If the Tories don’t get a majority, thank the Bloc not the Grits, Greens or NDP

Having just finished a massive update to the Paulitics National Polling Resource, the Provincial/Regional Polling Resource, and the Seat Projection Meta-Analysis, there is one fact that has become abundantly clear:

If the Conservatives don’t get a majority, we should thank Gilles Duceppe’s Bloc Québecois, not the Dion Liberals, the May Greens, or Layton’s NDP.  Of all of the data uploaded this evening, the astonishing rise of the Bloc in Quebec (pictured below) is perhaps the most impressive.

Because of the Bloc’s rise, the Conservatives have dropped 10% in Quebec since September 13th.  In other words, 1 in 3 Tory supporters in Québec have abandoned that party since September 13th.


8 Responses to “If the Tories don’t get a majority, thank the Bloc not the Grits, Greens or NDP”

  1. 1 janfromthebruce 5 October, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    I personally would like to thank Gilles Duceppe’s Bloc Québecois for preventing an Harper majority. Gilles was able to make hay when Harper did a few strategic blunders that were huge in Quebec – attack the arts and want to put youth in jail in adults.
    I also think that people should quit calling them derogatory names such as “separatists” and so on. They have just “saved” the majority of our supposed “progressive little butts” from Harperism.

  2. 2 Doug 6 October, 2008 at 10:05 am

    The argument is a bit shallow, Paul. There are many reasons why the Tories might not win a majority, and it ain’t all up to the Bloc.

    I’d chalk it up to the polarization of Canadian society and the fragmentation of broad status quo consensus politics. We should be thanking Canada’s social movements, not necessarily the Bloc.

    In the past decade, we’ve seen mass movements against globalization with the FTAA in Quebec City and G8 in Calgary and the biggest demos in Canadian history against the then-pending war in Iraq. The antiwar movement remains relatively small but its influence has been to turn the bigger wheel of public opinion on the question of missile defence, war resisters and Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan. We’re not seeing the numbers in the streets like in the lead up to Iraq, but the work of anti-war campaigners has brought the NDP out against the war, virtually the entire labour movement has formal positions of troops out now, and in Quebec, Duceppe’s politics are being constantly pulled to the left by the fragmentation of the nationalist voting bloc because of the formation of Quebec solidaire in the wake of the PQ’s neoliberalism.

    The crisis of Canadian politics is happening on a political level as reflected in the polls. In 2000 and in the elections before it, the collective vote of the corporate parties (Liberals, Tories, PC, Reform, Canadian Alliance) was about 78 percent. In 2004 – after the anti-globalization and anti-war movement were at its peak – this fell to 66 percent with the NDP-Green-Bloc vote rising from 20 to 32 percent over this period. Using your rolling average, the trend is continuing and the pro-corporate parties will fall to 60 percent and the opposition vote rising to about 38.

    The political crisis is currently contained within the bounds of parliamentary democracy. Climate change, war and recession and the ongoing national question in Quebec and among First Nations is only going to fragment the parliamentary landscape even more. And we’re already starting to see further decomposition of the neoliberal “common sense” amidst the current economic crisis.

    Thank the Bloc? Well, yeah, sure, but the inability of Harper to crack 40 percent of *voters* (which is how much of actual potential voters?) is due to the general shift to the left of Canadian voters, a shift which is not necessarily conscious but a reflection of people responding quite correctly to the problems being thrown up by global (and Canadian) capitalism.

  3. 3 Nick J Boragina 6 October, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    To anyone who thinks the Bloc is the saviour of Progressivism in Canada, May I suggest reading “Dead Centre” by Jamey Heath.

  4. 4 Mattie 6 October, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Thank goodness for Quebecors. They are smart… as they see mr. blue sweater as an iceburg that xerox’s… with bad ideas that aren’t so true north strong and free as he proclaims.

    Guess he should have followed his own election laws. And hopefully he’ll get the message from Canadians and work with the other parties in the HOC. I think this is the 3rd election in which we told those silly leaders to make government work in a minority situation, using ideas from all parties and regions.

  5. 5 Hunter Mars 6 October, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    I find your contention that we should all thank Gilles and the separatists for blocking the Con-clones,from a majority, as somewhat specious .
    All they can do is block the seats in Quebec .No pun intended .
    This election will see some fifteen million Canadians vote .
    The last election 15,000,votes made the difference for the Clones in several ridings almost none of them in Quebec save for the ten Mario Dumont gave them .
    Harpo will lose a ton of seats all across the nation save for Alberta wheere they are too stupid to vote for anything other than the Clones .

  6. 6 paulitics 6 October, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Doug – I agree with your qualification. I should emphasize that my contention wasn’t that we shouldn’t thank social movements such as the anti-war movement. Rather, my contention was simply that of the major political parities, the political organization which can claim the most credit is the Bloc rather than the Liberals, Greens or NDP.

    P.S. I actually wrote a post on exactly the topic you mentioned with regards to the decline in support of the main capitalist parties. If you’re interested, you can access it here:


  7. 7 Doug N. 7 October, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks Paul – a very good post you made. Glad to see others noticing this trend, and not succumbing to some of the terrible “Canada is becoming more conservative” arguments from the pessimist-left, the same arguments that happened in the US after the 2004 presidential election. I know I’m talking to the converted when I say polls should only be treated as a useful starting point for a deeper analysis to actually understand what is going on.

    It will be interesting to see what happens ideologically and politically in Canada with the economic crisis that is already upon us (and will get worse, let’s be clear about that!). There is no guarantee, as some lefties claim, that hard times will produce some sort of revolutionary movement against capitalism. It took four years after the 1929 crash for any substantial working-class protest to erupt in the US, UK, Canada and elsewhere. Things are looking good on this front, though, because it matters what ideas are in common currency as we enter an economic crisis. As we’ve said, there is an ideological and political fragmentation and polarization in Canadian society and thousands upon thousands of people have the recent memories of participating in mass demonstrations (the war, Quebec City, other stuff). This is important because we know the politicians and big business will try to make workers pay for the crisis. There’s going to be a fight to be had.

    That said, jumping back to the Bloc, Duceppe is an old trade union hack who knows how to speak to an audience. He consistently raises working class issues – UI most prominently in recent elections – and in the debates he was incredibly effective at utterly destroying Harper over his intensity-based targets for “solving” climate change. The social composition of his party, both the base and MPs, is unfortunately cross-class alliance (I know you know that, Paul) which only gains support when a federalist party launches as an attack on les Quebecois. The real story in Quebec is how the NDP is managing to gain support despite its shitty position on the Clarity Act and self-determination. This can be chalked up to Quebec solidaire.

    Anyway, yes, the Bloc have to be thanked. But many others, too. I would thank the NDP (with qualifications) but certainly not the Greens. Fuck the Greens.

  8. 8 Tom 13 October, 2008 at 7:35 am

    I think perhaps the most interesting part of that graph is the symmetry of the NDP and BQ lines. The BQ gains and NDP losses are almost perfectly coincident.

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