AngryFrenchGuy

Jack Layton is not a Franco. So what?

with 53 comments

Just two weeks ago the Sith’ari of the Conservative Party of Canada, the University of Calgary’s Tom Flanagan, explained to La Presse’s Patrick Lagacé that his boy Stephen Harper had pretty much filled up on all the Québec votes he was going to get.

« Stephen Harper has made some big efforts. But he’s not a native son. He faces Gilles Duceppe, who is a native son. Is there an example in Canadian history of a party leader able to win Québec when his main opponent is Québécois?  I don’t think so.  It might be an impossible burden. » (My backlation of Lagacé’s French translation)

If you can crunch that quote into 140 characters, you might want to tag a #FAIL to it.  According to the latest polls, Jack Layton’s New Democratic Party is ahead of the Bloc in Québec with 36% of the votes to Gilles Duceppe’s 31%.  Even with the all important Francophone demographic Jack Layton is in the margin of error at 34% compared to Gilles Duceppe’s 38%.

Not only does the NDP not have a Québec or Francophone leader, it doesn’t even have a decent token Franco.  The NDP’s only Québec MP, Outremont’s Thomas Mulcair, is also a Maudit Anglais.  It apparently hasn’t stopped them from a formidable surge in Québec.

Of course the NDP will not win much more than a handful of seats on May 2nd.  The very poll that puts them in the lead might spook voters back to the old parties, the NDP doesn’t have the political muscle to get the folks from the retirement home to the voting booth and many voters might change their minds when they see unfamiliar names instead of « Clayton » on their ballot.

But this latest poll once again challenges the tenacious Canadian myth that Québec voter base their democratic decisions on obscure tribal loyalties.

This idea that the Québécois vote ethnically is more a cop-out than a myth, really.  Instead of actually trying to come up with policies and a vision of Canada that the Québécois could buy into, English-Canada’s politicians have wasted three decades in grooming Frenchie Saviors willing to sell their agenda to « his people ».

It’s that kind of thinking that led the Liberal Party to choose Stéphane Dion, against the loud opposition of its own Québec caucus, as leader.  Native son or not, Dion was trounced in the 2008 election.

So now I have a question for Tom Flanagan.  When was the last time the voter of Alberta voted for a Québécois when there was a Albertan on the ballot?

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Written by angryfrenchguy

April 21, 2011 at 4:08 pm

53 Responses

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  1. The problem is that when was the last time Alberta didn’t go PC/Reform/Conservative? And when was the last time an Albertan led a party other than one of those? Pretty much never.

    If Albertans had, at some point in their history, gone out of their way not to vote for a Quebecer, you might have a point, AFG.

    Speaking of – you can make the argument that Layton is marginally a Quebecer, sure, but let’s say for the sake of argument that he’s Toronto to the core at this point. Going on that: When is the last time none of the major federal parties were led by someone from Quebec?

    2008: Dion
    2006 + 2004: Martin (no, he wasn’t born and raised, but he represented a riding there, and if that’s not enough to say that you are “from” somewhere, I don’t know what is)
    2000 + 1997: Chrétien and Charest (if we broaden the definition of “major”)
    1993: Chrétien
    1988 + 1984: Mulroney
    1980: Trudeau
    1979: Trudeau and Fabien
    1974 + 1972 + 1968: Trudeau and Caouette

    And then we get to 1965. Let’s stop there and just say that the Créditistes were not a major party. So, about 40 years during which Quebecers have had at least one of their own to vote for as a potential PM (and a couple of decades during which they had a significant protest voice, too). Can any other province say that?

