Why it’s downhill from here for the Quebec Conservative Party

I probably shouldn’t be writing this. At all.

However, since I went half-polemic on the Quebec Liberal Party in my last blog, then I ought to give as much attention to their traditional (read: pre-1936) counterparts.

Some background is warranted, I fear.

The present-day Quebec Conservative Party is somewhat a descendant of the original Quebec Conservative Party found at the beginning of Confederation. The old party was in effect a merger of the pre-Confederation Liberal-Conservative Party, le Parti bleu (pro-clergy), and various holdovers from the days of the Château Clique. For the present-day version, I say “somewhat a descendant of the original” because there isn’t exactly a line between 1936 and 2022. My opinion also assumes that societies change, as do voters’ priorities.

When Maurice Duplessis took over the Quebec Conservative Party in 1933, he was able to form government two years later with the help of a breakaway QLP group called “Action Libérale Nationale”. One year after that, “Union Nationale” was born. Duplessis ruled Quebec (1936-1939, 1944-1959) until his death in 1959, after which the UN puttered on until defeat in 1960 but saw a comeback to government (1966-1970). After that point, the conservative nationalist vote slowly went over to the then-new Parti Québécois, starting the regrettable conflation of “nationalist” with “sovereignist”.

Since Duplessis’ death in 1959, there have been attempts to revive the QCP but none more successful than that of two former UN MNAs in 2009. That version, after languishing in the single-digit percentages for the last three general elections, found new life during the pandemic, with a trash radio loudmouth (Éric Duhaime) as its leader and a helluva lot of bile against the government over health guidelines (masks, vaccines, physical distancing, etc) all the while adopting a decidedly more libertarian bent.

To be fair, Duhaime did bring his party to its highest score since 1935, but he did so as the leader of a party which served as a repository for voter anger. John Lydon of PiL once sang “anger is an energy”. One troubling thing about anger in anything other than the short term is that it takes so much energy to maintain it. If Duhaime’s only inter-election strategy is to maintain the level of anger from the 2022 vote and merely nip at the heels of the other parties, then that’s not much of a strategy. One other problematic thing with anger is that it often clouds judgement. Proper judgement requires a clear head to think. And one needs to think if one wants to properly strategize and thus make electoral gains.

It’s with these thoughts that I say that the present version of the QCP has seen its day. I do not believe that it will even get 5% of the popular vote in the next election, let alone a seat in the National Assembly. Simply put, its active membership won’t be able to calm down long enough to do anything constructive.

Published by khmcmurray

Born in a seaside town in BC and raised in the Greater Vancouver area, I started writing not long after moving to Montreal in 1987, where I've lived for the most part since. A few of my earlier poems were published in student newspapers and in an anthology in the first half of the 1990s. In 1997, I published a chapbook titled "A Visit" which was once a chapter to my upcoming novel "Boomerangs and Square Pegs" but now is a stand-alone work. "Boomerangs" is now available via Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and via a general search. Print form is available via this website. My second novel, "Then Let's Keep Dancing", is also available on Smashwords. My third novel is due out in July 2023. Reading is an escape for me, while writing is a kind of release. Writing enables me to get things out in the open in a way that I couldn't through other media or situations. My writings deal with plausibility -- if I'd wanted to write my life story, I'd have written an autobiography, and trust me, my life just isn't *that* interesting. No, I'm more interested in the in-betweeners, the damaged goods, the beautiful losers, the broken poets, the taken-for-granteds: I consider myself among these types. When I don't write, I teach English as a second language, edit texts, and translate from French to English (and sometimes the other way around). I also get involved in social and environmental causes from time to time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: