Friday, August 11, 2017

Can Things Get Worse for the Parti Québécois?

It seems that ever since Jean-François Lisée took over the Parti Québécois the fortunes of the party have gone from bad to worse.
Trailing both the Liberals and the CAQ, with just 22% support in the polls, each passing month sees more of its base dying off. With collapsing support in its youth wing, its hard to see the party renewing itself and with about 70% of Quebecers rejecting sovereignty, the raison d'etre of the party, it is hard to see where the PQ can go.
It occurs to me that if a poll was conducted over Quebec sovereignty in the ROC, a higher percentage of Canadians would support Quebec leaving Canada than the percentage of Quebecers wishing to do so.
Its gotten that absurd.

With sovereignty off the table, the PQ tried to harness Quebec's natural xenophobia, in proposing the Charter of Values, but overestimated the pushback. In that effort, the PQ tried to face-off the Montreal region with the rest of Quebec and surprisingly (or not so) the effort turned into a calamity, chasing the PQ from power and ushering in the current Liberal era of Philippe Couillard.

The latest humiliation comes courtesy of Statistics Canada which reported that the number of Quebecers having English as their first language in Quebec has had a meteoric rise since the last census.
This was of course fresh fodder for the hapless Lisée, a man and a party searching for some relevancy and so the "bad news," of the rise of the anglophone community is 'good news' for a PQ in desperate need of an issue.
The spectre of the evil anglophone community growing at a breakneck pace is a gift-wrapped issue for those who believe that Quebec is being attacked relentlessly by an English horde of barbarians at the gate.

And so like Chicken Little, Lisée has gone to town, declaring that the linguistic sky is falling by characterizing the notion that a growing English community is an existential threat to the preservation of French in Quebec.
He has proposed all sorts of changes calling for a new Bill 201 that would turn the thumbscrews on all aspects of English. He has demanded that no immigrant be allowed into Quebec if they cannot speak French and that a student cannot graduate an English CEGEP without mastering French. He wants to force federal agencies and companies to comply with Bill 101 (they are now exempt by federal statute) and he wants small business' to be subject to language laws.

It was a couple of good days for Lisée, spewing his tough new stance on English on every news channel and radio station that would have him, and there were plenty of takers.

But this all came crashing down today when after complaints by Anglo activists that the numbers Stascan published were nonsense.
In the race to find fault with the English, nobody in the francophone media looked at the Statscan numbers with an ounce of scepticism, a curious case of journalistic laziness. The numbers were so clearly in error that Anglo activists questioned the accuracy almost immediately.
"Are there almost five times as many English-speakers in Dolbeau-Mistassini, in the Lac-St-Jean region? Has Quebec City gained 6,000 residents whose mother tongue is English since 2011?
So say the results released last week from the 2016 census.
But some researchers who study Quebec’s anglophone minority aren’t buying it.
“It defies logic,” said Jack Jedwab, the executive vice-president of the Association for Canadian Studies. On Wednesday, Jedwab wrote to Statistics Canada questioning the accuracy of the findings on language in Quebec."  Link
Today StatsCan admitted that the entire 60,000 increase in the Anglophone community was an error, plain and simple. They botched the calculations.
The Anglo upsurge was but a figment of imagination, an error that not only humiliates StasCan but bleeds all over the PQ and Lisée who built a whole new election platform on a false premise.

What fun!

I don't know how Lisée can spin this. Does he retract the anti-English platform based on the fact it was built on a lie, or does he brazen it out and tell us that just the same, the policy is one that the party will continue to support.


  1. The reaction of these Nationalist Quebecois politicians (Lisee and Legault) to the imaginary bump in Anglos is vey telling. Scratch a little under the surface and the hatred runs deep.

    1. I think you're right, Philip. As a card-carrying member of the ROC, my support for Quebec sovereignty in another referendum is rock-solid