Analysis | Québec solidaire: the painful standstill | Elections Quebec 2022

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Analysis | Québec solidaire : the painful standstill | &Elections Québec 2022

Between 2018 and 2022, Québec solidaire lost nearly 15,000 votes.

Disappointed with the verdict of the voters, the candidates of Québec solidaire – elected as defeated – have been very talkative in recent days. Behind the scenes, it is argued that it will take time to digest the results and draw the necessary conclusions. If the political party has not experienced a fate comparable to that of the Liberal Party, its stagnation is no less painful.

It is that Québec solidaire (QS) had always managed to gather more support from election to election; last week's vote, however, interrupted this momentum, to the point where QS is not guaranteed to be recognized as a parliamentary group when work resumes in the National Assembly. You must have received 20% of the vote or elected 12 deputies to obtain this status. However, the party only has 11.

Between 2018 and 2022, Québec solidaire lost nearly 15,000 votes. His level of support fell from 16.1% to 15.4% of the votes cast, a decline of two-thirds of a percentage point.

The political party lost the riding of Rouyn-Noranda–Témiscamingue, one of the only two it held in the region, but it won two in mainland France, namely Verdun and Maurice-Richard.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois had however set the bar high. Appealing to the vote of young people, he said he was ready to take the next step and even mentioned the role of leader of the official opposition for himself. We are far from the goal.

We will obviously never know exactly where the lost votes went, but we can bet that Québec solidaire would have much preferred to make gains in the regions rather than in Montreal. It's because his co-spokesperson has done everything to rid QS of its Montreal party label, increasing visits, among other places, to Estrie, Bas-Saint-Laurent and even Nord-du-Québec.

On paper, the political party ran a good campaign. It targeted topical issues, such as the environment and the housing crisis, and its leader distinguished himself thanks to his communication skills. Something doesn't seem to fit though.

Of course, Québec solidaire seems to have underestimated the impact that its fiscal promises would have on public opinion. To see a left-wing party promising to raise taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers is certainly not surprising, but many voters must have been surprised to discover that they themselves were among the wealthy. This is without counting the sometimes confusing explanations, on the question of agricultural land in particular.

There is always a difference between a theoretical tax increase and a clearly articulated and quantified promise . After the politburo mentioned by Jean-François Lisée in 2017, the danger of orange taxes cited by François Legault caused a sensation.

However, the stagnation of political training is not only due to this. Nor is he keen on the theft of a flyer that led to the resignation of one of his candidates.

Claiming their vote, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois called on young people to mobilize to fight against climate change. While the party managed to appropriate the theme of the environment during the 2018 elections, the results this time were more mixed.

We will not know for a few months the voter turnout rate by age group, but according to the preliminary data, it seems unlikely that Québec solidaire has succeeded in mobilizing the young generation for the trouble.

< p class="e-p">Gabriel has become a bit like the others… he attacks a lot instead of presenting his ideas, an activist confided to me last week, disappointed with the performance of his party. Talking about the last chance election for the climate, he told me, was above all demoralizing for him and his colleagues.

Beyond the promises, one can actually wonder about the campaign style and tone of Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois in recent weeks. After making himself known as a student leader in 2012, the co-spokesperson consciously sought to soften his image, not hesitating to play the family man card.

However, he does not exude the same natural benevolence as Manon Massé or Françoise David. A master of rhetoric, he can even seem abrasive at times.

In 2018, her predecessor purposely chose to stay away from cockfighting during the leaders' debates. In 2022, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois chose instead to jump into the fray with both feet.

However, while the latter multiplied the attacks against François Legault and Dominique Anglade, Paul St- Pierre Plamondon distinguished himself by his calm and serenity.

At a time when we were debating the merits of a rapprochement between Québec solidaire and the Parti Québécois, many QS activists had the impression that their rise was inexorable, that it was enough to be patient for a a good part of the PQ vote naturally goes to their political party.

Getting rid of your competitor could however be more difficult than expected. Even by electing only three deputies, the PQ managed to monopolize nearly 15% of the vote.

In wanting to broaden its base, has Québec solidaire lost support with its own militants? Were the themes chosen for campaigning as promising as hoped, especially among young voters? Was the tone the right one?

The candidates and activists of Québec solidaire have been rather silent so far, but they will necessarily have to answer these questions if they want to do better next time.

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