Boots on the ground

from J Giovannetti

The oracle

I'm sharing one of my most closely guarded secrets: During Quebec's unpredictable elections I only trust a single opinion. He's so far been flawless in his forecasts.

He's a 69-year-old welder in Trois-Rivières with a ninth grade education who, as far as I know, has never read anything beyond the sports pages of Le Journal de Montréal or Le Nouvelliste. He's never seen a poll or gone over a party platform and yet during every electoral contest in my lifetime he's demonstrated a remarkably reflection of the Quebecois zeitgeist.

His name is Larry.
He's my dad.

Two weeks ago I took my informal one-man poll of Quebec's campaign in 2014.
These are the results:

Pauline Marois
& the Parti Québécois

She'll lose.
"She says she doesn't want a referendum. Well why did she bring it up? Does she think we're dumb?"
Despite having two English children and marrying an Anglophone years ago, my dad is worried that the province's culture is slowly slipping away. Had the PQ hammered cultural issues during the campaign, they may have secured his vote. The closest approximation of his political views would be "soft nationalist," which is where most of the province's Francophones fall.

As this election started I was asked by a few at the Globe what my thoughts were. I said that it was Pauline Marois' election to lose, but I figured the choice was between a PQ minority or majority. Nearly a month later the PQ has run a staggeringly poor campaign, which is surprising, because Ms. Marois is a canny and gifted politician. (More on that in a future post.)

Philippe Couillard
& the Quebec Liberals

He'll win, but it won't be much of a mandate.
"Couillard still has all the old Liberals behind him, it's the same party. The difference this time is that we'll be watching them, they won't be able to get up to their magouille (closest translation: shenanigans) again."
In one of the main Liberal ads this campaign former Transport Minister Julie Boulet is standing behind Mr. Couillard's right shoulder. Ms. Boulet oversaw Transport Quebec during some of the worst excesses revealed at the Charbonneau Commission. The party has made no apologies for allowing the most-pervasive regime of institutionalized corruption in modern North American history to flourish under its watch.
If Mr. Couillard wins a majority, more revelations will come out from the commission as he governs. Recent rumblings on tuition also promise to shatter the social peace the PQ has brought to the province over the past year.

Francois Legault
& the Coalition Avenir Québec

Not a chance.
"The party has some nice ideas, but who is Legault going to put as justice minister? A 26-year-old? He has no good candidates behind him."
Recent polls have the CAQ trending upwards. For those who can't stomach either the PQ or PLQ the CAQ is seen as a proper place to lodge a protest vote.
...also, I'm 26. Thanks.

For those of you who are fans of Québec solidaire, I'm afraid to say the party has never come up in conversation. The left-wing outfit is a Montreal-only affair.

Throughout the years we've had these discussions around the kitchen table, or lately over the phone, I've never told him that I've been taking copious notes.
So let's keep this between you and I.

The thoughts, musings and whimsy that no one wants to publish.