Quebec 2018

Written by  //  September 22, 2018  //  Québec  //  No comments

Quebec Votes 2018 Poll Tracker
Maintained by CBC poll analyst Éric Grenier,
the Poll Tracker aggregates all publicly available polling data to follow the trends of the October 1st election.
The Quebec Election: A Primer
(Policy) Anyone who has ever covered Quebec politics knows that its byzantine loyalties, grudges, affiliations and hidden agendas can take years to decode. Luckily for our readers, veteran journalist and author of several books on Quebec politics Graham Fraser, having recently retired as federal Official Languages Commissioner, is free to provide his insight and expertise.

20-22 September
The advance poll is open. Think carefully! Fans of The Jungle Book will remember ” “Look—look well, O Wolves!” Very good advice to Quebec voters.
La vraie nature de Québec solidaire
Lysiane Gagnon
(La Presse) Nationalisation des banques, des mines, des forêts, des distributeurs d’internet. Emplois subventionnés. Reconnaissance par l’État de l’emploi non rémunéré, notamment dans « la reproduction de la force de travail » (c’est la conception marxiste de la maternité).
L’entreprise privée est tolérée si le personnel est autogéré. La semaine de 32 heures pour tous sans baisse de salaire. Interdiction du mécénat et des fondations philanthropiques dans les services publics. Hausses de salaires et augmentation des postes dans la fonction publique. Les écoles et les services de santé sont administrés par des « assemblées citoyennes ». Gratuité totale des universités et des transports.
QS réglementerait la publicité en fonction de ses « valeurs morales » ; abolirait les subventions aux écoles privées, lesquelles, même non subventionnées, seraient soumises aux mêmes exigences que les écoles publiques. Tous les médecins seraient salariés et les immigrants auraient le droit de vote. Retraite à 60 ans pour tous et régime unique d’État pour les retraités. Fin du libre-échange international et création de 300 000 emplois avec la sortie du pétrole.
Il s’agit clairement d’un programme non pas de gauche, mais d’extrême gauche.
Quebec election: Lisée asks anglos to take a chance on PQ
‘If you’re not for independence, it won’t happen in the first four years,’ Jean-François Lisée said. ‘Give us a try.’
Lisée says his vision for Quebec is a more progressive, greener, more egalitarian society than the ones proposed by the Liberals and CAQ.
He isn’t promising tax cuts but Lisée won’t raise them either. He wants to fight a pay raise to Quebec’s 20,000 specialist doctors and use those billions to invest in childcare, education and hospitals.
“We want to make sure that this is a place where every young child — boy or girl — whatever economic situation they come from, whatever their last name is, this is the place where their dreams can come true.”
But Lisée’s more egalitarian society is also one that appears to be at odds with at least some aspects of religious liberty.
His government would put forward policies that would exclude swaths of Muslims, Sikhs and Jewish people from becoming police officers, judges, prison guards, daycare workers and teachers.
$75 per week on groceries? Tough but manageable, says Philippe Couillard
Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault said he spends around $250 per week on groceries for his family of four, and Couillard’s comment shows he is out of touch.
Québec Solidaire’s co-spokesperson, Manon Massé, challenged Couillard to live on what she characterized as “peanuts” — pointing to her party’s plan to raise the hourly minimum wage to $15 to make the lives of working-class Quebecers easier.
“It’s an insult to all the families who tightened their belts for his balanced budget,” Massé said in a statement.
Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée hedged his response, saying he eats out a lot and was not sure about how much it costs to feed a family of that size. Pretty feeble!

14 September
Macpherson: From expelling immigrants to exiling young anglos
François Legault and Jean-François Lisée couldn’t wait to show voters who could be tougher on minorities.
…Legault reached for his “go-back-to-your-country” immigrant-expulsion proposal. Nothing further needs to be said here about the inhumane proposal itself. But Legault’s timing in pulling it out the day Payette’s death was announced proved unfortunate for him. Legault panicked Lisée into responding two days later, on a Saturday morning. Lisée answered Legault’s promise to defend French Quebec against invading immigrants with an offer of protection against anglophones already here.
In Quebec, that end justifies a major party leader’s proposing a language policy apparently inspired by Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in China, when urban youth were sent to the countryside to be “re-educated.” Chairman Lisée would temporarily exile young anglos from Montreal, where most of them live, to distant French-speaking regions for some sink-or-swim immersion. Anglo students in English-language CEGEPs would be denied their diplomas, and therefore admission to Quebec universities, unless they had spent their final session in French-language colleges, “preferably in the regions,” Lisée told reporters. At least there is no CEGEP in Arctic Ungava.

