Tag Archives: Quebec-election

Posted in Opinion, TV

Election night projections the networks got wrong

Rigueur, rigueur, rigueur.

Those words were uttered by TVA’s Pierre Bruneau on election night in 2007, after Radio-Canada had earlier incorrectly projected that Liberal leader Jean Charest had lost his seat in the election that swept the Action démocratique du Québec to official opposition status and ended the political career of André Boisclair. TVA held off on calling the race for that seat, and reaped the benefits.

The TV networks make big deals of their “decision desk” teams, the computers, political analysts and experts who wait until they’re absolutely sure that a race can be called before making a decision. That care is counteracted by the race to be the first to declare the result of the election.

But surely the chance of being embarrassed, as Radio-Canada’s Bernard Derome was in 2007, by calling even a single seat wrong would be enough to ensure that they always get it right.

Not so much.

On Monday night, all three local English TV stations with elections specials made more than one incorrect call. And, to their shame, I caught them on my PVR.

8:33: CBC calls Lévis for Liberals

CBC Lévis

Simon Turmel was one of a few Liberals to steal seats away from the CAQ in the Quebec City region. Or at least that’s what CBC seemed to think, announcing the gain with Turmel sitting in a seemingly comfortable lead of more than 1,100 votes.

But not quite. When the night was over, the CAQ’s Christian Dubé won the riding by 1,943 votes.

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Posted in Opinion

Strategic voters’ guide to the Quebec 2014 election

The Parti Québécois posted this video ad on Friday, featuring former voters of Québec solidaire and Option nationale who have decided to vote for the Parti Québécois this time. The message is simple and explicit: Don’t split the vote by voting for the other left-wing sovereignist parties.

The ad bugged me. Not because it’s a PQ ad, or because it’s trying to discourage people from voting for other parties. Or even because it’s a two-minute ad that has 27 seconds of another party’s campaign video.

No, it bugged me because if the PQ’s strategy is really anyone-but-Couillard don’t-split-the-vote, then it should have told 34 of its candidates to withdraw from the race and endorse another candidate.

Based off these riding-by-riding projections from Too Close To Call, which I use only because there isn’t any better way to project what the likely numbers are where, there are 29 ridings where the Coalition avenir Québec candidate is ahead of the PQ candidate, and another five where the Québec solidaire candidate is ahead of the PQ candidate. But in all these cases, the PQ candidate is still in the race (though perhaps keeping quiet). Only in one riding has the PQ decided not to run in order not to split the vote: La Pinière, where former Liberal Fatima Houda Pepin, who left the party over disagreements about the PQ charter of values, is running as an independent.

But whatever, it wouldn’t be the first time a desperate party threw up a bucket of hypocrisy at the end of a campaign.

So if the PQ wants people to vote strategically, how would you do it? Not just anyone-but-Liberals, but anyone-but-party-X?

Here, Québec solidaire is right, if exaggerated. It is actually complicated in any riding where more than two parties have a chance. And there are a lot of those. The TCTC projection shows seven ridings where three parties have a 10% or more chance of winning, and 20 ridings total where there’s a reasonable chance that any of three parties could win.

Based on that projection, I’ve created the chart below. It’s a chart with numbers to use to determine how to vote strategically. The first five columns give the riding-by-riding projections (the fifth is for independents, but the only one worth noting is Houda Pepin). There are no ridings where Option nationale, the Green party or others make any sense to vote for strategically, so I’ve excluded them.

The next four columns are the anybody-but-X columns telling you who to vote for based on who you have decided is the embodiment of pure evil. Generally, it means voting for the party most likely to win the seat, unless that’s your anybody-but party, in which case you vote for the next-most-likely candidate.

The final two columns assume your sole issue is sovereignty, and would either be fine with one of the two sovereignist parties, or fine with either the Liberals or CAQ. (If you don’t think the CAQ is federalist enough, then your only strategic choice is to vote for the Liberals.) Again, neither ON nor the Greens have enough support to be worth considering in any riding.

