Montreal, Quebec election 2012

An outside view of Quebec’s election

A recent editorial in The New York Times casts an interesting light on Quebec’s recent election. The writer, Francisco Toro, makes some interesting observations most of which I agree with fully. the only sticking point is:

…Quebec needs a fresh start, and it is getting one.What it doesn’t need is to reopen the old, divisive debate on sovereignty. And with the PQ denied a majority, it probably won’t get that.

True, a referendum may never occur, but as we have seen before, the threat of one can be enough to make financial markets and investors jittery.

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Montreal, Politics, Quebec election 2012

Quebec voters and parimutual bettors

sulky

Wikipedia

Not so long ago Blue Bonnets was a horse racing venue in Montreal and not the current large concert setting and shopping mall. The system used to determine payouts was parimutual betting not fixed odds betting.

In a nutshell, in parimutual betting  the final payout is not determined until the pool is closed – in fixed odds betting, the payout is agreed at the time the bet is sold.

Therefore the payout is determined by the bettors. The more bets on a certain horse, the shorter the odds on that horse and the smaller the payout . there are some long shot winners but overall the betting public is usually reliable.

What does this have to do with the recent Quebec election? While the Parti Québécois won a minority position on a platform that included strengthening language laws, The Gazette reports that:

Three-quarters of Quebecers say premier-elect Pauline Marois should meet with English-speaking leaders as soon as possible to calm a rise in language tensions in the wake of the provincial election, according to a poll by Léger Marketing.

It is an old horse betting saying that you should appreciate that the betting pool is usually right in determining payouts – bet on a long shot if you want, but be warned. It would be wise for Pauline Marois to heed the suggestions of the citizens of Quebec.

The survey reveals that 57 per cent of Quebecers are worried about a renewal of language tensions in the province, with that concern crossing linguistic lines. Eighty-four per cent of anglophones, 76 per cent of allophones and 52 per cent of francophones expressed worry about the prospect of language strife.

Language issues and sovereignty are long shots not worth considering!

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Montreal, Politics, Quebec election 2012

Canadian election system skews results; statesmanship needed

Elections Canada

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s very close Quebec election some are looking at the way we vote and suggesting it is time for a change. Proportional Representation (PR) seems to be on many people’s minds. Consider that in 1998, the Parti Québécois won a majority under Lucien Bouchard even though the Liberals won the popular vote by one per cent.

In The Gazette today there is a very interesting article by Marian Scott on the possible different outcome of Tuesday’s vote had the PR system been in place.

Proportional representation is a system where the number of seats won by each party reflects the number of votes it gets. If seats were attributed purely according to the popular vote, the PQ would have 40 seats, the Liberals 39, the CAQ 34, Québec solidaire eight and the Option nationale two.

This is not the first time a debate of this nature has taken place, and it won’t be the last. The reason is that the party in a position to open discussion and eventually adopt an altered voting system is the party that won. Therefore they may not see any problem at all!!

This is the same case with electoral riding boundaries. Rejigging the electoral map can have profound effects on election outcomes, but winning parties tend to see it as not broken and if it isn’t broken…well, you know!

It will take genuine statesmanship, defined as a political leader whose wisdom, integrity, etc., win great respect, (www.thefreedictionary.com) on the part of a ruling government to say “Well, we won with the current system, but maybe another would be better for all citizens, let’s look into that.”

I’m not sure we have that kind of leadership.

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Magnotta, Montreal

Canadian killers and dismembered victims

CBC.CA

I think we Canadians have a reputation as fairly peaceful people who play hockey and tend to apologize too much – in fact the most visible part of our Parliament Building is called the Peace Tower. But recently we’ve been in the news for a bunch of strange but non-related murders that involve  the victims being hacked up .

First was Luka Magnotta and Jun Lin in Montreal and then  more cases in Ontario, the most recent reported by the BBC today.

It seems to me if we are going to change our image from kind law-abiding folks to something a bit more racy, we need to school potential murderers on a few things:

1) Once the murder has been committed it is never a good idea to cut up your victim and mail the pieces hither and yon. Aside from being expensive this will bring police looking in a hurry;

2) If you are going to insist on dismembering your victims please don’t throw the pieces into ponds or lakes as  they will eventually float to the surface, even in suitcases; and

3) never, ever under any circumstances video the procedure then go to an Internet cafe to watch it.

