Pragmatic nationalism buries independence in Quebec

Toronto (Canada), October 4 (EFE). The disaster of the Sovereign Party of Quebec (PQ) in Monday’s elections in Quebec, along with the resounding victory of the Alliance of the Future in Quebec (CAQ), heralds a new phase of pragmatic nationalism in the Canadian province.

With 99.99% of the counting complete, Quebec election data gave the Alliance of Avenir Québec (CAQ), a center-right nationalist party led by François Legault, 90 of the 125 seats in the National Assembly and regional parliament.

In second place was the Federal Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ), with 21 seats, followed by Québec Solidaire (QS), the sovereign left, with 11 deputies, and the PQ with only 3.

With these results, the powerful separatist movement in Quebec was reduced to 14 seats from the 125 seats in the National Assembly.

The Justice and Development Party, which organized independence referendums in 1980 and 1995 when it was in power, got the worst result in its history, worse than the seven deputies it got in 1970, the first elections it participated in after its establishment in 1968.

The PLQ, which together with the PQ has dominated Quebec political life for the past 50 years, has been practically reduced to the most populous city of Montreal in the province, and its suburbs.

pragmatic nationalism

Daniel Biland, director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and professor at McGill University in Montreal, explained to Efe that the collapse of the PQ and the triumph of the CAQ are the result of the pragmatism of Legault, the nationalist entrepreneur who has stalled perfect independence.

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“CAQ is very popular among older Francophone voters and has found a way to attract quite a few ex-PQ voters and liberals in part because of its unindependent nationalism and its fiscal centrist economic programme,” Biland declared.

Biland believes that it is this alliance that eliminates the possibility of a new separatist referendum.

“Although some commentators and competitors of the CAQ say that François Legault, who was in the past a minister in the PQ party, remains pro-sovereign, the truth is that his coalition is held together largely by his commitment not to organize a new party referendum.”

He added, “There are many Federals who vote for the CAQ and participate in their government. So changing their policy on referendums and sovereignty would jeopardize the survival of their electoral alliance which, while nationalist, is also pragmatic.”

However, Legault’s victory does not mean that it will not pose problems for the Canadian federal government and the country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

Cooperation with Ottawa

Peland stressed that Legault “will continue to push for Quebec to have more regional autonomy and more powers in areas such as immigration, which is very controversial.”

For now, Trudeau was quick to congratulate Legault and CAQ on their re-election. Shortly after learning of the CAQ win, Trudeau released a statement saying he wanted to continue working with Legault and the Quebec government.

“Together we will make Quebec, of which I am so proud, a better place to live,” he added.

Altogether, although the results may seem obvious, the reality is a bit more complicated thanks to the single-majority voting system, known in English as “first winner”, by which elections are held in Quebec and in the rest of Canada.

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And while the CAQ won 1,685,543 votes, or 40.98% of the votes cast, it would occupy 72% of the seats in the National Assembly.

The “injustice” of the majority voting system is more pronounced in the rest of the parties.

The PLQ party received 591,007 votes and 14.37% of the votes, giving it 21 deputies. But the QS with the most votes, 634,512 and 15.43% of the votes cast, will have half, 11 deputies. And the PQ party with 600,686 votes and 14.61% only three seats.

Perhaps the hardest hit was the Quebec Conservative Party, which received 530,891 votes, 12.91% of the votes cast, and despite this it will not enter the National Assembly.

Julio Cesar Rivas

(c) EFE . Agency

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