Quebec’s election

[Replanted, originally from 4 Dec.]

With so much attention focused on Canada’s federal government, and the government-in-waiting, I almost forgot that Quebec is about to go to the polls in a provincial assembly election. That’s happening on Monday! {Today!}

(Click “Qc.” above to see discussion of the previous election, in March, 2007.)

4 thoughts on “Quebec’s election

  1. So, no one has had anything to say about the Quebec election. Unlike last time. Granted, this election was a whole lot less interesting. (Voters knew it: turnout was low.)

    So I will just point out that the Liberals came back with a majority of seats (52.8%), based on 42.1% of the votes. That is an advantage ratio of 1.25, which is fairly unremarkable for a FPTP system.

    The PQ won 40.8% of the seats on 35.2% of the votes, which is also on the unremarkable side.

    The ADQ fell pretty far, from 39 seats in 2007 to just 7 seats (5.6%) now, on 16.4% of the votes. Just another third party in a FPTP system.

    Was there anything remarkable? I suppose the one seat won by the Quebec Solidaire party (on 3.8% of votes provincewide) should be noteworthy. It was a 4-point margin in Mercier in a rematch of a race from 2007 in which the Liberal narrowly beat the QS candidate.

  2. Is a reverse plurality result possible in Quebec in the future? Didn’t one happen in 1998 when the Liberals had the popular vote overall and Parti Quebec manage to form the government?

    How could the ADQ fall so far? This is a chronic meltdown. Was their support spread too thin geographically. This is like the PC party’s melt down in Canada’s Federal Election 1993. They got 16.4% of the popular vote is a pretty big chunk of the votes. 7 seats is still quite a lot for a third party in a FPTP system on 5.6% of the votes in the Assembly on 16.4% of the popular vote.

    I think last time around ADQ did too well, and it is too bad that they weren’t in third place last time around. They could have formed the government this time around. Is ADQ a flash in the pan party or a party that has the potential to be the tail or spoiler in future Quebec elections?

  3. Yes, there was an unusual fact: the PQ’s bonus went missing.

    Normally, the political geography of Quebec gives the PQ a bonus, because the Liberals pile up huge wasted majorities in the west end of Montreal and other anglophone/allophone seats. That’s how they won a wrong-winner majority of 60.8% of the seats in 1998 with only 42.87% of the vote, while the Liberals won 38.4% of the seats with 43.55% of the vote. Similarly in 1994 the PQ won 44.75% of the vote while the Liberals got 44.40%, yet the PQ won 61.6% of the seats to the Liberals’ 37.6%. Even back in 1981 the PQ won 3% more votes than the Liberals but 30% more seats. That’s why the Liberals wanted PR.

    But this time the ADQ and Quebec Solidaire split the nationalist vote with the PQ, offsetting the PQ’s underlying bonus.

    Will the Liberals resume bringing in PR now they have a safe majority? Or will they be fooled by the temporary disappearance of the PQ bonus? Quebec Liberals are no fools.

  4. Quebec Liberals may not be fools, but many of them are relatively conservative, at least when it comes to changing our political traditions. It’s clear that if we introduced proportional representation, no party could form a majority government in the future, which is the main reason why the major parties have reservations about it. Benoît Pelletier, as minister of Democratic Reform, tried to introduce a form of proportional representation a few years ago — I’m sure it was covered here — but it was criticized as unsufficient and designed to favour the Liberals. No attempt was made to actually implement this reform, and now Pelletier has decided not to run for reelection.

    Many Parti québécois members also want to introduce a form of proportional representation. A good reform would have to involve all parties, but since both the Liberals and PQ are divided on the question, and nobody’s talked about it during the campaign, they’re unlikely to do anything about it.

    This said, I’m positive that newly-elected Québec solidaire member Amir Khadir will remind his National Assembly colleagues of his party’s strong commitment to proportional representation. QS would of course benefit from it. We’ll see what happens.

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