Saturday, January 23, 2010

And so what of the ADQ?


My last post on Quebec touches on the ADQ's problems, but what of them? What is next? Lets for a moment take a look at another provincial-only right-wing party. The Wildrose Alliance. They are, at the moment, polling for government in Alberta, but what of them before they became "hot"?

To fully understand what happened in Alberta, you have to go all the way back to the 1971 election of the PC Party. In 1971, and following this in 1975 and 1979, Social Credit remained the official opposition. In 1982, 2 members of the party started their own party, and managed to get re-elected, and take 12% of the vote. In 86 a western separatist party took 5% of the vote. In fact, outside of 89 and 2001, there has always been some kind of right-opposition in Alberta.

Lets glance back at Quebec for a moment. In 1985, the PC Party made an entrance, and took a whole 1% of the vote. In 1989, there was no major right-wing opponent to the Liberals, but outside of this, there also, like Alberta, been a right-wing opposition party. Recently, that has been the ADQ. Now, back to Alberta. In 1997 a man named Randy Thorsteinson lead the Alberta Social Credit party though an election and brought it to within spitting distance of the NDP. He later quit due to precived bias against him (he is Mormon) Thorsteinson went on to found the Alberta Alliance, which won a seat in the 2004 provincial election, electing Paul Hinman, also a Mormon. As the only MLA, Hinman went on to become leader. By the 2008 election, a new party, the Wildrose Party had spring up as another right-wing alternative. It had the big names, and big dollars, but lacked the grassroots organization and in-place party machine the Alberta Alliance did. The two decided to merge and throw in their chances with a single party. Although they came very close to re-electing Hinman, they failed. Now it is 2010. The party has a new leader, they found a seat for Hinman, have two floor crossers, and are polling near 40%.

So, what does this mean for Quebec? It means, in short, the ADQ may be dead in a few years, but the "ADQ" may yet take government. How? The same way Reform Party member Stephen Harper become Prime Minister. Though mergers, party re-branding, and other such things. There were roomers a few years ago that should Charest ever lose government, that the federal Conservatives would make a serious attempt to organize a provincial party in Quebec. How much water this holds is unknown, but the fact that it is a possibility does mean a possible bittersweet end to the ADQ. Clearly the ADQ was never able to move beyond Dumont, but one thing they did gain was a present party machine, and grassroots connections. Even if many of their supporters have drifted, those who were once "in the know" likely remember others "in the know" making connections easy to re-establish.

I for one feel that this is the path the ADQ is going to be heading down. Weather it changes it's name, or merges with some upstart party, I do not see the ADQ in it's current form lasting for very much longer, while at the same time I do not see the idea of a right-wing francophone opposition party vanishing any time soon.

Sorry, no extra data today!