12 September
Martin Patriquin: In Quebec election, one fear has replaced another
Fear-mongering rhetoric about a referendum, once a Quebec election staple, is practically non-existent today. Now it’s immigration.
… while Legault have divorced himself of sovereignty, he has nonetheless adopted the fear-mongering aspect all-too-present in the movement’s modern incarnation. Legault said he would reduce the number of immigrants by 20 per cent — which, in an aging population such as Quebec’s, constitutes an act of demographic suicide.
Worse still, he has tied immigration to the supposed decline of French. Again, this is absurd. A 2016 Office québécois de la langue française report, the use of French in the workplace actually increased among anglophones and allophones between 1997 and 2016. In 1989, the PQ’s platform noted how “70 per cent of allophones adopt English as their second language.” In 2012, that number had decreased 30 per cent, according to the OQLF’s most recent statistics.
La CAQ glisse, la majorité compromise
Tandis que la majorité caquiste risque fort de se décider dans l’Estrie, le Parti québécois et Québec solidaire gagnent du terrain. Nouvelle projection électorale de Philippe J Fournier.

11 September
Language and immigration come to the front in Quebec election
Mr. Legault’s immigration policy is long-standing: He wants to cut quotas for new arrivals, test those who do come for French language and adherence to Quebec values after three years and then expel those who don’t pass – a power the province does not have.
What’s new is the rhetoric. Until now he has framed the policy as a way to boost economic integration rather than a way to protect francophone culture from the existential threat of immigration.
Quebec is facing a stark labour shortage and Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard, who favours maintaining current immigration levels, had also framed the issue around economics.

Promises, promises

Liberals promise free public transit for seniors and students
Philippe Couillard also announced plans for single pass giving users access to transit services across Quebec
For its part, Québec Solidaire has promised to reduce public transit fares by 50 per cent across the province within its first mandate. By a second mandate, it would offer free public transit for all Quebecers.
The Coalition Avenir Québec and the Parti Québécois haven’t made any specific promises about public transit fares so far this election campaign.

CAQ promises $800 million help keep seniors at home
The Coalition Avenir Québec says 31,000 seniors were on a waiting list for home care from a CLSC in 2017.

Quebec Votes 2018: What each party would do for the anglophone community
(CBC) Anglo rights may not be a big campaign issue nor have there been any official announcements or promises made so far, but to more than 14 per cent of the population, how the Quebec government interacts with and provides for its English-speaking citizens is a big deal.
In fact, other than cursory lines in party platforms recognizing the importance of the Anglo minority, no concrete commitments have been made

Hôpitaux: stationnement gratuit ou limité à 7$ par jour, promet le PLQ

Liberals offer more money to retirees, working seniors
New tax credits are aimed to keep seniors in the workforce and to get retired people back to work
A tax credit for people over 70 would be increased from $200 to $670, the Liberals promised.
People over 70 who make less than $57,000 would also see a tax credit for home maintenance increased by $1,000.

Quebec election: Liberals pledge to move decision-makers to regions
Decisions about natural resources should be made where the related economic activity is located, Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard says.
If his party is re-elected on Oct. 1, Couillard said a Liberal government would move bureaucrats and managers — up to the level of assistant deputy minister — who make decisions about natural resources to the region where the majority of economic activity related to that resource is located.

One of the more bizarre developments
It’s time to become the 51st state, new party says
[Hans Mercier,] leader of Parti 51, an authorized provincial party, wants Quebec to separate from Canada and become a “sovereign state member of the United States.”
“We tell people that you can’t judge a party by its leader,” Mercier said in an interview Tuesday, adding that his party has as many pro-Trump members as it has Trump haters.

