For the 2022 Quebec Election, we’re going to be taking a closer look at some ridings that many of our readers live in and that could play an interesting role in the big picture. I’m going to start it off with the riding I’ve lived in for a little over a year now, Saint-Henri-Saint-Anne.

Yes, the current MNA here is Dominique Anglade, Quebec Liberal (PLQ) Leader and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. So why is the riding represented by the head of a major establishment party one to watch?

Let’s find out:

Riding Breakdown

  • Location and Boundaries: It’s pretty much the Sud Ouest Borough of Montreal, encompassing all of St-Henri, Little Burgundy, Pointe-Saint-Charles and Ville Emard and most of Griffintown. Its northern boundary is Saint-Antoine/Autoroute 720 from Montreal West until Guy Street, then it becomes Notre-Dame Ouest. The southern boundary follows the Aqueduc Canal and then Autoroute 15. West-East, it goes from Angrignon Park to Boulevard Robert-Bourassa/Bonaventure Autoroute.
  • Population: 73 674 (2006) with 58 171 electors (2016)
  • Language: 55.4% Francophone, 24.4% Anglophone, 13.2% Allophone and 6.9% Multiple primary languages
  • Age: The two largest age groups are 30-39 (20.4%) and 20-29 (19%)
  • Ethnicity: 72.1% do not identify as a member of a visible minority while 27.9% do
  • Income: 62.3% of the population falls into the $10 000 – $70 000 annual household income range, with the $10K-20K being the largest group (13.2%) and each next rung up accounting for slightly fewer people. Here’s a graph comparing Saint-Henri-Saint-Anne to the provincial average:

This is a riding in a state of flux, with many parts of it in varying states of gentrification: from the slow crawl class mix of St-Henri and Pointe-St-Charles to the full-on new condos seemingly every week of Griffintown. The population is younger, urban and bilingual (I know this more from living here than the stats). They run the economic gamut from working class to lower middle-class, with some upper middle class and wealthier individuals thrown into the mix.

Politically, this indicates that they are more likely care more about issues like affordable housing than language politics. They are also likely to lean progressive, at least socially, and in also economically in many parts of the riding.

While this isn’t the most ethnically diverse part of the city, it is in no way cut off from the rest of and could be considered at the heart of Montreal, a city that is quite ethnically diverse. Bill 21 and François Legault’s obsession with homogenizing immigrants probably don’t play that well around these parts.

A Liberal Stronghold with Cracks in the Foundation

This really sounds like a place where Québec solidaire (QS) would do well. They voted against Bill 21, have made housing a key issue for them this campaign and are the most progressive of the major parties running.

Then when you factor in the municipal landscape, things look even more promising for QS. The Saint-Henri-Saint-Anne provincial riding almost mirrors the boundaries of the Sud-Ouest Borough which has been a Projet Montréal stronghold since 2013.

Projet and QS have a similar progressive ethos and do pull from a similar base of supporters, so it seems like a logical extension. However, issues are different at the municipal level; people of all political stripes might like, say, bike paths.

Also, this riding has gone Liberal since it was formed in 1992. In recent elections, though, it has been far from the Liberal stronghold that Westmount-Saint-Louis or even NDG are.

In 2018, Anglade (who wasn’t leader at the time) won with 11 837 votes, but QS’s Benoit Racette got 7413. That’s a victory, for sure, but it’s a competitive one.

The same election the CAQ candidate got 5809 votes, the PQ 3568 and the Greens 1009. Now factor in that the CAQ really don’t care about Montreal ridings like they did last time as they don’t need us to win a majority and that the Parti Québécois (PQ) have gone all-in on trying to out-Legault Legault, which probably won’t play well in southwest Montreal and that Green voters might switch to QS if it’s competitive.

But, of course, it may come down to who’s running, so let’s look at that:

Candidates (2022)

  • Dominique Anglade (Liberal) Incumbent and Party Leader
  • Guillaume Cliche-Rivard (Québec solidaire)
  • Julie Daubois (Parti Québécois)
  • Jean-Pierre Duford (Green)
  • Nicolas Huard-Isabelle (Coalition Avenir Québec)
  • Janusz Kaczorowski (Bloc Montreal)
  • Mischa White (Conservative)

There are two star candidates running this year in Saint-Henri-Saint-Anne: the PLQ have their leader and QS have Guillaume Cliche-Rivard. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s had his name in the press quite a bit.