    Josh

    April 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm

  2. here’s an interesting item to appear just as the mediatic chorus about francophone “soft nationalists” wanting to “park their vote” with the NDP seems to be attaining fever pitch. In Mégantic-L’Erable, a riding straddling l’Estrie and le Centre du Québec which I’m ballparking is something like 95% francophone, the NDP candidate is a … unilingual anglophone!!:

    http://www.lanouvelle.net/Elections/La-campagne/2011-04-20/article-2443063/Une-question-de-respect-pour-le-bloquiste-Turcotte/1

    Easy to see why a “soft nationalist” would want to park their vote with her (especially given that her last name is “Voisine” – and 308 says they’re polling 14% there…). I mean, if you’re a *very* soft nationalist.

    Or a soft-skulled nationalist.

    For the plus ça change file…

    James

    April 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm

  3. James,

    I wondered about that. Not Cheryl Voisine specifically, riding candidates who are just chucked in there just to say they ran a full slate. I suspect it is quite a bit more than we think.

    Though as far as I can tell, Cheryl is indeed bilingual.

    John

    April 21, 2011 at 8:00 pm

  4. How is it that you can tell that, John?

    James

    April 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm

  5. […] "Jack Layton Fever in Québec: The Last Bastion of Ethnic Voting in Canada is Now… Canada… (angryfrenchguy.com) […]

  6. Nice post, AFG.

    Pèlerin

    April 23, 2011 at 12:56 pm

  7. ” Not only does the NDP not have a Québec or Francophone leader, it doesn’t even have a decent token Franco. ”

    Jack Layton was born and raised in Quebec. Thanks for the poorly researched article though…

    lukev

    April 24, 2011 at 9:48 pm

  8. Jack Layton was born and raised in Quebec. Thanks for the poorly researched article though…

    He’s not a francophone, and therefore isn’t a “franco”, and neither is Mulcair. That was his point. The deficiency isn’t in his research, just in your reading comprehension.

    James

    April 24, 2011 at 10:02 pm

  9. Laisse faire James… You know Canadians believe culture is transmited through blood.

    angryfrenchguy

    April 24, 2011 at 10:17 pm

  10. The flow of this entry is as follows:

    1. Flanagan invokes the “native son” argument (where did he get this idea? The Bloc hardly ever wins any seats in Quebec)
    2. The poll just came out that puts the NDP in front of the Bloc.
    3. Conclusion: Flanagan is full of crap.
    4. But… wait a minute… People will probably get “spooked back into their old parties”, so it’s business as usual (i.e. the Bloc). And after all, “When was the last time the voter of Alberta voted for a Québécois when there was a Albertan on the ballot?” So if Albertans do it, then why can’t the Quebeckers?

    So in conclusion, the poll may be a total crock of shit on one hand, but at the same time it “challenges the tenacious Canadian myth that Québec voter base their democratic decisions on obscure tribal loyalties” and it can still be used to prove Flanagan wrong.

    And let’s end as usual and blame the rest of the country for not coming up “with policies and a vision of Canada that the Québécois could buy into”.

    I wonder what this “vision” is.

    adski

    April 25, 2011 at 11:50 am

  11. What about Ontario?

    Ignatieff
    Harper (born in Toronto, raised in Etobicoke)
    Martin (raised in Windsor and Ottawa)
    McDonough (born in Ottawa)
    McLaughlin (Dutton, Ontario)
    Broadbent (Oshawa)
    David Lewis (represented Ontario) 1971.

    That’s 40 years, but it’s reasonable. Canada is Quebec, Ontario and the kids.

    Oh and Mulcair’s mum is francophone.

    As for the unilingual anglophones: I don’t know whether to cry or laugh. It would be like hearing that your favourite political leader is doing his or her campaign by horse drawn carriage and carrier pigeon. What century are we in?

    Fon

    April 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm

  12. I think it’s a stretch to call Harper, Martin, McDonough and McLaughlin “Ontarians”, given that none of them actually represented the damn place.

    Josh

    April 25, 2011 at 9:26 pm

  13. Carpet bags away!

    Fon

    April 25, 2011 at 9:52 pm

  14. I normally disagree with you, AFG, but this post seems spot-on.

    D.I.D.