2 September
Le difficile début de campagne des libéraux
(Radio Canada) Quand Gertrude Bourdon a évoqué la possibilité que le Parti libéral du Québec (PLQ) puisse perdre l’élection et qu’elle soit redoutable dans l’opposition, Philippe Couillard, juste à ses côtés, gesticulait abondamment avant de l’interrompre. La candidate vedette a le don, dès qu’elle ouvre la bouche, de mettre son chef et son parti dans l’embarras. On dit qu’elle a la tête dure, qu’elle ne se prend pas pour une queue de cerise et, selon les conseillers libéraux, qu’elle n’écoute pas les consignes.

27 August
After deep cuts in first mandate, Liberals promise $2.8B for education
Measures includes more free education for 4 year olds, support for kindergarten and first grade teachers
How Quebec’s political parties are courting families with education promises
Suggestions include free schooling, subsidized lunches and a single tax rate across Quebec

23 August
Adam Daifallah: Quebec’s Liberals have done a good job … but that might not matter at all
Opinion: Election will likely come down to whether a desire for change and anxiety about immigration outweigh a desire for continuity and stability
(National Post) Quebec heads into an election campaign today where for the first time in 40 years, the ballot question will be about something other than sovereignty. Most Quebecers are tired of the binary federalism-versus-separatism narrative and are looking forward to a debate along the traditional left-right spectrum.
With a referendum off the table, the verdict is still out on what issue or issues will come to fill that void leading up to the Oct. 1 vote. But with the political zeitgeist across the West being what it is, the campaign could easily turn into a polarizing fight about identity and cultural issues.
Where Quebec’s parties stand on the issues that matter most to you
(CBC) a guide to some of the promises Quebec’s main parties have made so far
Quebec election notebook: CAQ offers mixed messages in English, French
By Andy Riga
As recently as Wednesday, the party was advertising on Google, with different messages depending on whether you searched “CAQ” with your browser set to English or to French.
In English, the slogan: A Strong Quebec Within Canada, with a subtitle promising “concrete results for Quebecers.”
In French, the slogan: Répond à l’appel des Québécois (responding to the call of Quebecers), with a subtitle touting the party’s “new nationalist project.”
No mention of a nationalist project in English, no mention of Canada in French.

17 August
Chantal Hébert: Philippe Couillard picks a bad time to break a promise
The outgoing premier is about to spend the next six weeks making promises to Quebecers. If his own MNAs cannot trust his word, how can voters be expected to do so?
With the party’s blessing, François Ouimet was expected to be officially nominated as Marquette’s Liberal candidate on Wednesday night. Instead, he spent Wednesday morning giving a tearful news conference to talk about his shock at having been summarily dumped by his leader.
On Thursday, Couillard introduced former NHL hockey player Enrico Ciccone as his candidate in Marquette. The riding’s Liberal association was not on hand for the event. Its members were not in the loop of the party’s change of plan.

16 August
Access to services in English a key concern, anglo leaders tell premier
Philippe Couillard spent the afternoon meeting with a group of anglophone community leaders at Dawson College
English Quebecers want bilingual access to social services, anglo leaders told Premier Philippe Couillard at a town hall-style meeting Thursday.
After a busy morning responding to reporters’ questions in Lachine about his party’s new candidate, Enrico Ciccone, for the West Island riding of Marquette, Couillard spent the afternoon meeting with a group of anglophone community leaders at Dawson College.
Applauded by the 60 or so people present in the auditorium as he entered, the premier charmed the audience by first announcing an infrastructure spending plan for Dawson College. The $75-million investment in the downtown CEGEP will be preceded by a $1.5-million study on how best to address what the premier called a “lack of space” at the English college.
Beryl Wajsman reacts in Fb post: “I asked him if he was prepared to make the Anglophone secretariat truly effective by allowing the hiring of at least 10 Ombudspersons reporting directly to Minister Weil who would have the authority to intervene with every bureaucrat – in any agency or ministry – in response to any verbal complaint they received on public hotlines they would be staffing from anyone who could not get services or documents in English. No written complaints. No “process.” No delays. Surprisingly he committed with an unequivocal “Yes!” and we had a ten minute exchange in front of my media colleagues. He said whatever the number of ombudspersons,the need for intervention on matters of access to services was part of what he had discussed with community leaders that afternoon. Minister Weil was right next to the Premier. I know, I know it’s election time. But he did say it and with authenticity. Let’s see what happens.”