Cliche-Rivard is an immigration lawyer who helped bring Edward Snowden’s “guardian angels” to Canada and got Mamadi Camara (the man falsely accused of attacking a Montreal police officer) his permanent residency. He’s also a prominent critic of Legault’s immigration policy and the Liberals’ lack of effective opposition to it.

While I’ve seen some media try and portray this as a three-way race between the Libs, QS and the CAQ, I think that may be, perhaps subconsciously, an attempt to foster fear of a CAQ victory to help the PLQ. Nicolas Huard-Isabelle seems like a glorified poteau (paper) candidate and given Legault’s anti-Montreal rhetoric, I doubt they are actually trying to win Saint-Henri-Saint-Anne.

QS, on the other hand, already knocked out PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée in Rosemont last election and are clearly trying to do the same with the Liberal Leader this time around. QS Co-Spokesperson and Premier Candidate Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois called the riding “winnable” and their choice of candidate echoes that belief.

It may be a two-way race, but it’s still a race. Major parties generally pull out all the stops to protect their leader’s riding in order to allow the leader to focus on campaigning everywhere else. Also, the perks for voters generally associated with having a potential Premier as their MNA can usually sway the vote in the leader’s favour.

Of course, when a party feels like they might electorally implode, the leader’s riding might be sacrificed in favour of putting resources in places where they have a better chance of winning, to circle the wagons, so to speal, and to ensure that it isn’t a complete wipeout. Also, if it looks like there’s no chance of the local candidate becoming Premier, that electoral advantage in the minds of some voters evaporates.

Now, I don’t think the Liberals will completely implode like the PQ did last election, but the chances of Anglade becoming Premier are, well, not good to put it kindly. I’d even say her chances of remaining Leader of the Opposition are up in the air.

Her “let’s remove some parts of Bills 21 and 96 to make them less harsh but keep the general framework intact” (not a direct quote) approach may seem like a good way to win some of Legault’s bigoted base back and flip some rural ridings while keeping the Liberals’ Montreal base on board. It won’t work.

No one votes for Legault-lite. Those who support Bill 21 don’t want a watered-down version when they can have the real deal. QS, on the other hand, voiced their opposition to the law when it was enacted without equivocation.

And back in her own riding, Anglade has sent a message that she will compromise with bigotry to maybe get some votes elsewhere rather than stand up for what those who elected her want.

So, yes, Saint-Henri-Saint-Anne, for the first time ever, is a riding to watch.

Featured Image by Jason C. McLean

Quebeckers are heading to the polls on October 3, 2022 and this election is a controversial one. The campaigns have been characterized by a high number of threats of violence against candidates, xenophobic remarks by Quebec’s premier, and missed opportunities.

The incumbent, Premier François Legault of the Coalition Avenir du Québec (CAQ) is facing controversy after controversy as he repeatedly makes xenophobic comments in an attempt to fire up his base, largely consisting of voters outside Montreal. Such remarks include:

  • The accusation on Radio-Canada on September 4th that Montrealers look down on the people of Quebec City and Levis, when people who have lived in both cities can confirm that the animosity is often the other way around due to Legault voters’ fear of Montreal’s ethnic diversity.
  • In the same Radio-Canada interview, Legault complained about Montreal getting so many bridges when the city’s geography as an island requires them.
  • Claims in early September that Quebec needs to curb immigration in order to prevent violent extremism, quickly followed by a half-assed apology on September 7th.
  • On September 11, 2022, the anniversary of 9/11, an event that led to a barrage of Islamophobia, Legault said non-French speaking immigrants are a threat to Quebec cohesion.

In addition to the barrage of xenophobia, the Coalition Avenir du Quebec seems determined to undermine the rights of Canada’s First Nations. Their election platform on climate change presents a plan to add new mega-dams for producing clean hydro-electric power, a plan presented without consulting Quebec’s Indigenous leaders who are rightfully concerned about the effect the dams will have on their lands.

Gaining ground against the Coalition Avenir du Québec is the Quebec Conservative Party, led by right-wing columnist Eric Duhaime, whose solutions to the province’s ongoing problems include more privatization of Quebec healthcare, and the elimination of vaccine mandates that have thus far kept province from a new pandemic wave.

Since last year, Duhaime’s Conservatives have been gaining ground in typical CAQ strongholds such as Quebec City.