There are five cases where one of the four main parties isn’t running a candidate. Besides the aforementioned case where the PQ isn’t running a candidate in La Pinière, there were three CAQ candidates and one Québec solidaire candidate (all in Montreal-area Liberal strongholds) whose nomination papers were rejected. Those cases are marked N/C or “no candidate” since there’s no reason to vote against a candidate who doesn’t exist.

Feel free to complain that the polls are wrong, or the projections are wrong, because your gut feeling tells you otherwise. You can repeat the exercise with numbers from ThreeHundredEight.com or your back-alley pollster or party strategist of choice.

And if you think this whole strategic voting thing is nonsense, you could vote for a party that supports some form of proportional representation or alternative voting method. Unfortunately, none of that is in the PQ’s platform.

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Posted in TV, Video

Sun News Network 2012 debate translation highlights

This marks the second provincial election campaign in which TVA has decided to separate itself from the consortium that organizes televised leaders’ debates and go it alone with a series of one-on-one debates.

It almost didn’t happen. Pauline Marois and the Parti Québécois said no at first, wanting to limit her to the other, more traditional debate that aired on Radio-Canada and Télé-Québec. But she later relented.

You might recall that the Sun News Network, which like TVA is owned by Quebecor Media, also aired the TVA face-à-face debates in 2012. Few people watched it on Sun News, but when a report about the debate that included two short clips were posted to Sun News’s website, it went a bit viral. The clips came to a total of about 23 seconds, and they were highlights picked by Sun News, so they didn’t show the worst parts.

Since the translated debates weren’t posted online, they might have been lost to history if not for one thing: I recorded all three hour-long debates on my PVR. And they’ve been sitting there ever since.

With the 2014 face-à-face debates only hours away, I recorded some clips from the debate and compiled them into eight minutes of highlights. The result is the video you see above.

A source at Sun News tells me that the network will air tonight’s debate, but that they have hired different translators.

I’ll be PVRing it anyway. Just in case.

TVA’s face-à-face debates air Thursday, March 27 from 8pm to 10pm on TVA and simultaneously translated on Sun News Network. It will also air on CPAC.

UPDATE: After posting the video to YouTube, I went in to clean the automatically-generated captions. But the captions generated for the debate clips were just so great that I couldn’t touch them. They include such gems as:

  • 2:06: ”I wouldn’t victims contra months prego merman”
  • 5:28: “second spend your life getting minutes for me his / as Julia and modern yesterday sent / week with the mall butthead”
  • 6:14: “he added that the troops mister sister 20 as you go”
  • 6:34: “thank you so much as a queen of thank you so much musica”
  • 7:21: “and mister across america their leader / how to Chris you’re a doctor becker / he wouldn’t allow your the day all the balls we have”
  • 8:08: “going to help me fire a gritty / you lose my me I cannot do we”
  • 8:37: “your house layout so attacker 7,000 jobs that are you gonna cut people”
  • 8:49: “overheard the Cougar 30 Passa Passa”
  • 8:53: “I hope this exchange farewell lighting you for your torso”
Posted in In the news, Media

Pierre Karl Péladeau analysis in point form

Pierre Karl Péladeau

To say that Pierre Karl Péladeau’s announcement that he’s running for the Parti Québécois was a bombshell would be an understatement. The announcement monopolized the news cycle on Sunday and again on Monday. We’re still talking about it because of its implications. Canada’s largest newspaper chain is owned by a separatist. A media mogul is running for office, and everyone expects the media he owns to stay objective on the matter. And his selection is a huge risk for the PQ, which can ride his economic bona fides to power or see itself torn apart by ideological differences (whether or not it wins a majority).

His media outlets insist in French and in English that he has no control over them. Sun News handled the news straight, declaring that they too are not under Péladeau’s control. Here’s Brian Lilley and here’s Lorrie Goldstein. (Ezra Levant is fighting a libel lawsuit and hasn’t been on the air.)