    April 28, 2011 at 3:48 pm

  15. Québec is an acquired taste. Jack knows how to connect with the Québécois.

    Pure Laine

    April 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm

  16. Perhaps a little offtopic, but for those who listen to Gesca or the english-speaking media: Just for the record, I voted NDP and I’m more separatist than ever. And for just about everyone I know who voted NDP, it was not a vote for Canada, it was a vote for the left and against Harper. The credit goes to Ducceppe as much as to Layton, since all those years, it was him who championed left-wing ideas in Quebec’s federal elections.

    Tancrède

    May 3, 2011 at 2:32 pm

  17. Tancrède

    “The credit goes to Ducceppe as much as to Layton, since all those years, it was him who championed left-wing ideas in Quebec’s federal elections.”

    If you think Quebecers voted NDP because they are to the left, you are wrong. They voted for change and for the NDP promise to give more teeth to the fact that Quebec is a nation. Quebecers voted for the right wing ADQ in 2007 and would vote for a future centre-right François Legault for the same reason.

    Quebec is not left wing and Canada is not right wing like you pretend. Quebec is like every other Western country in having a right-left divide.

    If you want Quebec to be independant, it has to be a coalition between right and left. Put aside your naive leftist ideology like Duceppe should have done or you will never see an independant Quebec.

    Antonio

    May 3, 2011 at 6:24 pm

  18. « Quand La Presse fait campagne pour le NPD »

    http://lautjournal.info/default.aspx?page=3&NewsId=3032

    Faites connaissance des carpetbaggers!

    http://martineau.blogue.canoe.ca/2011/05/01/i_love_qwebec

    James

    May 3, 2011 at 8:42 pm

  19. « Un autre Québec est possible ». Tu parles! Un Québec autre… mais en même temps exactement pareil à l’ancien. Un pays conquis mais féministe. Un pays annexé mais altermondialiste. Un pays soumis mais anti-raciste. Un pays occupé mais pacifiste. Un pays vassalisé mais vert. Vert! Et pourquoi pas mauve, jaune ou brun.

    « Entamons avec des progressistes canadiens une discussion de fond sur les liens du Québec avec le reste du Canada ». Ne manque que l’adverbe « résolument » pour rappeler les vieux slogans de la IIIeme Internationale. « Entamons résolument avec des progressistes canadiens… ». Mais pourquoi faire? Pendant combien de temps? Jusqu’à ce que la gauche canadienne s’empare du pouvoir? C’est-à-dire, jusqu’à la Saint-Glinglin? On n’est pas sorti du bois. C’est pas un parti qu’elle devrait fonder Mère Térésa David mais un Club Optimiste de gauche.

    Quelle perte de temps! Pourtant Michel Chartrand, Gaston Miron, Jacques Ferron et Pierre Vadeboncoeur ont fini par comprendre, à la fin des années ’50, ce que le peuple québécois pouvait attendre de la gauche canadienne: rien. Absolument rien. Quarante ans plus tard, on ne va quand même pas nous refaire le coup de Frank Scott, célèbre penseur de la gauche de McGill, appuyant la loi des Mesures de guerre de Pierre Elliott Trudeau, autre célèbre « gauchiste ». Une « loi sur la clarté » appuyée par la gauche canadienne ou par la droite canadienne, ça reste une saloperie anti-démocratique. Et le seul problème avec la gauche canadienne c’est justement qu’elle est canadienne. D’abord et avant tout.

    Pierre Falardeau,
    « De Enver Hoxha à Mère Térésa ou le retour à la case albanaise »

    http://lequebecois.actifforum.com/t38-option-citoyenne-souverainiste-ou-federaliste

    James

    May 3, 2011 at 9:09 pm

  20. Consider this AFG, a majority government has been formed with almost zero support or representation from Quebec. This will soon become the norm as Quebec is demographically compromised by the growth of population elsewhere in Canada caused by our horrible immigration. Just wait until another 30 seats get added to the houss of commons – all outside of Quebec. The asshole Trudeau used mass ethnic immigration from the third wolrd to destroy English Canada, but it is now Quebec that is his victim!

