Josh Freed: It’s hard to get excited about the main candidates in the Quebec elections

With just over a week to go, many people are waiting to see more polls before deciding who to vote for.


There are nine days left for Quebec to vote, but it looks less like an election than a coronation.

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With five major parties splitting the vote, Prime Minister François Legault could win less than 40 percent of the popular vote but 90 percent of the seats. The only advantage is that Legault worshipers can join Anglo-Saxon monarchists in singing “God Save The King.”


They would simply refer to different.

To be fair, many Francophones favor Legault simply because they like it. He is “Mon Oncle François” and also the latest Quebec native communicator in a long list, which includes Trudeau I, René Lévesque, Lucien Bouchard and Jean Charest.

But sadly, the prime minister’s communication skills are largely aimed at his francophone base, with an apparent disregard for the rest of us, including francophones who disagree with him.

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If you don’t like Bill 21, Bill 96, or Quebec City’s controversial proposed tunnel, you’re not a true good Quebecer.

Unfortunately for non-Francophones, it’s hard to love the competition. Until recently, the Liberals changed Bill 96 so often that even its most enthusiastic supporters lack enthusiasm.

Québec’s charming solidarity leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois wants to spend $568 million on a Festival of Referendums, culminating in a “constitution for an independent Quebec.” Hears!

The leader of the Quebec Conservative Party, Éric Duhaime, is a light, educated and brilliant Canadian version of an American Republican, and a proud anti-vaccine.

You could feel a lot about the main candidates in the first French TV debate, which sounded like this:

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Moderator: “Bonjour the candidates! Quebec has nearly 240,000 job vacancies that immigration could help fill. But how many annual immigrants are a danger to the French: 80,000, 50,000, 5,000 or 5? Prime Minister Legault?

Francois Legault (CQA): “I love immigrants. They’re a rich addition to the Quebec tapestry, but like calories, too many can be too rich for our blood. They can also increase crime, solar flares, and contribute to the decline of the French, the French, the French, the French, and the French.

“In fact, even with my own government’s strict limit of 50,000 immigrants a year, I notice that my own French is declining. Recently, I am losing my futur antérieur and my plus-que-parfait tenses. Of course, this is not just because of immigrants, but they certainly don’t help.”

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Paul St-Pierre Plamondon (PQ): “I think immigrants are good people and I wish them well, ideally somewhere else. But Mr. Legault’s ridiculously high 50,000 annual immigrants are a threat to the French language, French cuisine, French doors and French kisses.”

Eric Duhaime (Conservatives): “I love French, but I love English. In fact, I’m going to say eight words about Bill 96 in English right now, in this French debate… Ready, Mr. Legault?: You betrayed English Quebecers, actually, on that bill.

“That’s it, I said it! LOL!”

Plamondon: “OMG! …Sorry, I mean Oh-mon-dieu! I object to listening to English in a French debate. At this rate, one day a Quebec debate could be entirely in English!

legal: “I am also upset about this English incident. In fact, ever since Mr. Duhaime uttered those words, I have… I was… I’m losing my imparfait and passé composé as well, and, um…

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“Oof! Now I only have my present time left!”

Dominique Anglade (Liberals): “I completely agree with the right to speak English in a French debate, because we Liberals desperately need Anglophone voters. But I would never do that because we desperately need Francophone voters.

“That’s why I officially changed my name to Dominique Anglade-Francade.”

legal: “So, Mrs. Anglais, would you sacrifice our nation for immigration? That would have been very un-Quebeco… I mean… that would have been… or would have been… Mon Dieu! My French is declining again!”

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois (Quebec in solidarity): “Excuse me, Mr. Legault, I can’t understand anything you say.”

legal: “I said… I meant… I… Wow! I am speaking English!”

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Given the lack of enthusiasm for the main candidates, some voters are studying others among the authorized 27 parties, from the Greens and the NDP to small English rights parties led by Standish, Holness and Nebish.

There is also the Bloc Pot party, which continues to fight the same battle even after marijuana was legalized in 2018. Personally, I lean towards the Parti culinaire du Québec. If you can help me cook better, I’m in.

But with just over a week to go, many people are waiting to see more polls before voting. In the old days, Francophones often strategically switched parties en masse just before the vote, to support the leader with the strongest mandate. This is how Robert Bourassa once unexpectedly won 108 seats.

Since there was no internet back then, I always thought that an Aunt Matilde in Saguenay phoned her cousin Maurice in Quebec City and her second nephew Lucie in Montreal and said, “Tell everyone the decision is made: We all vote for Monsieur Bourassa!”

Now it is the non-Francophones who are waiting to see who has a good chance of forming the strongest opposition, before Aunt Matilda in Beaconsfield sends the message. She worries me that the day before the elections we will all receive the automated call from her, telling us:

Well, the decision is made. We all vote Bloc Pot.

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