as a traditional party that favored her CAQ, which is center-right.

Lego’s nationalist approach to asserting Quebec’s political sovereignty while ruling out a referendum for independence appears to have acquired much of the base of the traditional Quebec party, Maheo said. She said it had successfully displaced the Liberal Party as the party seen as the strongest manager of the economy.

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As a result, liberals and PQ have struggled to redefine themselves under the new leadership of Dominique Engloud and Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, respectively.

“Lego has been very adept at avoiding this dispute between sovereignty and federalism,” Maheo said. “He said, ‘I’m not interested in that, I’m going to defend Quebec’s interests in any way.'”

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Daniel Belland, director of the McGill Institute for Canadian Studies, said Mr. Legault stands to benefit from a fragmented political landscape with four opposition parties with between 10 and 20 percent of the vote. According to him, most opposition parties appear to be in “defensive mode,” some of which have seen their perceived failure to protect communities against Bill 96, Quebec’s language law reform, leading to traditional It also includes the Liberal Party, which faces backlash from the English-speaking world.

The Quebec Conservative Party, which has emerged from obscurity under the leadership of former radio personality Eric Duhaim, appears to be the only opposition party to emerge, Biland said. But it is unclear whether the new Conservative support around Quebec City will lead to seats, he added.

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Belland said Lego’s approval ratings may have fallen from the height of the pandemic, but the prime minister has been hit by controversy, including the deaths of thousands of long-term care residents in the pandemic’s first wave, and the adoption of language reforms. Passage of Bill 21, which bans some civil servants from wearing religious symbols to work, which they noted has remained relatively intact.

These two laws preemptively invoke provisions notwithstanding Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protect against legal challenge, and critics say Lego is linguistically and religiously abusive. They accuse us of trampling on the rights of minorities.

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Verand said the key to Rego’s resilience lies in his mostly rural French-speaking base and strong support in his own caucuses. Beland said opposition to the laws on language and secularism was centered in Montreal, where CAQ won just two seats in 2018, and on October 3 to secure a second majority. You don’t have to win.

Mr. Belland said Mr. Legault’s unquestionable leadership in his party has allowed him to flounder at times, such as canceling short-term plans to tax those who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. It is said that it was possible.

“That’s when you realize you have room to change course if you want and you’re backlashing,” he said.

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Verando and Maheo said that while Lego was in a strong position before the vote, he also had weaknesses.

Belland said a new wave of the pandemic or worsening inflation could put pressure on CAQ leaders. Similarly, the opposition leader had never participated in a leadership debate before, and he said that one of them could become a star if he could win the support of the Quebec public on any issue. said.

Maheo said Lego will face tough immigration and environmental issues during the election. The party is not seen as an environmental leader and has been reluctant to raise its immigration goals despite continued labor shortages.

A major setback is possible, but Maheo says Legault’s strong lead makes it less likely.

“He’s so sure he’s going to win that he can virtually get away with making half-promises and get less involved in the debate debate,” Maheo said.

When Parliament was dissolved in the summer, Legault’s party won 76 seats, the Liberal Party of Quebec 27, the Solidarity Party of Quebec 10, and the Party of Quebec 7. Quebec’s Conservative Party had his one seat and the Independents had his four seats.

© 2022 Canadian Press

François Legault in an enviable position as the Quebec election campaign approaches

Source link François Legault in an enviable position as the Quebec election campaign approaches

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