Thursday, May 17, 2012

Quebec Election and the next Referendum

At this point it is utterly unclear who would win an election in Quebec.   It could be the Liberals, the PQ or even the new centre right and mildly sovereigntist CAQ.   Polls have had all three in the lead this year but none of them has topped the polls comfortably for any length of time.

The next election in Quebec is likely to occur in the spring of 2013, there is an outside chance of this coming fall or Charest may hold off till the fall of 2013.   Whatever the date, the odds are not unrealistic that the PQ will win and if they do it means we will see another referendum on Quebec independence.

I think the odds that an independence referendum will pass is high, I do know that the polls are not saying that the public is in favour, but I do not think the pollsters have developed a good enough methodology to be able to ask this question and get an accurate result in absence of an actual campaign.   The next referendum campaign would have Stephen Harper as one of the primary voices for remaining in Canada

If it does pass the process of negotiating the separation will have to start.  The current federal government needs to consider what its negotiating position will be should this happen.   Even if the odds are low, the federal government will have to prepare for a yes vote.

As a nation we need to have the debate of what it means for Canada to exist without Quebec.   I suspect even if it does not pass in the next three years, it will pass within 15 years.  The political tide is moving towards a Canadian reality that will not allow Quebec to remain within the country as just another province.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Just thinking back to the last referendum I suspect you would see broader national support for the no side than back in 1995. I suspect unlike Mike Harcourt and Ralph Klein, Adrian Dix and Allison Redford would probably play a big role in any referendum fight as would Dalton McGuinty and the Atlantic Premiers(I suspect the involvement of Redford and Dix would probably lessen whatever political risk at home that might exist for the Premiers of Saskatchewan and Manitoba of getting involved). So I do think the dynamics would be different from 1995 when the Western Premiers and the Reform Party stayed out. In this scenario Stephen Harper would not play as big of a role as the other first ministers.