With the recent emergence of the CAQ, it looks like we’re on the verge of a new world in Quebec politics. After 40 years of OUI vs NON, the CAQ appears to be driving our local politics back towards the question of which part can best govern. As our infrastructure tumbles around us, I’m glad that’s where the focus is going.
Now, as an Anglophone Quebecer, I’ve long had only one choice: Vote Liberal.

That’s not to say I have or haven’t been happy with the choice; in fact, I rather like Jean Charest and his leadership. That said, now that there appears to be two legitimate non-separatist parties (1 federalist, 1 who won’t take sides), the next vote won’t just be a knee-jerk-vote-for-the-PLQ situation. Rather, I’m going to make an educated decision based on what the PLQ and CAQ have to say over the next year-and-a-half or so.

I will track my feelings on the parties on this page throughout.

A few observations:

– The ADQ is just a merger waiting to happen. Either they link up with the CAQ or disappear forever. They were always doomed to fail because they were less about ideas than they were a cult of personality built around Mario Dumont. When they got close to power, they totally flubbed it and basically got crushed. They now have a few MNAs, however, with experience and the CAQ could be a good place for those MNAs to go.

– The PLQ has been plagued by scandals lately, but anyone who thinks they’re any different from any long-standing government has to have their head examined. The PQ, the federal Liberals, Union Montreal, whatever, whenever – all governments are guilty of graft. favouritism, and so on after time. I’m not saying that’s OK, but I am saying that it’s not a reason to pick one party over the other. Eventually we’ll see the same things coming out of the federal Conservative government, and any other party that is in governance at any level over time.

– I’ve always liked Jean Charest, and I will continue to like him. I especially appreciated the Quebec’s recent laws weakening the construction unions, but I didn’t love how long it took him to call a proper public inquiry into the construction sector. I tend to agree that it should be the police dealing with it instead of a costly public investigation, but sometimes principles have to be put aside in order to give the public what it wants. That’s Democracy 101. It took Charest a while, but he eventually did the right thing.

The parties at a glance:

– PLQ:
Likes: They’ve done a pretty good job over the last near-decade of governance in terms of keeping Quebec financially viable; Charest has been pretty vocal about the need to weaken the influence of unions in Quebec society; The Liberals are the only firmly-declared Federalist party in Quebec.

Dislikes: I still think they butchered the de-merger situation, but there’s nothing we can do about it now; I’d like to see them be a little more interested in the Anglophone community instead of taking us for granted as guaranteed votes (which I anticipate happening now that the CAQ is trying to snag some of the Anglo vote); They have fallen too often into the PQ’s xenophobia trap – exhibit A: Not allowing religious Sikhs into the National Assembly because they had ceremonial daggers on their persons, despite having invited those very Sikhs to the Assembly for a discussion on reasonable accommodations) – someone should be courageous enough to stand up to the racists in the PQ and declare Quebec to be a place of tolerance and acceptance , and I believe that someone should be our governing party; Their logo is terrible.

 Yeah, not a chance.

Dislikes: This is a party of failed ideas, small minds, and racist tendencies. This is a part of hatred based on the principle of destroying the very country that allows them to flourish. This is a party full of bigots and fear-mongers who can’t and won’t tolerate Quebec moving full steam ahead into the Global Village. For the record, I believe in most of Bill 101 (French face, etc), but this party does not exist to promote French – it exists to hate English and any other language or culture it believes stands in the way of a white, French, pur-laine society. This is the part of lazy, selfish unions. This is the party that represents all of the worst parts of our society.

 I very much like that this part seems to be reaching out to everyone who just no longer wants to have Quebec society revolve around the threat of separation; The CAQ appears to be a fiscally-conservative, but socially open party that wishes to govern from the centre; The CAQ has both federalists and separatists in its midst and seems poised to truly deliver the promise of closing the constitutional debate for the duration of its mandate, should it win an election.

Dislikes: Is Francois Legault a separatist sheep in wolf’s clothing? Update, August 2012: No. No. and No.