Seems this minister is either unaware of or not responsible for most of the issues in her portfolio.
Interview with Minister Kathleen Weil
Daybreak spoke with Minister Kathleen Weil, responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, about new funding for anglophone groups, and ongoing issues with access to health care in English.

11 August
Quebec’s election campaign will kick off Aug. 23, vote will be Oct. 1
Liberal strategists hope the longer campaign will create problems for the party’s main adversary, the Coalition Avenir Québec.
Ending the one bit of mystery left — given Quebec’s fixed-date election law, which stipulates the vote will take place Oct. 1 — Couillard revealed he has opted for the longer campaign formula.
His decision means the campaign will last a total of 39 days.
That’s, in fact, 50 days from today. It will be Quebec’s 42nd general election and Couillard’s attempt at a second mandate after four years in office. With the exception of the short-lived Parti Québécois minority government of Pauline Marois, the Liberals have ruled Quebec for 15 years.
Couillard put an end to the speculation in a closing speech to 500 Liberal youth wing members gathered at Montreal’s east-end Centre Pierre-Charbonneau for their annual policy convention.

22 June
Ottawa makes deal to buy three icebreakers for coast guard
Deal avoids major work slowdown, layoffs at the Davie shipyard ahead of Quebec provincial election
There has been growing concern in Quebec about both the shipyard — and its workforce of roughly 1,300 — and the coast guard’s ability to break ice in the St. Lawrence River.
What the federal government signalled Friday was its intention to award the contact to Davie.
Competing shipyards will have two weeks to challenge that decision and demonstrate they can deliver ships with similar — or better — capabilities.
The deal that was struck involves a straight-up purchase of three icebreakers, with the Davie yard set to complete a series of modifications, said sources.

13 June
New Quebec poll suggests Coalition Avenir Québec has healthy lead
The Leger/LCN survey indicated the Coalition had the support of 37 per cent of respondents, compared with 28 per cent for the governing Liberals and 19 per cent for the Parti Québécois.
CAQ could form minority government, but still lacks anglophone support

16 May
CAQ immigration plan sets 3-year deadline on learning French, passing values test
Critics say plan oversteps Quebec’s role in immigration system
(CBC) Under the plan, laid out in an “orientation document” made public this week, immigration candidates would receive a temporary three-year permit, referred to as a certificat d’accompagnement transitoire (CAT), and be tested on certain criteria such as knowledge of the French language in order to receive authorization to apply for Canadian residency.
Legault would not say what questions he believes should be asked in the values test, but said it would conform to the values set out in Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
“I don’t think it would be a good idea for a political party to write a values test,” he said. “It would be done by the immigration ministry.”

13 May
Quebec elections: Resignation announcements hit Quebec Liberals ahead of fall vote
(Global) News that several Quebec Liberals won’t seek re-election this year has fuelled speculation the governing party’s boat is sinking, but former politicians caution against assuming that is the main reason behind the impending departures.
No fewer than 14 Liberal members of the legislature, including five cabinet ministers, have announced they won’t seek re-election. Four others, including two ministers and the Speaker, are also said to be considering their political future ahead of the Oct. 1 vote.
While Premier Philippe Couillard’s party is completing just its first mandate, the Liberals have been in power for 13 of the last 15 years and are polling consistently behind the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).

28 April
Most Quebecers feel they’re overtaxed and underserved: study
More than 70 per cent of Quebec taxpayers say their taxes are “rather badly” administered and spent, according to a Université de Sherbrooke study.

