Whether intentional or unintentional, our biases influence our work. I'd therefore like to explain where I stand in relation to the parties in Quebec.
I've never been a fan of the PQ. I've always felt they are a little bit racist. They think of the Quebecois as an ethnicity, "nous", while I, do not. I think of the Quebecois as no different than Acadians, a type of French who live in Canada. To me, Acadian and Quebecois are "Ethnically" French, as in France French, and the same applies to all French-Canadians. The PQ seems to think differently with relations to Quebecois. They seem to think of the Quebecois much as the Kurds do of themselves. Trying to argue that the Kurds should have more rights an an independent Kurdistan is something that many would support; but the Kurds are internationally recognized as an independent ethnic group, the Quebecois are not. For this reason I despise the current PQ, Marois, and the PQ campaign of identity politics. I consider their plan to restrict the rights of those who do not speak French as akin to ethnic cleansing. Perhaps not the same violence-based ethnic cleansing that has been seen in the Balkans, but much closer to the expulsion of the Acadians by the British in the 1700s. I honestly think that the PQ would be very very happy if every last Anglophone left Quebec, and that is a viewpoint that I find disgusting.
The QS is an interesting case for me. While I support an alternative to the PQ, I do not oppose sovereignty as an idea. In fact, I favour more provincial powers, and, support the right of Quebec to declare independence on 50%+1 of the vote in a referendum. The QS however is more than just another sovereigntist party, they are very radically left wing. I may be on the left of the spectrum on many issues, but I'm just not as left wing as the QS. For this reason, while I am quite happy to see them take seats away from the PQ in Montreal, I would be a little uncomfortable to see them become a large party.
The ON appeals to me. I've never seen anyone even bother to attempt to make the case for sovereignty until this video
As mentioned above, I think that this argument is a strong one. Despite that, given the history of the PQ, this 25 second shaky video is still the single strongest argument ever made for Anglophones to vote OUI. I honestly think if the ON were to get into government and rule for 5 years, that Anglophones would actually be willing to vote OUI. The fear of PQ racism is what I think drives many Anglophones to go out in droves and vote against Separation. With the ON trying to prove that you can be a OUI voter and not a racist, they appeal to me.
The PLQ is tired and old, and Charest seems unwilling to think outside the box to change things. Don't get me wrong, I have great respect for Charest. In fact, the "Charest Liberal" is where I often sit politically. In the centre-right of economics but still Liberal. Charest has also been one of the luckiest politicians in the history of Canada. He avoided winning the 1993 PC leadership, and thus, avoided blame for the 1993 PC defeat. He brought the PC Party in 1997 back to life, and just before people started to seriously question a united right, was called away to Quebec. He lost the 1998 Quebec election, one that gave the PQ it's most unpopular term of office in over a decade, and when he finally won in 2003, it was with an ADQ that consisted of more than just one man, an alternative to the PQ. After a minority in 2007 that harmed the PQ more than the PLQ, Charest pulled a majority out of his hat in 2008. The magic has finally worn off. Corruption stains the government and Charest seems set to lose his seat and his job. The PLQ, frankly, does not deserve to be re-elected.
The CAQ is a merger of disaffected PQ and PLQ members with the old ADQ. I remember watching the 2007 election on my TV and getting to my feet, jumping in the air, clapping, and laughing, as the ADQ overtook the PLQ in terms of seats. It was not a reaction I expected from myself, but in hindsight, I was very happy to see someone, anyone, break the two party system that had existed since Levesque. Looking deep into the policies, I support the CAQ much more than I support the ADQ. If I was living in Quebec and someone gave me a ballot, telling me my riding was tied and my ballot was the deciding ballot, without question I'd vote CAQ.
So, how to counter all this bias? The first step, I think, is to be aware of it. I'm quite aware that I favour the CAQ over the PQ and it is part of what pains my thinking. Am I seeing a movement to the CAQ over the PQ because I want to, or, because the statistics back it up? That is a topic I will tackle in my next post.