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Illusion said:

Quebec has a solid 10-15 ridings that usually go conservative each election in suburbia in and around Quebec City.  Liberals win a tsunami of seats in the mega population centre of Montreal where they are unchallenged and so usually only a minority of seats get scooped up by the cons and BQ in the more rural areas and in Quebec City.  There is some correlation between Quebec sovereignty and Canadian conservatism but you are right that Quebec has its own unique brand.  Conservatives like Brian Mulroney won massive majorities in Quebec in the 80's by tapping into this sovereignty.  Harper tried this as well back in 2006 when he declared Quebec a "nation within a nation" but it didn't pay off as much.  Quebec can be tough to figure out though because 10 years ago almost the whole province pivoted on a dime and voted NDP on the basis of a very popular leader who had a very strong debate performance.  Outside of this one election, the NDP have done dismally in that province.

Bernier is definitely hostile towards separatism and this does put him a bit at odds with potential supporters both in Quebec as well as within Alberta as both of these provinces have significant separatist movements.  It probably actually hurts him quite a bit in Alberta as there is a very strong growing separatist sentiment there but no national parties to occupy that space.  It might be the difference between him winning a seat vs not in the rural parts of that province.  That said, I do appreciate a politician who is willing to stand on principles when caving could give an immediate payoff, even if I don't agree with the position.

I don't remember Bernier's ego or him getting the majority of debate time.  Actually, I thought his poor English skills really hurt him in that debate and his performance was a bit forgettable.  It would have been interesting to see how much he could have improved on that this time.  The PPC really should be an Alberta/Sask centered party because outside of Bernier's home riding of Beauce, the PPC doesn't have a hope in Quebec.  Some recent polls show the PPC scratching at 20% in Alberta which is unprecedented.

My issue with the PPC ban from the debate is the poll numbers.  Bernier was invited in 2019 at a time when the PPC also had not won any seats either (he won his own seat sitting as a CPC member but left the party between elections and formed the PPC) and the PPC was polling at like 3%.  Honestly, the PPC probably shouldn't have been invited in 2019 but it made sense for the liberal dominated media to do so because his presence could help split the vote with the CPC and let the libs inch out a very tight election.  That said, in 2021 he is polling more than twice as high as he did before and there is considerable evidence of major momentum behind the PPC right now.  The reason for both the PPC surge and his absence from the debates is the same:  policies of the 4 major parties such as mandatory vaccine passports to go to work, etc is clearly coming from some very powerful controllers that are sitting in shadows and pulling the strings and this is turning a lot of people off.  In 2021, people are seriously looking at rejecting globalist policies which wasn't an issue in 2019 or really any time before that in Canada in the last 50 years.  Bernier is now a real voice of change who can finally do some damage to the New World Order agenda in Canada and that makes him too dangerous to attend the debates.

Concerning the internal dynamics of Quebec, I was referring to Quebec's internal politics. As you can see from the outcome of the most recent election thereto, sovereigntist parties currently hold 94 out of the 125 seats in Quebec's internal parliament and enjoy the cumulative support of more than 70% of the population. The only Canadian party that holds seats in Quebec's internal parliament is the Liberal Party, which is also the only federalist party with any seats. There is no domestic Conservative Party in Quebec; no party that wants to define itself more by right wing ideology than by sovereigntism.

The question in federal elections isn't whether Quebecers want national sovereignty (they clearly do, and that fact is persistent), it's how much of a priority they consider that to be as an issue at a given moment in time. Any Canadian party that wants to contest in Quebec will do better though to recognize and support its nationhood.

To understand the details, one should notice that there are Quebec sovereigntist parallels to all of Canada's parties (e.g. the governing Coalition Avenir Quebec = the Conservatives, Quebec Solidaire = the New Democrats, and the Parti Quebecois is a sovereigntist analogy to the Liberal Party), but the social liberal vote in Quebec is split between its sovereigntist faction (the Parti Quebecois) and its larger federalist faction (the Liberal Party), which is why the right-leaning Coalition currently prevails. Were the social liberals united on the issue of sovereignty, they would clearly dominate because there are more of them per capita in Quebec than in Canada. By contrast, the Coalition's support level simply parallels that of the Conservatives in Canada and Quebec Solidaire's support level likewise parallels that of the New Democrats in Canadian elections. That's the political composition: high support for liberal multiculturalism, but even broader and more unanimous support for national sovereignty, with some, but a finite amount of, overlap.

You're nonetheless right in the sense that nationalist parties in any country tend to have a somewhat socially conservative bent in that one is somewhat required to embrace the concept of national values. Concepts like national values can naturally run a bit contrary to the liberal ideal of multiculturalism, or at least position multiculturalism within stricter limits. To that end, it makes sense that the most dedicated nationalists would be social conservatives who live in rural areas and that liberal values would prevail more in urban centers. Softer nationalism that embraces multicultural values more though is common in all different kinds of places. It's not a coincidence that it's specifically Quebec's social liberals who lean toward federalism while the social conservatives and progressives alike are both one-sidedly pro-sovereignty. One could say, in this sense, that the Quebec nationalist (or most any nationalist) coalition demographically resembles Franklin Roosevelt's old, now-defunct New Deal coalition here in the U.S. in that it mainly revolves around politically uniting workers and farmers. The Bloc Quebecois seeks to represent all of those people.

Anyway, there is definitely evidence that the People's Party has acquired a real base of support in this election that they just didn't have in 2019 and I suspect that as much is owed to...

1) The coronavirus being an issue in this election, unlike in 2019. There is no pro-Covid party other than the PPC in Canada, so the minority of the population that opposes vaccines and such needs somewhere to go and they can't look to Conservative leader Erin O'Toole to back their position. Being an American, I'm fully aware that that's likely a significant chunk of the population, albeit definitely a minority. That and...

2) Exclusion from the debates. Maxime Bernier was terrible at defending his positions in 2019 and having to on a national debate stage definitely hurt him (he lost his re-election bid) and his party as a whole in a way that caused most of its supporters to abandon it for the Conservative Party when it came time to actually vote. I'm actually kind of with you on the merits of including the People's Party leader in these debates for that reason. Exclusion from the debates has allowed the PPC to claim social cancellation and persecution instead of having to defend their unpopular "populist" positions, which they're terrible at doing. The BQ isn't really a good comparison here considering that they only contest in Quebec for obvious reasons and currently hold 32 seats in the federal parliament, which is out of Quebec's 78 total for perspective, while the People's Party of Canada is obviously supported pretty exclusively in a different country (Canada) wherein their support is spread out far more thinly across the much larger space they actually contest. However, in terms of popular support, you're right in that it's tough to explain the inclusion of Annamie Paul of the Green Party in these debates while PPC, which currently polls about twice as well, enjoys no representation. (Paul is proving to be no Elizabeth May and her pick as the new Green leader expresses a recent shift into unpopular wokeness territory that runs parallel to the New Democratic Party's analogous, and analogously unpopular, shift toward concerning itself only with the opinions the youth. To this end, the Greens so far are so far only polling about half as well as in the 2019 election.)

As to my characterization of Bernier's debate style, I linked to the 2019 debate I was referencing in my previous post, so you can judge for yourself. It's impossible not to notice how much time allotted to other leaders he manages to absorb through constant interruptions and trying to talk over other people. I believe normal people found his disproportionate aggressiveness off-putting. I know I sure did. He was just a Trump-like person who behaved like his American idol.

Last edited by Jaicee - on 12 September 2021