March 27, 2015

Harper's majority may depend on Quebec

Hamish MarshallRebel Commentator

Stephen Harper is going to have a hard time holding on to his majority in this fall’s election – but his chances of victory may get an unexpected boost from Quebec.

The conventional wisdom in English Canada is that soft-left Quebecers will vote en masse for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals giving them enough seats to challenge for power. The trouble is that Quebecers don’t seem to be going along with this plan.

While Trudeau and the parliamentary press gallery are outraged by Harper’s demand that niqabs be banned at Canadian citizenship ceremonies it is playing well right across the country. Quebec has been struggling with these issues for years and on this issue Harper is certainly in line with the values of certain Quebecers.

It’s making a difference in the Quebec City area – where the Conservatives are now at 41%, up three percent from last month. In 2011 the Conservatives only got 30% in the region and the NDP got 39% winning most of the seats. At 41% the Conservatives could sweep the area winning five or six new seats because the opposition is so divided.

Parliament is growing by 30 seats in the next election and when the results of the 2011 election are distributed on the new boundaries Prime Minister Harper is defending an 18 seat majority. That was always going to be tough after nearly a decade in power – but if the Conservatives can gain five or six in Quebec City holding that majority will be much easier.

Just as Quebec may save Harper, it is also making things very tough for Justin Trudeau. The most recent poll from CROP has the Liberals at 29%, neck and neck with the NDP at 30%. On the surface that’s more than double what the Liberals got in the last election, and they should be on track to win many more seats. But the problem is that the Liberal vote is very concentrated among the non-French speakers who make up only 18% of Quebec’s population.

In fact, the Liberals are only at 23% among francophone Quebecers. What this means practically is that a seat has to be less than half francophone for the Liberals to win it. There are only 8 seats in Quebec that fall into this category, and the Liberals already hold 5 of them.

Even if we include seats which are less than one third Francophone – which would be a real stretch with the Liberal Francophone support below 25% - there are only 18 of these seats, and the Liberals hold 8 of them, and another one of them is Tom Mulcair’s seat. So that means the absolute best case the Liberals can expect in Quebec is to gain 9 seats. That’s not enough to get ahead of the NDP, much less win the election.

And one little twist may make things even worse for Trudeau: Irwin Cotler the MP for Mount Royal is retiring. Mount Royal is the second most Jewish riding in the country and as the Conservatives have gained in that community Cotler has seen his support drop from 92% in his first election to only 41% in 2011. His was able to hang on in the last election mainly because of his personal popularity. With Cotler not on the ballot this is a seat the Conservatives could actually grab from the Liberals in Quebec.

You must be logged in to comment. Click here to log in.
commented 2015-05-01 23:59:28 -0400
Since the early 1970’s, being known as a Conservative-minded, freedom-fighting Canadian, for the first time in my life, I’ve got a major problem in voting,

A full ‘24% of the total accumulated debt since Confederation’ has been amassed under the watch of top-down, party-line-controlling, Stephen Harper and his spineless, gutless, conservative=sellout. Clapping Seals. This monumental feat has been ‘achieved’, just since 2008, under a continued using and bastardizing of the word ‘conservative’.

It is obvious that I and all ;thinking’ conservatives have ’No Party To Vote For.

What a damn shame.

It could and should have been so different for those of us who had fought so hard in the trenches against the socialist, ‘Trudeau, The Terrible’.

A one-man, ‘majority government dictator’ was definitely not in our wildest of dreams and definitely not in what we had fought for.

Some of us had even paid with our daytime jobs and incomes over our political activities.

On line, the torch now appears to be in your hands.
Use and wave it wisely
commented 2015-04-24 19:40:37 -0400
Great post! Must go to the old ville in the summer—the terrace, foulon—lovely town for just walking about .
commented 2015-04-16 19:54:09 -0400
Quebec may end up being a pleasant surprise for Harper. The people in Quebec will see that the PM is a strong supporter of the Province.
commented 2015-04-16 13:23:41 -0400
quebec will certainly help..but the election will still be decided in ontario.. 37% will easily rise above 40 by october… the wynne crime family is ensuring this.. thank you godfather
commented 2015-04-16 08:29:08 -0400
I think harper gonna win a stronger majority then 2011… province will see gain for harper for sure…..
commented 2015-04-16 08:00:32 -0400
Didn’t need quebec last time around. More seats outside of quebec too.
Conservatives didn’t need lamestream media either.
commented 2015-03-28 21:52:08 -0400
Jeffrey Tighe you have described the correct procedure to oust a minority government…but what Jack Layton brought to the Governor General was dismissed as illegal and out of order. In the scenario you described the usual outcome after that is to call another election if a government that has sufficient votes of confidence cannot be formed.
commented 2015-03-28 17:19:52 -0400
@glenn Craig – you comment is incorrect. It is not illegal to form a coalition and oust the party that won the most seats. Although it was not a coalition government, the Liberals and NDP ousted the PCs in Ontario in 1985, even though the PCs won the most seats. In a minority parliament, the incumbent gets first shot at governing, unless they clearly have fewer seats (like when Paul Martin lost to Harper). If a governing party is defeated very quickly, say on its first throne speech or budget, the governor general will usually ask the second party if they can form a government. At that point the second and third parties can form a coalition, or the second party can just ask the third party for their support outside of a coalition. It is perfectly legal.
commented 2015-03-28 15:28:02 -0400
These same “predicters” foretold an NDP majority in BC (Liberals won by a landslide), that Netanyahu would lose his leadership (he’s got a larger portion of the Israeli government), and that Trudeau will win a majority government this next election. How on earth can we trust them again?
commented 2015-03-28 12:13:37 -0400
You know, I think the original pizzas only had herbs and cheese. Just sayin’ :)
commented 2015-03-28 11:09:50 -0400
About the business of coalitions….you cannot form one to oust the party that won the most seats…nope…not even in pizza topping states like Italy and Israel….it has never happened…it never should happen…that’s why it didn’t happen when Jack Layton tried it…it simply ain’t legal.
commented 2015-03-28 10:02:32 -0400
I hope
commented 2015-03-28 08:22:39 -0400
I have to agree with Brian, Joan, a Conservative/NDP coalition … not on this planet. Can you imagine the personality conflicts between Harper & Mulcair, immovable object meet irresistible force.

