Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Changes in Quebec

Teddy here with some interesting information glamed from the always fun-to-analyze Vote Compass results (Quebec in this case).

One question in particular caught my attention; on Independence; which suggests that things have changed quite radically from the last Referendum.

If you don't see it at first, this map may help:

In short, the entire Quebec City area, including it's suburbs and it's "Commutershed" look to be federalist in nature. The first signs of this change took place between the 1980 and 1995 votes. Quebec City had been one of the core areas of support in 1980 for Sovereignist forces, but by 1995, weakness in the area helped to defeat the referendum. Now, if this poll is to be belived (and, being a self-selected internet sample, it may be in error) the Capitale-Nationale has bcome a Federalist area.

Why is something I don't have the answer to. Previous explanations said that a local shock-jock and his radio show helped turn the area federalist, but that fellow has been in Parliament 5 of the last 7 years, and despite that, support for federalism has been growing all the while.

Some of it, perhaps, is due to the right-left split. Quebec, for decades divied on OUI-NON and PQ-PLQ lines, now is becoming more right and left. There are a number of ridings in the province that were NDP-CPC dogfights in the 2011 election. Something that, if you had suggeted in 2004, would have got you laughed at. Quebec City and area has been swinging to the right, and with the PQ and Bloc both on the left of the spectrum, and the CAQ being "neutral" on the OUI-NON sectrum, the right-wing may be more willing to accept Canada as a defence buffer against Socialists within the remainder of Quebec.

Whatever the reason, however, the results could come into play federally as well. Here is a federal version of the map based on these potential new results:

So what does this mean? For starters, it means that Federalism has spread over a larger area of the province. Native communities seem to be growing disillusioned with the Feds, and may turn to the province for support. Parts of Central and Eastern Montreal seem also to be growing in their support for Independence. With Quebec City leaning towards Canada, the split between the two poles of the issue are becoming more in-line with traditional rural-urban divides across Canada, with some exceptions of course. The Federal map in particular could be more easily compared to other similar maps, though, a few decades behind. Compare this map, for example, to one of Ontario from the 60s and 70s link and you can see similar patterns. Though reversed, the right/left and rural/urban split does show some hints of itself. Remember though, that in Newfoundland, it's traditionally been Catholic City dwellers who voted PC and Protestant Rural folk who voted Liberal, the opposite of how it works in most other provinces, but the rural-urban divide is still alive an well in that province, to the point that it's rare to find a place where both opposition parties are competitive.

One interesting note that may come out of all of this is that the Bloc Quebecois may not be able to regain their standing in those ridings shown in Red as well as they do in those ridings shown in Blue. This could help the NDP cement their presence in parts of the province, and other parties in other areas. Quebec city may settle into being a battleground between the federal parties, and parts of Montreal may be the same, while in the OUI-Blue areas, there may be more one-off battles between the Bloc and NDP, Bloc and Liberals, or Bloc and Tories. The end result of this may in fact be a complete shifting of Bloc support away from the type of Left-Wing voter that has supported them to this point and towards Separatists of all stripes.

In short, what we have is a situation where politics are shifting in Quebec, and especailly in the Quebec City area. Quebec City has become a host to a Social Conservative vs pro-Labour split, and through it all, has decided they'd like to stick with Canada. In short, you could sum all this up as "Quebec City is the new hotbed of Federalism in Quebec". Sounds odd to say, but, seems to be true.


  1. I apologize in advance for any spelling errors. I'm not writing this from home and this browser seems to not have an active spell-check.

  2. Why do you have Justin Trudeau's riding of Papineau supporting Independence? Similarily why do you have Laval--Les Îles, a Liberal riding from 1993 to 2011, as supporting Independence?

    1. Both of those ridings, including Papineau, have large francophone populations that almost equal the anglophone (in the case of Laval-Les-Iles) or allophone (in the case of Papineau) populations. I could see them being very contentious in a referendum question, but also very close.

  3. I had to eyeball it given a lack of hard data. I used these two maps: and for the comparison. Some ridings may have been lost in the shuffle.

    Either way this was intended to be a general comparison, and not a hard by-the-numbers analysis.

  4. Here's a question Teddy: why do you think the Eastern Township ridings have shifted towards sovereignty? Have the anglos depopulated the region, or the francophones moved into it? I find it very curious.

  5. A bit of both, and a bit of a shift of what it means to be a sovereignist. I think it's less racial based than it once was, which, ironically, is why it has lost support on the Saguenay. IMO.