338 Canada: What’s Left of the Orange Wave in Quebec? Little bit.
Philippe J. Fournier: Ten years ago, the NDP won a remarkable 59 seats in Quebec. In our last electoral projection, the party runs the risk of losing its only seat in the province.
Had friends for a drink and pizza. We had all written our predictions on a board and had even made some friendly bets on them. Everyone had the Conservatives winning the most seats (as polls clearly indicated in the last leg of the campaign), although there was disagreement over the CCP’s margin of victory.
As for Quebec, polls at the end of the campaign had shown that Jack Layton’s NDP was on the rise, and even ahead of the Bloc Québécois, but few in the room believed that it would materialize in many seats, as the NDP did not it had no roots or basic game in Quebec. . In fact, not only did the NDP never win more than one seat in Quebec in a general election, but the majority of the NDP candidates in the province were “des candidats poteaux” (paper candidates), with the notable exception of Tom Mulcair who ran in Outremont.
That was 10 years ago tonight. We were watching the results on Radio-Canada, but the television was silent as we ate and chatted about the state of Canadian politics. I kept an eye on the seat totals at the bottom of the screen. Early that night, we all understood that the Conservatives were going to have a good night, with almost sweeps from both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. However, I remember wondering, “Why does it take so long for the results from Quebec to arrive?” The Bloc Québécois number at the bottom of the screen continued to fluctuate between three and five for several minutes. What’s going on?
Then we saw the map. It wasn’t that Quebec’s results had been delayed in any way, but rather that the Bloc Québécois, a party that had dominated the federal landscape in the province for two decades until then, had been completely decimated, losing more than 90 percent of its group meeting that night. Even BQ leader Gilles Duceppe lost his own district of Laurier-Sainte-Marie, where he had been chosen seven times in a row.
The NDP ended up winning 59 seats in Quebec, a figure never matched by the Bloc Québécois in its history, and a total of one seat over Brian Mulroney’s defeat of the Progressive Conservative in 1984. On the betting board, I was the one. which projected the NDP with the highest seat count in Quebec among my group of friends with… 30 seats. No one was even close, including me.
While the obvious national story that night was that Stephen Harper finally won his coveted majority, the first majority for a Conservative party at the federal level since 1988, the post-election narrative, as I recall, was quite different in Quebec. With the bloc nearly eliminated from the House of Commons, would the NDP become the champion of progressive politics for center-left Quebec voters? Many observers noted that the 2011 elections could have led to a major realignment of the party and dramatically transformed Canadian politics in the years to come.
It could have, but it didn’t materialize. As Éric Grenier of CBC wrote in his last columnThe 2011 election could have been transformative for Canada, but now it seems like an outlier.
Jack Layton passed away that summer and was replaced by Tom Mulcair the following spring. While Mulcair proved to be an efficient MP and managed to keep his party competitive in the polls for most of this 41st Parliament, Mulcair was considerably overshadowed during the 2015 campaign by Justin Trudeau. The NDP went from 59 seats in Quebec in 2011 to just 16 seats in 2015. As for the Liberals, they went from seven disastrous seats in Quebec in 2011 to 40 in 2015, the highest number for Liberals in the province since 1980 ( Pierre Trudeau’s Last Pick).
Then, in October 2019, the NDP was reduced to just 24 seats coast-to-coast, including a single seat in Quebec.
So what’s left of Jack Layton’s Orange Wave in Quebec 10 years after the 2011 election? Well not much.
To consider the latest 338Canada seating projections (find the full list of federal surveys at this page). Nationally, Liberals remain close to the majority threshold with an average of 174 seats. The Conservative sits comfortably in second place just below its 2019 results of 121 seats, while the NDP is still a distant third on the national scene with an average of 27 seats.
As for Quebec, is still projected as a bipartisan race between the Liberals (averaging 39 percent of support) and the Québec bloc (29 percent). Below is the latest projection of 338 Canadian federal seats for Quebec (78 seats total):
The only electoral district in Quebec currently held by the NDP belongs to MP Alexandre Boulerice in Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie on the island of Montreal. According to data provided by the 2016 Canadian Census, Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie (RPP) is among Canada’s most densely populated federal districts, with more than 10,000 inhabitants per square kilometer. Its neighboring district to the west is Papineau, whose deputy is Prime Minister Trudeau. Naturally, due to its highly urban and multicultural demographics, we expect the RPP to be in the crosshairs of liberal strategists this fall if elections are called.
With recent polls showing Liberals gaining ground in Quebec and the NDP faltering, Jagmeet Singh risks losing his only Quebec seat. In fact, three federal polls deployed and published in the second half of April measured the NDP with single digit support in the province (from Ipsos, Abacus facts Y Mainstreet Research).
All of which suggests that RPP should be considered at stake. Here is the last 338 Canada Projection for RPP:
The NDP is not expected, at least for now, to be competitive in any other Quebec constituency.
As I mentioned before, the last decade indicated how volatile Quebec politics can be at times (for example: Three consecutive provincial elections resulting in three different winners), which is why no political party should take Quebec voters for granted. . As Jack Layton in 2011 and, to a lesser extent, Justin Trudeau in 2015 demonstrated, Quebec voters have not been shy about betting on a charismatic candidate running a strong campaign, to hell with party loyalty.
However, as current NDP figures show, success in one election does not guarantee success in the next.
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