David Black made a point, if Harper gets seats in Quebec, then that should make an even stronger majority. Historically when Ontario has a Liberal government, they vote Conservative federally. Let’s hope this trend holds. Maybe the Wynn government’s corruption will taint Ontarians liking for Liberals.
commented 2015-03-28 00:24:51 -0400
Bwahhhaaaaaa! Pardon me if I have trouble envisioning a Conservative/DipperHead cooo-aaalition gubmint. I seriously doubt it would work much less even come about. Let’s not jinx a proper Conservative majority.
commented 2015-03-28 00:23:03 -0400
There is one thing that Alberta and Quebec are very adamant about. We will not let the Muslims change our culture. Being an Albertan I salute québécois for there steadfastness in regards to Muslims trying to undermine French or English culture. We may not see eye to eye all the time but we will stand shoulder to shoulder in defence of our shared values.
commented 2015-03-27 23:43:50 -0400
listen. If worse comes to worst, Harper can ask Mulcair to form a coalition to defeat a Liberal minority. Why not? Strange bedfellows (and gals) does politics make.
commented 2015-03-27 23:38:46 -0400
Ever since 9/11 Cotler has been less and less popular in the Liberal Party because of his pro-Jewish advocacy in Montreal areas hit by anti-semitic attacks and in Israel where he’s advocated for the state there. Because he’s a Jew.

Were he to run today, Cotler would likely do so as a Conservative. Times are changing. One is too many Jews for growing numbers of Liberal voters.
commented 2015-03-27 23:28:55 -0400
Maybe, Warren, but I’ll bet Sir John A. Macdonald could have drunk him under the table!
commented 2015-03-27 22:30:21 -0400
Right Honourable Mister Man Harper WILL win another majority and he WILL pick up seats in EVERY region. He has proven his leadership skills, statesmanship, and EARNED the people’s RESPECT. Best Prime Minister in Canadian History. Bar None.

I wish he’d send someone out to Alberta to run our province. We could use the help.
commented 2015-03-27 21:43:35 -0400
There has also been a few seats added in Saskatchewan. Saskatoon has a few, that I fear will go to NDP. One or two. This is going to be a election.
commented 2015-03-27 21:18:43 -0400
These same polls had Michael Ignatiev crowned king….an important point that these pollsters seem to miss is that the people who hang up and those who say “f*ck off” and hang up are going to vote tory.
commented 2015-03-27 20:16:07 -0400
I am a Quebecer and I am telling everyone around me to vote conservative!!
But how many people vote thinking it through!
Aren’t most voting like robots! …My dad vote liberal so I vote liberal and vote liberal again!
commented 2015-03-27 18:46:04 -0400
I hope the predictions of another conservative majority are right, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Even if we see another conservative majority, we’ll still be dealing with that proliferation of liberal, left-wing judges, up to and including those sitting on Supreme Court. Until we can get the final word on the laws passed by parliament out of the hands of these unelected bodies, we’re always going to be dealing with this problem, and true democracy is always going to be compromised. I don’t know how to fix that. (Well, I do… but my ideas would go over like a lead balloon, with the legal framework that this Nation was built on)
commented 2015-03-27 17:32:00 -0400
And, nice shot of Quebec City—thanks for that!
commented 2015-03-27 17:29:25 -0400
Interesting analysis of the Quebec situation, but the election is still rather distant.
commented 2015-03-27 17:17:05 -0400
I don’t understand. Up until the last election, the conventional wisdom was you needed to win Quebec to have any chance at a Majority. However, I thought Harper dispelled that mith after the last election by winning next to nothing in Quebec. Now with 30 new ridings, mostly outside Quebec and mostly in areas that is going to help the Conservatives, I don’t see how Harper’s majority is in doubt. I feel he’ll have a bigger majority despite what happens in Quebec. If this story is correct, and the Conservatives are going to gain in Quebec, then we’ll be looking at a Conservative landslide.
commented 2015-03-27 16:30:49 -0400
ways to go for trends to develop but I like the current one…atlantic canada will be red, maybe even a couple of greens from ndp, no gains there…
commented 2015-03-27 15:16:36 -0400
but the bottom line is still ontario….i wonder if any of the opp"investigations" will have been concluded by october?
commented 2015-03-27 15:12:25 -0400
Harper proved two things last time around – you don’t need kewbeck and you don’t need to MSM.
Nice move on the guns laws changes – outback kewbeck will love Harper for that and he’ll win votes – Harper knows he won’t get squat from Muntreeal.

What’s better is that the NDP and liberals will split the left vote and Harper will benefit / win as a result.
commented 2015-03-27 14:59:40 -0400
Quebec did at one time (1962) send 26 Creditise ,led by Real Caouette, to parliament. It was an unexpected cut into the Diefenbaker’s PC’s, which left the government of the day in a minority situation. Quebec can be a fast swing-vote province.