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.