I really think we should stick to being a nation of sane, friendly people – if the rest of the world wants to think we’re dull and boring so be it. Go with your strength and evidently ours isn’t murder!!

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Montreal, Quebec election 2012

Quebec election afterthoughts

Well, what do you know? The Quebec business community is wary of the new Parti Québécois government, and not merely due to language restrictions. In today’s The Gazette, Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal commented:

Some elements of the Parti Québécois program worry the business community, notably certain fiscal proposals that, if adopted, would contribute to overtaxing Quebec entrepreneurs and hinder their competitiveness in the North American environment.

In particular Quebec’s mining industry seems to be earmarked for change by Marois.

The Quebec mining industry, from which Marois proposed to extract $300-million-plus in new royalties on production and profits, clearly was feeling a bit uncomfortable.

Dominique Dionne, chairman of the Association Minière du Québec, said the industry is hoping to meet soon with the new government to “shed some light on issues our industry is facing in Quebec.

”She said Quebecers rightfully have high expectations of its mining industry, but some of the PQ proposals were “high risk,” particularly at a time when there is downward pricing pressure on metal prices.

Basing royalties on production without consideration of factors like price will not encourage investment, she said.

Aside from fears of tightening the language laws, these economy-altering platform planks of the Parti Québécois certainly do not provide a warm and fuzzy feeling for potential investment in the province.

Perhaps those who voted PQ on Tuesday just to shake things up a bit and send the Liberals a message will now realize that you don’t actually have to have a referendum, the mere threat of one will suffice to make investors edgy.

In addition, all provinces and states etc. need to sell themselves to potential outside investors. With Marois’ limited English will she be able to do this?

Finally the tragic shooting at the Metropolis. I was encouraged by the reactions in the media that the shooter was a lone nut case who in no way represents the Anglophone community any more than the bigots harassing the English-speaking youths downtown on the recent viral You Tube represent the Francophone community.

My condolences to the victim’s family.

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Montreal, Quebec election 2012

Quebec electors send messages

Jonathon Rivait/Nation Post

The voting is done and the counting is over and the thing that is most evident is that the Quebec electorate sent several messages yesterday.

From the voters of Quebec to:

The Parti Québécois– it is time for a change and, as you are the only viable option at this point in time (see message to Coalition Avenir Québec below) we elected you. But as you know we did so with a very small minority just in case you get out of hand with language and sovereignty issues.

Pauline Marois – congratulations on being elected Quebec’s first woman Premier. At no time during the campaign did we doubt that a woman could hold down the province’s top post. However, as is the case with your party we want to keep you on a tight lead because we’re not all that keen on your goal of sovereignty.

The Liberal Party of Quebec – here’s a slap on the wrist. Clean up your act, get a new leader, deal with the corruption issues, lose the attitude and we’ll vote you in again. We kept you around and in a strong opposition position; we didn’t banish you to oblivion as some had feared.

Jean Charest – after more than thirty years in politics you are yesterday’s man. Take some time off and go into private life.

François Legault and the Coalition Avenir Québec – hold on there!! You may be disappointed in your result, but you must keep in mind you’re new. You’ve got to pay your dues. Let’s see what happens in the next election.

One final thought, with municipalities and provinces contracting out work that used to be done by employees, maybe the new PQ government should consider contracting out the President’s (Speaker) position. I think Monty Hall would be an excellent candidate; he’s Canadian and he hosted “Let’s Make a Deal” for many years. The MNAs need not wear costumes to vie for question opportunities, then again…

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Montreal, Quebec election 2012

Quebec elects first woman Premier; my prediction comes up short; most parties disappointed

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Okay…my prediction was a bit off, but I did call a minority government, the fact I had the wrong party is a mere detail – I know, I’m not fooling anyone!!

So the Parti Quebecois has been elected with a minority. They’re pleased to win, but annoyed by the minority, the Liberals lost, they’re annoyed by that, the CAQ didn’t quite do as well as hoped so they must be annoyed. The only folks who are pleased are the Québec Solidaire who elected twice as many candidates as they hoped for – two!!!

The Liberals and the CAQ can team up and give the PQ all kinds of trouble. Looks like no one is going anywhere in this legislature. Like many Deal making is going to be the order of the day. Is that good for Quebecers? Only time will tell.

However, all Quebecers are winners in one respect, we now, at last, have our first woman Premier. I’m not a supporter of her politics but I congratulate her and the Quebec electorate. as gender was never an issue during the campaign.

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