Lise Ravary: Duhaime’s challenge is now to make his party mainstream

Whether or not one agrees with the party’s positions, Quebec democracy is best served with conservatism as a viable political option.

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The latest Angus Reid poll on Quebec politics places the uninhibited right of the Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ) neck and neck with the Liberals with 19% of the voting intentions.

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Formerly untouchable with 50% of the voting intentions of decided voters, the Coalition Avenir Québec continues its slide and is now at 33%. He could lose seats in Quebec. Québec solidaire is stagnating at 16%. The Parti Québécois is dying at nine percent.

The PCQ, under the leadership of Éric Duhaime, is the only party that is gaining momentum.

The Liberals will continue to have strong support from anglophones and allophones, but francophones no longer trust them. According to another recent poll, only about 10% intend to vote Liberal in October. If the Liberals are seen as flattering anglophones and allophones, most francophones will stay away. Without forgetting the Charest years.

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Meanwhile, the Parti Québécois is suffering. Even if sovereignty returned – beware if the Supreme Court invalidates Bill 21 or Bill 96 – the PQ would not remain its flag bearer.

The PCQ, founded in 2009, won just over one percent of the vote in the 2018 election. It remained under the radar until April 2021, when a former ADQ agent from Mario Dumont, columnist and radio host Éric Duhaime, replaced Adrien Pouliot at the helm.

The growth of PCQ has been phenomenal. He has rreceived 51% of all political donations (by number of donations) so far in 2022, according to data from Elections Quebec. Duhaime claims that the membership of the party exceeds that of other well-established parties.

Is Quebec, bastion of social democracy, doing well? What happened?

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The pandemic has happened. The government’s messy handling of the first wave of the pandemic and the imposition of strict public health measures have created a new class of political orphans ready to be chosen by a new party, with a new leader proposing a new narrative. policy based on the defense of individual freedoms and personal responsibility.

Duhaime told me that if elected, the PCQ would not reopen the debate on Bill 21, but he rejects the changes to Bill 101 because they go against the Quebec Charter of Rights. Will English speakers understand?

Traditionally, conservatism had two audiences in Quebec: the English-speaking wealthy and the French-speaking poor, kept in the dark by the Church and its ally Maurice Duplessis, who once said “education is like alcohol, certain people can’t stand it.”

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Some experts believe that the PCQ leans too far to the right for the average Quebecer. I’m not so sure anymore. The political climate is changing everywhere.

Don’t confuse Duhaime with Maxime Bernier, though. Popular with supporters of the Freedom Convoy, the party is not, however, a Quebec version of the People’s Party of Canada. Duhaime is vaccinated and does not subscribe to conspiracy theories.

Yet he tolerates some who do.

Party marquee, the PCQ attracts candidates who could be considered ineligible for reasons of extremism or lack of rootedness in reality.

Since the 1970s, all parties have supported the so-called Quebec model, an interventionist state with vast universal social programs and high taxes. Even the CAQ moved to the centre-left after being elected as a centre-right party.

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Watch him backpedal now that Duhaime could become Leader of the Opposition in October.

Whether or not one agrees with the party’s positions, some of which are too close to libertarianism for my taste, Quebec democracy is better served with conservatism as a viable political option.

Duhaime has cleaned the conservative deck of the old vestiges of pre-1960 Quebec. Openly gay, he is liberal on social issues, but that is not enough. What will happen once the pandemic is over?

To thrive, Duhaime must recruit a coherent and credible team of candidates and volunteers and show Quebecers that he is not a dangerous ideologue.

In short, he must find how to integrate the PCQ while remaining conservative and different.

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  1. Dr. Karim Elayoubi answers questions at Notre-Dame-de-Grâce on Thursday, February 17, 2022 after being presented as the candidate of the Conservative Party of Quebec in the next election by party leader Éric Duhaime, left.  Fellow Conservative candidate Dr Roy Eappen looks on.

    “Anglophones will start listening” to Quebec Conservatives, predicts Duhaime

  2. The Conservative Party of Quebec represents

    Analysis: Poll shows Quebec Conservatives ‘are no longer a fringe party,’ says Léger

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