CANADA: FRENCH SEPARATIST VOTE COLLAPSES
In the Quebec federal elections yesterday (02/05/11), the nationalist Bloc Quebecois party failed to gain a majority in Quebec for the first time in the seven Canadian federal elections it has now contested.
Bloc Quebecois has dominated federal politics in Quebec since 1993, but in the election yesterday it did not even come out as the main opposition. The result has been a major shock and political commentators are suggesting that Quebecersm, are now `opting back’ into Canada. Others are saying though that people should not be too hasty to presume that with this election Quebec has ended its fight
The electoral defeat of the leader of Bloc Quebecois, Gilles Duceppe – who has ruled the Party since 1997 – meant that he was also forced to hand in his resignation yesterday. The decimation of the Party at the polls has led the Canadian media to ask if this development now means that Quebecers want to shelve the national question, but this is unlikely.
Many voters in Quebec it seems left the Bloc for the liberal New Democratic Party in the hope of preventing the Conservatives (and `English Canada’) from getting into power. Even though the NDP won the largest number of seats in their
history, thanks to voters in Quebec, they failed to prevent the Conservatives from gaining power in the Federal government. Therefore even though it initially looks like that the Quebecers have chosen federalism over independence, it is
only likely to be a temporary shift. Whether the Bloc can recover from their electoral defeat however is another matter.
In the past a successive wave of French President’s have lent their tacit support to Quebec independence, while refusing to give any ground over Brittany. However the current president of France, President Sarkozy, has taken less of a prominent role in the issue since his own election, commenting in 2008:
“I don’t see why in the world a demonstration of familial and fraternal love for Quebec has to arise from a distrust of Canada,”
With elections looming this week in Scotland and Wales (Thursday 5th May), the nationalist parties will be hoping that the electorate in these countries will not try to vote tactically there, although in Wales this is beginning to seem increasingly likely.
This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:
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