By: Clement Nocos
Finally, I would like to add one last casual observation: I would have to say the party to watch out for this election has to be Québec Solidaire. Biking through Montreal last weekend, I couldn’t help but notice a high number of QS posters around the city. The number on some streets sometimes surpassed the number of PQ, LPQ, and CAQ ads. The QS currently hold one seat in the National Assembly, in a Montreal riding. However, many of these “Debout” posters could be seen way outside this electoral district.
The QS hold one seat from the last election in the Montreal riding of Mercier by party (co)-leader, Amir Khadir.
The last time I saw such a new, small party put up this many posters for a regional election was the 2011 Berlin Lander election. In Berlin last summer, posters for the Lander’s Pirate Party were just as ubiquitous as posters for the SPD, CDU, FDP, and die Linke. Berlin was also a city where youth were very politically involved. At the time, “Atomkraft Nein Danke” buttons could be seen on shirts and satchels in response to last year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster that led the German government’s announced shut down of all the country’s reactors by 2022. These “Atomkraft Nein Danke” buttons were as common in Berlin as the carré rouge in Montreal last weekend. The Pirate Party would capitalize on such a politically affected youth. It was often I would see young PP volunteers handing out stickers and information at Mauer Park’s Sunday flea markets, frequented by hip young people.
With the PP’s youth base, the new party managed to win 15 seats in Berlin’s last Lander election.
With youth political networks and activity, the Pirate Party (whose policies concentrate on Internet democracy) won 15 seats in the Berlin Abgeordnetenhaus. In also appealing to the more radical youth of the student movement and with such a strong presence, I would not be surprised to see the QS enlarge its standing in the National Assembly. Despite its sovereigntist tendencies and being essentially written off by the Anglo media, QS ties to the federal NDP that dominates the province and its strong alignment with the carrés rouges may also boost its political profile this election. This election could be the start of some formidable growth for the young party, unless the CAQ manages to appeal to a broader Anglophone base. A small but vocal party, the QS could become kingmaker in future legislative standoffs between the PQ and LPQ.
Osheaga last Sunday closed with M83’s (of France) frontman speaking in a language thought to be similar to the Quebecois language but left some Francophones asking each other whether they actually understood him. It is sometimes difficult to understand La Belle province which has led to (what I feel to be) confused and sometimes hysterical political analysis of this election by the ROC. The ROC and Anglophone media don’t really get it when they try to steer the province towards a sovereignty dispute when all the Quebecois want right now is a debate on youth and the economy.
For a look at where you might stand in the Quebec election, the CBC has released another Vote Compass; a useful tool to better know where the parties stand and to help those undecided voters find a party that aligns the most with their values and interests. Find out where you fit in Quebec’s political landscape: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/quebecvotes2012/features/votecompass.html