16 – 17 April
Barreau du Québec files bombshell motion
(Canadian Lawyer) A motion filed jointly on Friday by the Barreau du Québec and the Montreal Bar, asking the Superior Court of Quebec to issue a declaratory judgment that all of the province’s laws, regulations and decrees are illegal because they were drafted and adopted in French only, has stunned politicians, lawyers and legal pundits the province.
“It’s a bombshell, there’s no other way to describe it,” says Benoît Pelletier, a constitutional law professor at the University of Ottawa and a former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister. “I’m sure the Quebec government is quite upset about it — and worried, too.”

Quebec bar files motion calling on province to change law-drafting process
Quebec’s law society is heading to court to challenge the way the provincial government goes about drafting and passing laws.
(Montreal Gazette) The Quebec Bar Association, along with the Montreal bar, said the current process is flawed and doesn’t respect the Canadian Constitution, making the province’s laws and decrees null and void.
In a motion filed last Friday and that names national assembly Speaker Jacques Chagnon and Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee, the bars state the problem is the laws are drafted in French and then translated into English only after the fact instead of simultaneously.
The bars argue legislators therefore never get to see the English version before a bill is passed.
According to an interpretation of Art. 133 of the 1867 British North America Act, while either language may be used in debates and pleadings, laws must be adopted in both English and French.
The bars say the resulting legislation deprives all Quebec litigants of the right to the same version of the law in accordance with constitutional norms.

(La Presse) Le Barreau veut faire invalider les lois du Québec
(Droit-inc) Les barreaux veulent invalider les lois québécoises!
Elles ne sont pas simultanément traduites et manquent de cohésion, ce qui serait inconstitutionnel…
La demande introductive d’instance a été déposée vendredi, au palais de justice de Montréal. Elle a été signifiée par Mes Louis Brousseau et Marie France Tozzi, du cabinet Jeansonne Avocats au président de l’Assemblée nationale, Jacques Chagnon, et à la procureure générale du Québec, Stéphanie Vallée.
Les deux barreaux, qui sont présidés par Paul-Matthieu Grondin et Brian Mitchell, estiment que le processus d’adoption des lois par le législateur québécois n’est pas conforme à la Constitution canadienne.

30 March
Editorial: At last, Quebec anglophones are on the radar
The anglo minority needs and deserves some support. This week, both the provincial and federal governments took welcome steps to provide it.
On Tuesday, the Quebec budget allocated badly needed additional funding for Quebec’s new secretariat for English-speaking Quebecers. Its job is to ensure that the community’s rights and interests receive consideration at the highest levels.
Then, on Wednesday, the federal government published its Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future. While the distribution of resources is far from symmetrical — fair enough, the circumstances are not symmetrical — Quebec’s official-language minority does get some welcome attention, including $5 million to support community initiatives and $3 million to expand English health networks in rural and remote regions. (However, English-speaking Quebecers can only look with envy at the support for francophone immigration to the rest of Canada, to give a demographic boost to linguistic-minority communities there; political realities do not allow a reciprocal program.)
Both the provincial and federal governments have emphasized the need to support rural anglophones’ access to services. Certainly, this is an important issue. However, it would be fitting if greater notice were also taken of Montreal anglos’ concerns; while English services are in better supply on the island, concerns are growing about such matters as dwindling school enrolment and access to health care and social services.

27 March
Quebec Cuts Business Taxes in Fourth-Straight Balanced Budget
((Bloomberg)) With an economy growing at the fastest pace in almost 20 years, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is trying to reverse months of declining popularity in the run-up to an Oct. 1 election by offering tax breaks and increased spending on health care, education and families. Quebec residents are among the most heavily taxed in North America.
The latest measures are on top of moves announced by Leitao in November, when he introduced personal income tax cuts worth about C$1.08 billion to benefit 4.2 million taxpayers.
Quebec budget: $24.5 million for anglo secretariat
(Montreal Gazette) The bureau in the civil service with five employees and $1 million will have its funding doubled and doubled again by 2023

24 March
We need to find ways to break the isolation of anglo seniors, Weil says
‘There needs to be a major public campaign to sensitize people to the value that these seniors represent’
The minister has been on a provincewide tour consulting anglophones on their needs and concerns, after the announcement by the Liberal government in November of the creation of a new secretariat to ensure that the concerns of English-speaking Quebecers are taken into account in government decisions and policies.
Anglophone seniors, Weil heard, tend to be doubly isolated, because of vulnerabilities related to age but also because many of them do not speak fluent French. This can affect their ability to access health care and social services and to participate in community activities.
As baby boomers hit their golden years, services for the elderly are increasingly financially strapped, and volunteers are desperately needed to breach the gap, the groups told Weil.

