Sunday, March 9, 2014

Teddy's Sunday Prediction - Quebec

It's been suggested in the comments - and yes I do listen, even to the ones I dispute - that I am unclear. I will thus try something a bit different, and fully expand on the points I am making. While I am somewhat loathe to do so - as I feel one of the strengths that I have is that I make you think for yourself; rather than doing the thinking for you - I will try this approach for a while to see how it fits and how it feels.

Quebec.

We have seen some interesting polling numbers. I won't go into greater detail; in part, because that's not what I do best, nor, is why I'm here. I hope and expect that readers have seen the polls themselves, and that we are not the only political blog they read. There are a multitude of other blogs out there that have examined the most recent poll and how it seems a bit "off" so I will refrain from repeating what I presume you've already read multiple times. 

Regardless, this all suggests the race is quite close. As does the CAQ's low numbers. In general - though not always true, but recently more often than not - whenever the third party (ADQ/CAQ) does poorly, the race for first is close. The rationale behind that is something I examined in an earlier post; it has to do with the behaviour of not voters as a whole, but of Francophone voters.

In fact, I've outlined the non-Francophone ridings to help show how things play out when only Francophone voters are considered. Note that you can not just draw a simple line and put all Francos on one side and Anglos on another. Every riding in Quebec is balanced between these two, and between Allophones - who I've grouped with Anglophones, with whom they share an effective operational relationship in this context. I've also decided to be conservative with chopping out ridings, ending up with only 10, where as I could have argued for the inclusion of others like Vaiu, Nelligan, and even Hull and Outremont; at it's maximum I could have included 19 ridings, 20 if I wanted to count the presence of first nations voters.

Either way, I've updated the map below to be, what I think, is easier to view and understand. Please feel free to give me feedback on this.



I also want to approach the subject of media coverage, language, Quebec, and population.

First, Language.
Language affects thought. A youtube search will produce many videos explaining this. I have a few favourites myself. This one in particular, shows how language can affect how you spend. French and English, to put it simply, are different languages. I myself am unilingual, I speak English alone. I presume that 50%+1 of our readers are the same.

I don't say this to judge one language as better than the other, but rather, to point out that one of the biggest problems with understanding Quebec politics; how and why people in Quebec vote and act as they do, is that they, literally, think differently than we do.

I encourage you to take a look at the websites for all the political parties I've included in the map. I picked these ones because They are the ones included in this elections Vote Compass. How many of them had any English content? How many had English content that truly filled out the website, and was not just a shadow of the "real" IE French version?

This leads in to Media coverage.
While we are fortunate to have the English CBC in Montreal, the fact remains that coverage is, somewhat, limited. There are 8 million people in Quebec, give or take, compared to 5 in BC and 4 in Alberta; yet it certainly does not "feel" like Quebec is that large when I try to find analysis and thoughts about the election on blogs or other sources. So much of it is in French, which, of course, is natural given that most people in Quebec speak French.

This is where I want to present an uncomfortable question.

Does that mean we value a Franco Quebecois less?
Because we can't understand them? We can't hear them? We, literally, do not speak their language? There is a clear barrier between us if they and we are both unilingual and both speak different languages. Sure if you have a modern browser like Google Chrome, you can get it to translate a webpage for you, but the translation can be messy, and hard to follow. All of the subtle work put into whatever you are reading is gone.

And thus I will bring up the US' old Three Fifths Law, which, in short, stated that a slave is worth 3/5ths of a white man.

Just for fun, took out the share of Quebecers who define English over French as their natural language. Then I took the remainder and multiplied that by 3/5ths. The results for both. First without adding back the 3/5ths.

13,537,994 ON
4,581,978 BC
4,025,074 AB
1,265,015 MB
1,108,303 SK
1,092,039 QC
940,789 NS
756,050 NB
526,702 NL
145,237 PE

And with adding it.

13,537,994 ON
5,330,016 QC
4,581,978 BC
4,025,074 AB
1,265,015 MB
1,108,303 SK
940,789 NS
756,050 NB
526,702 NL
145,237 PE

It certainly "feels" like a province with 5.3 million people is going to the polls, at least from the coverage I've been able to read.

Now - and this is why I'm loathe to explain all of this - does not not offend you? bother you? I hope it at least makes you think. The language divide can not be easily blamed away. I can not blame you for not knowing French any more than I can blame a unilingual Francophone for not knowing English. There is no "fault" here, yet, the end result is that we have become so incredibly disconnected that the only way to even come close to measuring the impact is to use an outdated, racist concept as a measurement tool.

I hope that the next time you come across a wonderful resource on Quebec politics that is in French and only French that you sit back and think. We can not communicate. These people, to us, are effective mutes. We know they exist, and others tell us about them, but we ourselves can not hear their words, their thoughts. I am not here to tell you what conclusion to draw; only to ask you to lean back from the keyboard, and really ponder the moment next time language prevents you from learning.

2 comments:

  1. Interesting post Teddy, I agree with your general point. Much as others have said Quebecois have separated from the ROC, it certainly seems mutual doesn't it? Maybe we've just grown complacent, or we simply don't care. Something to ponder.

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    Replies
    1. I don't see how it being mutual, our being complacent, or apathetic need to be 3 different things.

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