    Kane

    May 3, 2011 at 10:40 pm

  21. I for one will be interested to see if the Quebec NDP can perform the role of the sensible progressive conscience in an otherwise Conservative-represented nation more effectively than the BQ simply by merit of the fact that its separatism is not worn on its sleeve. After all in the West there was such disgust for the very existence of the BQ.

    I fear that the savvy Mr Harper will still find a way to tar the NDP with the Quebec brush and thereby try to neutralize them as an effective opposition in the eyes of the rest of Canada.

    Pèlerin

    May 4, 2011 at 6:51 am

  22. My Québec IS at least socially a bit more on the left. Yes, there is a right wing, but even the ADQ deflated in the long run.

    the Ubbergeek

    May 6, 2011 at 7:32 am

  23. Antonio:
    “If you want Quebec to be independant, it has to be a coalition between right and left. Put aside your naive leftist ideology like Duceppe should have done or you will never see an independant Quebec.”

    At a referendum, there is no reason to see the issue as a left/wing issue (I would argue that there is a strong left-wing rational for independence, but that doesn’t mean that a libertarian, say, cannot be for it).

    But in the meantime, we cannot just wait until the “Grand Soir” for fighting poverty, illitteracy, for women’s right, against global warming, etc. Too much of Quebec’s political history has been one of the left putting aside its social principles in order to achieve consensus. If you want a right-wing independentist party, there is one (the Parti République du Québec). Vote for it. If it’s really 50/50, if half the independentists vote for the PRQ and half for the PQ, there could still be a referendum if together they have the majority.

    But there is no principled reason for the left-wing independentists to compromise its principles. And as the last federal election showed (and as the place of Amir Khadir as most liked provincial MP, and the slow rising of QS showed too) there is no -strategic- reason either.

    I also agree with UbberGeek. We can safely say that Quebec is at least a bit more on the left, and also a bit more than the ROC.

    Tancrède

    May 6, 2011 at 7:46 am

  24. “At a referendum, there is no reason to see the issue as a left/wing issue (I would argue that there is a strong left-wing rational for independence, but that doesn’t mean that a libertarian, say, cannot be for it).”

    What strong left-wing rational for independence is there? If Quebec is to be independant, it will have to be fiscally responsible and do without prerequation which means it will have to cut programs, reduce salaries and generally ask people to be more smart and be responsible to themselves instead of asking the State to do everything for them. In other words, Quebec has to go to the right if it wants to prove it has what it takes to be independant.

    I’m voting for François Legault if he forms a party. He is credible and would have a team of competants individuals that can tackle the ills of Quebec. I lot more Quebecers would be voting for him too.

    Antonio

    May 6, 2011 at 9:57 am

  25. @Antonio:
    “If Quebec is to be independant, it will have to be fiscally responsible and do without prerequation which means it will have to cut programs, reduce salaries and generally ask people to be more smart and be responsible to themselves instead of asking the State to do everything for them.”

    Without reacting to the obviously loaded language…there is another way: Quebec can rise taxes at a reasonable level; say at a pre-reaganian level. Even in the US people slowly come to realize that the present low taxations levels are irresponsible in the long run.
    And perequations isn’t all powerful if you consider that we also -pay- for perequation. Not as much as we receive, but still. Independent, we can do as it please us, but we may certainly end up making decisions very different from the ones that will be made by Harper in the next few years.

    “Quebec has to go to the right if it wants to prove it has what it takes to be independant.”