26 February
Opinion: Quebec anglos have rare political leverage, and should use it
By Robert Libman
This is an important year for the anglophone community. A provincial election is to be held Oct. 1, and for the first time in a generation, the community could actually have an impact on the result. This time, the chess pieces are arranged a little bit differently than what anglophone voters are accustomed to, after years of being held in check by the Quebec Liberal Party.
With appetites for change sweeping politics everywhere, the Coalition Avenir de Quebec (CAQ) seems poised to form the next government. Their apparent commitment to the federal system, with the Parti Québécois having taken independence off the table for now, is allowing anglophones to consider straying from the hive. To ensure a victory, though, the CAQ will still need to make some inroads in the Montreal area, and will thus try to reach out to the anglophone community, still an uphill battle for a former sovereignist.
The Liberals are aware that they need our votes this time to defeat the CAQ. Real competition for anglo votes gives the community rare leverage.
Now is the time for our community to forcefully put our issues on the table. The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), English school boards and representatives of our health care institutions must be vocal during this narrow window that we have. The QCGN must push with renewed vigour for real powers and mandates to be identified for the new anglophone secretariat, and for concrete measures to improve representation of anglophones in the Quebec civil service.

17 February
Quebec’s next budget to address needs of anglophones: Weil
Quebec’s minister responsible for anglophone community issues says the next budget will address issues she is hearing from that community.
(Montreal Gazette) Quebec’s minister responsible for anglophone issues is raising hopes that the concerns and needs of the province’s English-speaking communities will be tackled in a concrete way in Quebec’s next budget.
Kathleen Weil held an all-day forum at Concordia University Friday to hear from about 40 leaders of groups and institutions that serve anglophone communities across Quebec.
At the end of the day she told them the Liberal government intends to present a costed-out, five-year action plan on issues they have brought to her attention in online consultations and in her province-wide tour, which is ongoing.
While better access to health and social services in English has been the top concern raised, Weil said her consultations have highlighted other concerns such as:

  • a “brain drain” of young, educated and bilingual anglophones out of the province,
  • poverty in English-speaking communities across Quebec, especially in rural areas
  • the need for more education programs in English in the skilled trades
  • the need to increase anglophone hires in the civil service

29 January
Martin Patriquin: Trudeau fails Muslims by not challenging Quebec’s niqab law
(iPolitics) As Quebec commemorates the one-year anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shootings, in which six Muslims were slaughtered because of their religion, the Trudeau government have shown that when the Prime Minister’s storied empathy collides with political considerations, politics inevitably win out. … Even before the shooting, Quebec’s provincial government introduced Bill 62, a so-called ‘religious neutrality bill’, which compelled anyone giving or receiving a government service do so with their face uncovered. It became law on October 18, 2017 — exactly 262 days after the mosque shootings.

4 January
Looking back on the 1998 ice storm 20 years later
35 died, nearly 1,000 were injured, making storm among worst natural disasters in Canadian history
(CBC) Twenty years ago this week, starting on Jan. 4, 1998, southern Quebec and eastern Ontario were pelted with as much as 100 millimetres of freezing rain and ice pellets — an ice storm that lasted five days.
At its peak, 3.5 million Quebecers — roughly half of Quebec’s population — and more than a million Ontarians, as well as thousands in New Brunswick, were left in the dark, many for several weeks.The affected regions were hit with double the amount of precipitation they normally receive in a year. See CBC archive and In the heart of the triangle of darkness
A dreadful time, but the community response was absolutely heartwarming.
And who can forget the daily updates from Premier Lucien Bouchard and the President and CEO of Hydro-Québec, André Caillé?
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces walk to their headquarters in Westmount, Que., on Jan. 9, 1998. (Robert Galbraith/Canadian Press)

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