We must be wary of shocking formulas that risk exposing themselves to ridicule when the situation lends itself badly. When the work of the National Assembly adjourned last June, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon promised a “shock of the Titans” at the start of the fall. In the state in which the PQ is located, such remarks rather make one think of the frog which wanted to be as big as the ox.
The poll conducted by Synopsis Recherche between August 27 and 30 may have been sponsored by the CAQ, the 9% of voting intentions with which the PQ is credited, identical to those collected by Eric Duhaime’s Conservative Party of Quebec, are quite plausible and reflect the challenge that the PQ and their leader are facing one year from the next election.
In June, it was legitimate to hope that the pandemic would be almost under control and that the political parties could finally move on. However, it is to be expected that the virus will remain at the center of the news for the coming months and that the Legault government will once again occupy most of the media space. With 49% of voting intentions, the least we can say is that the CAQ is starting the election year in a strong position.
There is obviously no shortage of issues other than COVID – environment, labor shortage, daycare, debate on language, etc. – but who will blame the government for still devoting most of its energy to managing the pandemic?
The results of next Monday’s federal election will also set the tone for political debate in the coming months. As things are going, Justin Trudeau is likely to find himself at the head of a minority government that can rely on the NDP to implement the centralizing agenda he outlined during the campaign.
It is easy to understand Mr. Legault’s preference for the election of a conservative government, thanks to which he could stand before the electorate by claiming not only that he allowed Quebec to weather the health crisis with relative success. , if we except the tragedy of the CHSLDs, but also that its “New project for the nationalists of Quebec” can give results.
On the other hand, a return to power by the Liberals would provoke an incessant guerrilla war to prevent Ottawa from further encroaching on Quebec’s fields of jurisdiction and would force Mr. Legault to head forwards, the outcome of which he cannot know.
It is difficult to predict to what extent the trial of Quebec society to which the debate in English gave rise will exacerbate nationalist sentiment, but it will inevitably leave legacies that none of the parties represented in the National Assembly will be able to ignore.
During the federal campaign, Dominique Anglade spoke out against the aims of the Trudeau government with a vigor to which the PLQ had unaccustomed us, but she will not be able to follow Mr. Legault in an escalation that would completely disorient the liberal base.
In a press release published at the end of August, the new spokesperson for the PLQ in matters of Canadian intergovernmental relations, Gaétan Barrette, criticized the Legault government for being “always two steps back” and for lacking determination in its demands. But it is hard to imagine the PLQ being at the head of the parade. With only 16% of voting intentions, according to Synopsis Recherche, he cannot however afford to persist in the sluggishness that has characterized him since the departure of Robert Bourassa. He too is doomed to headlong ahead.
If the promotion of Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois to the post of parliamentary leader makes QS gain efficiency in the debates, it is less obvious that the replacement of Pascal Bérubé by Joël Arseneau will have the same effect at the PQ.
Paul St-Pierre Plamondon will have a difficult decision to make if the independent MP for Marie-Victorin, Catherine Fournier, is elected mayor of Longueuil next November, as the polls suggest. A by-election in Marie-Victorin must then be called within six months.
The leader of the PQ would find it difficult to justify that he does not take the opportunity to try to enter the National Assembly, if only for a few weeks. He looks like he fears being beaten in a traditionally PQ riding. On the other hand, a very possible defeat at the hands of the CAQ – Mme Fournier had won it by just 705 votes in 2018 – putting him in a very precarious position a few months before the general election. He would look anything but a Titan.