I have had a few queries about my thoughts are on the Quebec election. You may not have asked but here they are any way.
First, it’s a convincing win for Premier elect Legault, with 38% of the popular vote in a competitive four way race. This is not far off what the federal Liberals achieved to win a three way race. So it’s a strong majority and a strong mandate.
Second, I think there is a clear message to politicians that everyday citizens are concerned about everyday things. The economy is important to people because it directly affects their well-being. Put another way you can’t save the planet if you can’t get to work or pay the rent.
Third Premier Couillard’s move to the left failed to capture any voters. The Liberals received the lowest share of the popular vote in recent memory. He started his mandate off quite solid on the economy. However, he was ‘Gorestruck’ at COP#21 in Paris and became entranced by being a star of the international environmental movement. His unseemly personal vendetta against tiny Petrolia and his ultra vires decision to unilaterally ban oil & gas development reflected this.
As his mandate matured he seemed to be more concerned what the elitist classes thought of him than the working classes. As former Premier Charest said he completely ceded the ground on the economy to the Coalition Avenir Quebec. It will be interesting to see if the Liberals stay left like Premier Wynne in Ontario did or tack back to the center with their next leader.
Fourth, elitist issues will be a challenge for the new Premier. The main stream media in Quebec reflects elitist preoccupations and they will push the new Premier to focus on their issues. They are a strong force in part because they have not seen the same competition from social media channels we have seen in English Canada or the United States.
Last, the real question people are asking me is what does it all mean for natural gas development in Quebec. Premier Legault was unequivocal during the campaign that development would not go ahead unless there was social acceptability. Coincidently, I have been saying for five years that we don’t want to develop in any community that doesn’t want us. Local acceptability is the focus.
Adding it all up: A pro economic development Government, with a strong mandate, who wants everyday Quebecers to see how natural gas development benefits them, seems a step in the right direction. After all it’s been all about a step by step approach.