Though both the Conservatives and the CAQ have tried to present themselves as fiscally responsible, the Conservatives have been plagued by their leader’s unpaid tax bills and that both their and the CAQ’s approaches to immigration are to the detriment of Quebec business owners. For years business owners in Quebec City and Montreal have been demanding increases to immigration to fill labor shortages particularly in the manufacturing and export sectors, in spite of this, here are the two parties’ platforms:

  • The Conservatives plan to reduce immigration from the current seventy-thousand a year threshold to thirty-five thousand a year.
  • The CAQ plans to reduce immigration from seventy-thousand to fifty-thousand a year

Meanwhile, Québec solidaire (QS) is the only party seemingly committed to global human rights and a carrot and stick approach to climate change:

  • QS proposes to increase immigration from seventy thousand to eighty thousand a year.
  • On climate change, QS proposes an increase in protected areas, as well as a fifteen percent tax on the purchase of SUVs and other heavily polluting vehicles with exceptions for large families and rural Quebeckers.
  • Québec solidaire’s plan is the only one being praised by climate change experts.

Meanwhile, the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) is floundering in the polls. Once a political powerhouse that led Quebec on and off for decades, the party under Dominique Anglade is losing ground to other parties.

With sovereignty off the table for the CAQ and Conservatives, the Liberals can no longer present themselves as the federalist party in Quebec, and swearing to protect English speakers is not enough to win an election. This election was a missed opportunity for the Liberals, who could have easily won the votes of the young, ethnic minorities, and the impoverished in Quebec had they shifted their policies further to the left.

Quebec is starved for a non-separatist leftist party and given that the leftist sovereigntist Quebec Solidaire came in second in provincial Liberal strongholds such as NDG and Westmount, this election campaign is a good example of self-sabotage. Here is what we know so far:

  • Anglade’s waffling on French language protections and religious freedom and the controversial Bills 96 and 21 since taking leadership of the PLQ has alienated many of its core voters in Montreal.
  • On September 5, 2022 the PLQ announced a forty-one billion dollar spending plan which includes twelve billion in income tax cuts.
  • The PLQ’s proposal to address the labor shortage includes keeping the current seventy thousand annual immigration quota and encouraging older workers to stay on the job.
  • This year the PLQ’s campaign fundraising is falling far behind that of its rivals.
  • There are rumors that PLQ leader Dominique Anglade is in danger of losing her seat in the National Assembly.

Whether the PLQ can rise from the ashes remains to be seen, but it looks like Quebec Solidaire will be their primary challenger as the representative of class and minority rights in Quebec.

Featured Image: Drawings by Samantha Gold


Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the tributes, the anti-colonial anti-monarchy based criticism and King Charles III. Plus they plug a(n unrelated) project they have been working on.

The Outside World (the project Jason and Dawn plugged)

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Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss US President Joe Biden cancelling $10 000 – $20 000 in federal student loan debt and the internet’s reaction to it. Plus updates on the Lisa LaFlamme story, the Quebec Election and Montreal shows

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It’s election season in Quebec again and the PQ have just launched their first ad on YouTube and it’s, well, it’s something:

Basically, the ad suggests that another four years of Premier François Legault would mean that Quebec would lose Bill 21 and Bill 96, two laws that Legault created, proposed and passed (with the support of parties like the PQ, not that it was needed, given that he has a Majority Government). Their reasoning? Ottawa will get rid of them unless Quebec becomes its own country.

Okay, first, I have to point out that Legault and his Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) Government had no problem passing and maintaining these laws within a federal system (Bill 21 was passed early in Legault’s mandate). And while federal politicians like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh clearly and vocally don’t like Bill 21, they aren’t prepared to use federal powers to change a Quebec law.

So while I hate to defend Legault, I think I have to here. He’s more than capable of protecting the bigotry enshrined in Bill 21 and the sheer ignorance of reality baked into Bill 96 on his own.

It’s clear, though, from this ad, what the PQ’s election strategy is: try to outflank the CAQ on the right, mobilize hard nationalists and flip some rural and suburban ridings back to them. They seem to have abandoned all hope of winning back the progressive sovereigntist votes and Montreal island ridings they lost to Québec solidaire (QS).

It’s unfortunate, given the PQ just released one of the better public transit ideas I’ve heard in a long time: A $1/day transit pass valid all over Quebec. If they focused on that and put some similar proposals on the table, they could battle it out with QS over who is the most progressive.

