Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Tale Of Two Quebecs: Montreal And The ROQ

From The Montreal Gazette:

There are two Quebecs in this election, Montreal and ROQ - the Rest of Quebec. And the ROQ, with 50 seats, is twice as important as Montreal.

There are also two Montreals, the island and the bedroom communities north and south of the city. And that's another story, an interesting sidebar, but not the main lead.

In larger terms, the Liberals are still the more competitive federalist party in the Montreal region, strongest in the anglophone and allophone bastions on the western half of the island, but overtaken by the Conservatives in most of the suburban seats in "the 450," the ring around the island. That's 25 seats, and the Liberals are counting, absolutely counting, on winning no fewer than 12 of them.

In the ROQ, the Liberals are simply out of the game almost everywhere else. In the crucial 418 area of Quebec City and eastern Quebec, the Conservatives now hold 10 seats and are competitive with the Bloc in the remainder. In the "rest of the rest of Quebec," it's a two-way race between the Bloc and the Conservatives, with the Bloc in decline and the Conservatives on the rise.

The math of it is simple and remorseless: The Liberals are on their way to finishing in third place in Quebec. Stated another way, the party of Laurier, St. Laurent, Trudeau, and Chrétien, now led by another Quebecer named Dion, is facing an historic rejection by the province on which a great political franchise was built.

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