The political drama in the province of Quebec these days is probably some of the most complicated in the world, involving prickly voters with nationalist sentiments who are tired of nationalist vs. federalist arguments and will seemingly vote for any party that offers something new, whether left or right of centre, but also depending upon whether or not they have a popular leader at the same time (and old parties still banging the nationalist drum can pick up major support with a popular leader that was just recently handed the worst electoral defeat of his career). All this is in tune with the fact that individual candidates in Quebec, outside of a few key areas, mean absolutely zero, demonstrated by not just one but two waves of political change.
Phew. Anyways, last week saw the official entrance after months of unofficial existence by the Coalition pour l'avenir du Québec, formerly known as the Francois Legault Mystery Party, led by little-known former rightist pequiste cabinet minister Francois Legault. The CAQ (known as caquistes) is the provincial version of the NDP if the NDP came to terms with its sovereigntist association and shifted over to the right. However, the caquiste's appeal is not in its ideology but its mere existence as something other than the Parti libéral or the Parti Québécois.
It's the similar sentiment to what propelled the old Action democratique du Québec and former leader Mario Dumont to near-government heights in 2007 - as well as its amazingly fast downfall a year later.
Speaking of the adequistes, rumour is that they're looking for a merger with their ideological kinsmen in the caquistes. Go figure.
The other big news in la belle province (sort of) is the increasing stature of Option nationale, the small one-man sovereigntist party lead by another former pequiste member named Jean-Martin Aussant, who I seriously doubt will hold on to his seat in Nicolet-Yamaska. I say increasing stature because Lisette Lapointe, the wife of former premier and pequiste elder Jacques Parizeau, took out a membership.
Lapointe, who is a MNA herself, left the PQ a few months back if you'll recall, and Assaunt left just after her. Though Lapointe isn't sitting as an Option member, the fact that she's opted to take out the membership in the small one-man party lends some legitimacy to Assaunt's crusade, and further harms Pauline Marois' standing.
Thrown into this pile is the increasing but still massively under-represented Quebec portion of the NDP membership, who number just over 5,000 within a party membership of over 95,000 - or just 5%. There's a problem there.
Finally, the most recent provincial polling has the caquistes leading the Liberals 35-22, with the pequistes at 21%. That would lead to a majority government of 104 seats for the CAQ, 19 seats for the Liberals, and 2 for Québec solidaire (don't get me started on them). The pequistes, adequistes, and Option nationale are all left out.
And the drama goes on....