Instead, they’re continuing on the rightward trajectory they’ve been on since René Lévesque left office mixed with the reinvigorated country-or-bust approach they switched back to when Paul St-Pierre Plamondon won their leadership. The only lip service to progressivism in this ad is an attack on fossil fuels, but even that is couched in nationalist language (“Alberta oil”).

This PQ tact is both desperate and a leap of logic, but it’s good news for Québec solidaire. As long as leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois sticks with (and keeps repeating) his promise to dismantle Bill 21 if elected, they will keep most of the progressive votes they won from the PQ and only have to contend with smaller progressive parties, Anglo and allophone (and even some Francophone) progressives upset with their voting for Bill 96 and voters who see the Quebec Liberals (PLQ) as the only way to stop Legault.

As for the PQ, I don’t think their attempt to out-Legault Legault and win xenophobic votes from the CAQ will get them very far. Asking bigots to prioritize their nationalism over their bigotry and social conservatism is a tough sell for anyone, especially a party trying to pull itself out of the dustbin of history.

Yes, I know it’s still summer and politics is probably the last thing you want to think about, but it’s about to be provincial election season in Quebec once again! Yay!

The 2022 Quebec Election will be on Monday October 3rd, unless Premier François Legault decides to call it earlier (in which case we will update this post with the new date). So, with that in mind, we’re continuing our tradition of posting an election poll.

In keeping with that tradition, the winner of the poll will receive the endorsement of FTB readers in a post written on their behalf by a member of our editorial team. This time, though, with one exception: I’m pretty sure no one on our editorial team would feel comfortable writing an endorsement of the current premier (I surely wouldn’t), so we won’t.

If Legault somehow does manage to win our poll, either through a bit of right-wing trolling or us seriously misjudging our largely progressive readership, we will acknowledge it, try to unpack it and probably award the endorsement to second place.

As for the poll itself, we’ve added all the major parties and some of the more interesting minor and upstart ones. We’ve also added Undecided and Not Legault as choices, and you can re-vote, so please feel free to park your vote for the time being with one of those options, knowing you can change it if and when you make up your mind.

We’ve also made Other an option. If you want us to add an option to the poll, please vote other and add your suggestion in the comments. If it’s one of the 25 officially registered Quebec provincial parties, we will add it.

The poll is on the sidebar of every site page and right here below.

Happy voting and now back to the rest of your summer.

Who do you support in the 2022 Quebec Election?
  • Québec solidaire (QS) - Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois 29%, 6 votes
    6 votes 29%
    6 votes - 29% of all votes
  • Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ) - Éric Duhaime 19%, 4 votes
    4 votes 19%
    4 votes - 19% of all votes
  • Bloc Montréal - Balarama Holness 14%, 3 votes
    3 votes 14%
    3 votes - 14% of all votes
  • Not Legault! 14%, 3 votes
    3 votes 14%
    3 votes - 14% of all votes
  • Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) - Dominique Anglade 10%, 2 votes
    2 votes 10%
    2 votes - 10% of all votes
  • Green Party of Quebec (PVQ) - Alex Tyrrell 10%, 2 votes
    2 votes 10%
    2 votes - 10% of all votes
  • Undecided 5%, 1 vote
    1 vote 5%
    1 vote - 5% of all votes
  • Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) - François Legault 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Parti Québécois (PQ) - Paul St-Pierre Plamondon 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • New Democratic Party of Quebec (NPDQ) - Raphaël Fortin 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Other 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
Total Votes: 21
August 8, 2022 - October 2, 2022
Voting is closed

Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss the FBI raid on former US President Donald Trump’s resort home Mar-a-Lago, author Salman Rushdie being stabbed multiple times while on stage and a judge suspending two articles of Quebec’s Bill 96.

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Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney take a break from talking Montreal festival season to go over some recent news:

  • Ongoing war in Ukraine and war games near Taiwan
  • Pierre Poilievre poised to win Federal Conservative Party leadership
  • Quebec pharmacist refuses to sell woman morning-after pill

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Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss Cinema Guzzo’s plans to show the Pope’s visit to Quebec at all of its Montreal-area theatres, rising heat levels and fires around the world and more on this year’s Just for Laughs Festival.

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Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss some of wilder stories coming out of the January 6th Hearings in the US, reconciling Canada Day with the colonial treatment of indigenous communities and Canada’s bizarre ban on importing dogs.

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Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney discuss the plan to make seven Downtown Montreal metro stations free on weekends and the summer festival season beginning with Grand Prix and Fringe.

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