Block losing speed in Quebec
The Bloc Québécois’ goal of winning 40 seats in Quebec, a majority in the province, appears to be slipping away, with polls indicating the party may even struggle to retain the 32 seats it won in the 2019 election.
On Monday, Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet said the race in Quebec pits his party against Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.
Trudeau is seeking a majority across Canada, which pollsters suggest is not achievable at this point in the campaign.
The 40 seats out of 78 targeted by Blanchet would give the Bloc a majority in Quebec, he said, the only province where the Bloc is presenting candidates.
Blanchet disagreed with Trudeau’s claim that the Liberal minority government, which has been in power since 2019, is crippled.
Important laws, including a revised physician-assisted dying (MAID) law and the Liberal budget, have been passed with occasional but crucial support from the Bloc, and at other times from the NDP.
Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet Research, believes this campaign will really begin in September, when Canadians are back from vacation and ready to focus on the election.
The numbers now suggest the Liberals could win 41 seats in Quebec by taking six from the Bloc, which could also lose three more to the Conservatives, reducing the Bloc’s quota in Ottawa to 23 MPs, Maggi said.
But the NDP is also gaining strength, so that together the Bloc and the NDP hold enough seats to give Canada another minority government.
The NDP’s growing support would also come at the expense of the Liberals, Maggi said, perhaps sending Liberal seats to the Tories and the Bloc.
There is now a 10% chance that Trudeau will win a majority, Maggi told iPolitics. But the campaign is not over, as “events, debates and all the rest” could be a game-changer by September 20, election day.
Regarding the “bromance” between Trudeau and Quebec Premier François Legault, Maggi called it “brilliant” on Trudeau’s part.
“By not doing anything (to displease Legault) in Quebec, he is doing something in Quebec, and it definitely paid off,” said Maggi.
Quebec wants to be a nation within a nation, and Trudeau agrees with that, he added.
This hurts the Bloc, whose provincial base is weakened by the decline of the Parti Québécois (PQ). The latter was reduced to seven seats in the National Assembly of Quebec, with no seat in the Montreal region.
Blanchet would like to present himself as the “best dog” in Quebec politics, but Trudeau’s friendly relations with Legault and his federal largesse confirmed Legault in the role, Maggi said.
Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec party is center-right and promotes Quebec nationalism, but is open to interventionist policies to stimulate the province’s economy.
The premier of Quebec is still one of the most popular prime ministers in Canada, but his party is a coalition, noted Maggi, joining the Conservative Action Démocratique du Québec in “small c” with staff and members of staff. supporters of the Bloc, the PQ and former Liberals. .
Legault, a former PQ minister who once aspired to lead the party, has given up on the idea of Quebec independence.
His willingness to work in the federal system has gone so far as to lead the Council of the Federation and urge Ottawa, on behalf of all provinces and territories, to pay 35 percent of their health care costs.
Legault continues to make this demand of all federal parties in this election and is also asking for federal funding for a $ 10 billion road tunnel under the St. Lawrence River, connecting Quebec City to its southern suburbs.
The tunnel project has Conservative backing, but Liberal Riding MP Jean-Yves Duclos – who holds the federal purse strings as President of the Treasury Board – said Ottawa would not subsidize new road projects.
Legault, like the Liberal prime ministers before him, will not support any federal party in this election, a position that harms the Bloc, favors the Liberals, but does not exclude the votes of his supporters for the Conservative candidates.
Éric Montigny, professor of political science at Laval University, said it was too early to count the Conservatives in Quebec; it provides for races between the Bloc and Conservative candidates for the nationalist vote.
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has not been able to impress Quebec voters so far, but Montigny recalled that in 2019, the Conservatives were serious contenders until the leader of the time, Andrew Scheer, loses his credibility in a debate in French.
The reverse could happen with O’Toole.
“Quebec is a battlefield,” said Montigny, and bThe future of Trudeau and Blanchet could be jeopardized after this vote.
Trudeau called this election to seek a majority, against the advice of some of his closest advisers. If the outcome is another minority government, the possible successors, such as Chrystia Freeland and Marc Carney, “are not far,” said the Laval professor.
Blanchet could also be in trouble if the Bloc does not reach its goal of 40 seats.
“He will be judged by this,” Montigny said.
This story has been edited after publication. It has also been corrected to read: Legault, a former PQ minister who once aspired to lead the party, has given up on the idea of Quebec independence.