    I cannot believe people still say things like that. The GDP/inhabitant ratio of Quebec is 17th in the world. It is 98% of France’s GDP/inhabitant, 95% of Germany’s GDP/inhabitant and bigger than the one of Spain, New Zealand, Portugal and everyone below the 17th, which makes a lot. Are you suggesting that, of all the country in the world, just 15 or so have what it takes to be independant ?
    http://www.inspq.qc.ca/Santescope/element.asp?NoEle=71

    There is a left-wing rationale; it is to consider that Quebec is under a neo-colonialist regime where the descendants or allies of a colonial elite are still imposing their views to the people of Quebec, through powerful lobbies and media. That is, quebeckers are to the ROC what the proletariat is to the capital, if I can use a somewhat dated language. That’s the idea of decolonisation view of Quebec independence, a view that was championed by Falardeau, for instance.

    Tancrède

    May 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm

  26. In all fairness, the ordered list linked above exclude certain countries, like Luxembourg or Quatar.
    A better comparison would only count country from OCDE.
    http://www.finances.gouv.qc.ca/documents/EEFB/fr/ace_vol1_no5.pdf
    Still, Quebec would be tenth for GDP per capita.

    Tancrède

    May 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm

  27. “There is a left-wing rationale; it is to consider that Quebec is under a neo-colonialist regime where the descendants or allies of a colonial elite are still imposing their views to the people of Quebec, through powerful lobbies and media. That is, quebeckers are to the ROC what the proletariat is to the capital, if I can use a somewhat dated language. That’s the idea of decolonisation view of Quebec independence, a view that was championed by Falardeau, for instance.”

    I’m going to debunk that right here and now. The logic behind this argument assumes that “les maudits Anglos du Canada” are all to blame for Québec’s situation when this is in fact not the case.

    Do you honestly believe that the socio-economic elite of English Canada was any nicer to Canadian workers than to the Québécois just because we spoke their language? That is absurd, the reason we were treated better was because we had a strong labour movement that forced them to make concessions, while the hyper-conservative environment of Québec (which was in league with the elite, I will give you that) stiffled the labour movement in Québec and accused the Canadian workers of godlessness for sticking up for ourselves.

    Trust me, if they were given the choice, our elite would have loved to spread the social control and power they enjoyed in Québec across the whole country. We stood up to them, you did not until the 1960’s.

    D.I.D.

    May 6, 2011 at 4:09 pm

  28. “Without reacting to the obviously loaded language…there is another way: Quebec can rise taxes at a reasonable level; say at a pre-reaganian level. Even in the US people slowly come to realize that the present low taxations levels are irresponsible in the long run.”

    Quebec is already the highest taxed district in North America. Do you think it could raise taxes even further without hurting its competitiveness with the rest of the world, and in particular, the USA in which it does the vast majority of its trade and relationship?

    Furthermore, can you really convince the Quebec middle class and businesses, who is already fed up with the high taxes that they pay, to support Quebec independence by telling them that an independant Quebec will raise taxes to maintain its inefficient social programs and syndicates at the same level as before?

    “That’s the idea of decolonisation view of Quebec independence, a view that was championed by Falardeau, for instance.”

    Like D.I.D. said, that is bunk and furthermore is now history. Arguing for independence based on historical grievances is shallow in my opinion. The only argument for Quebec independence should be that it gives francophones their own country to manage as they please as they fight for survival in the anglophone-dominated North America. That is the only argument that needs to be said.

    Since you spoke of Falardeau, follow this pertinent quote from him “Ce que je veux, c’est un pays normal, comme tous les autres pays, avec des pauvres, des riches, une droite, une gauche…”

    Antonio

    May 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm

  29. If you read french, there IS a complete explanation of QS’s ideas on Quebec, nationalism and ‘separatism’;

    http://www.revuerelations.qc.ca/relations/archives/themes/textes/nationalisme/nati_bour_1005.htm
    There IS leftwing reasons for ‘liberation nationalism’ and all that.

    And Sweden proves Quebec, free, could get a reasonably well life.

    the Ubbergeek

    May 6, 2011 at 7:53 pm


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