The Quebec electorate has shown just who is in charge, as should be the case in any democracy. Last night’s Liberal Party majority victory was the second step in a two-step process that started in September 2012.
At that time I pointed out that while the voters were supremely displeased with the Liberal Party, then under Premiere Jean Charest, they also weren’t exactly over the moon with Pauline Marois’ sovereignist Parti Quebecois.
So imagine this: the voters of Quebec held a huge GoToMeeting event in the autumn of 2012 and we came to the conclusion that the time for change had come. We agreed on a two-step process that began in September 2012 with an election to boot out Charest’s Liberal Party that was mired in accusations of corruption and growing student protests. However that left us only one viable option, the separatist Parti Quebecois, which was also less than ideal.
The message we sent was: Take a hike Mr. Charest, but don’t get too comfortable Madame Marois.
No worries, we’ll elect them with just a minority, meaning they won’t be able to enact into law any of their policies without co-opting another party to side with them. Within two frustrating years they will be chomping at the bit to form a majority and have their way, but probably will also have screwed-up enough that we can chuck them out and reinstate the Liberals, who by then will have a new leader.Think of it as a slap on the wrist, or in hockey terms a minor penalty.
Sure enough the PQ introduced a xenophobic Charter of Values, then called a snap election based on it, and then proceeded to run an inept campaign akin to something from the Keystone Kops. During the campaign’s 33 days the PQ was unable to shake-off the PQ=Referendum on sovereignty=political and economic instability harness.
Thus yesterday the other foot fell – step two – as the voters all but wiped-out the PQ in the process of returning to power the Liberal Party, now under the leadership of Philippe Couillard. The PQ made one mistake after another during the campaign, starting with miscalculating their popularity from the outset. Long a left-leaning party with strong union backing, the PQ’s slide began early in the campaign with the introduction of supposed superstar candidate Pierre Karl Péladeau, a media magnate and renowned union-buster (his companies have been responsible for 18 lock-outs to break unions). This move was met with a range of reactions, from raised eyebrows to outright derision from union leaders.
Things went from bad to worse for the PQ, ending with the total backfiring of their campaign and a Liberal majority government. Marois’ place in history is looking bleak.