There are news stories and analyses of Péladeau all over the place, but here are a few that are worth reading: 

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Posted in In the news, Radio, TV

English-language Quebec election night coverage plans

Provincial elections are the biggest tests for English-language media based in Montreal during the campaign and on election night. During federal elections, major TV stations, radio stations and newspapers can rely on their national networks to share coverage. But that’s not the case during provincial elections, when the Montreal-based stations (who, for the most part, are the only members of their national networks in all of Quebec) have to do just about everything by themselves.

All that hard work, which comes with relatively little reward in terms of election campaign ad spending, comes to a head on Tuesday night as the polls close at 8pm and results start coming in. Every outlet that normally produces news will have an election special with reporters in the field covering leaders and key ridings. Here’s how it breaks down for each:

CBC television (CBMT/CBC News Network)

Election website | Video livestream | Live chat

CBC is first out of the gate on the TV side. Its election special begins at 7:30pm, with Andrew Chang and Debra Arbec hosting. Rather than do it from their usual cramped studio, they’ve been moved into the Maison Radio-Canada’s Studio 47.

Among guests with CBC TV on election night are Christian Bourque of Léger Marketing and Martin Patriquin of Maclean’s.

CBC News Network will be carrying the local election special nationally. CBCNN will cover the election during the day, with a special extended edition of Power & Politics with Evan Solomon at 5pm. The National will also have a special At Issue panel focusing on the election.

The TV election special will be streamed online and accessible by tablets and smartphones.

CTV (CFCF/CTV News Channel)

Election website | Election results site | Video livestream

CFCF will be airing a full-night election special starting at 8pm, with Mutsumi Takahashi and Paul Karwatsky hosting. It’s scheduled to end at 11pm when the national news starts, but it can keep going as needed.

CTV News Channel will pick up the CFCF feed as has been the case in previous provincial elections. What’s new this time is that the special will be live-streamed online.

Reporters will be staffed at “more than eight live remote locations” and Tarah Schwartz will be in studio analyzing election maps. There will also be Kevin Newman, CTV’s social media guy, who will be tracking reaction online from Ottawa.

In studio with Paul and Mits will be former Mulroney speechwriter L. Ian Macdonald and McGill’s Antonia Maioni, both Quebec political analysis veterans. There’s also an election panel chaired by Barry Wilson with former PQ minister Rita Dionne-Marsolais, former Equality Party Leader (and CAQ supporter) Robert Libman, and Suburban editor (and Liberal supporter) Beryl Wajsman.

National News chief anchor Lisa LaFlamme is also in Montreal and anchoring the national news here Monday and Tuesday. Former local anchor Todd van der Heyden is also here, covering the election and its aftermath for CTV News Channel during the day Tuesday and Wednesday from Place Jacques-Cartier.

CTV also promises election-related coverage on Business News Network.

Global (CKMI)

Election website | Results map (CP) | Liveblog

CKMI has historically preferred to keep its lucrative prime-time programming on election nights rather than put on a results special that’s going to come third in the ratings anyway. That continues this time. The election special will only start at 11pm, but will run for a full hour. It will include speeches from the leaders (taped, if they happen before 11pm, or live if they’re during that hour).

Online, the station will be active throughout the night, with live streaming, tweets from reporters and a blog by political scientist Bruce Hicks.

Sun News Network

Website

Quebecor’s right-wing network is planning live election coverage as of 5pm.

CBC Radio One (CBME 88.5FM)

Election website | Audio livestream link

88.5 goes live with election results as of 7:30pm, with Mike Finnerty and Bernard St-Laurent hosting. The latter will also be doing a live blog.

CJAD (800 AM)

Election website | Audio livestream link

Montreal’s News Talk Leader goes live as of 8pm, running “until the speeches are done”, the plan says. Aaron Rand and Tommy Schnurmacher will host, rotating in 15-minute segments. Rand will interview analysts, reporters and candidates, while Schnurmacher will host two Gang of Four panels (one of commentators, one of the three main parties).

Among analysts will be The Gazette’s James Mennie and former CJAD host (and former NDP candidate) Anne Lagacé Dowson.

CBC.ca

Election website | Live chat

CBC has always been a go-to source for election results on election night, and this time will be no different, with the usual interactive maps constantly updated with results. Shawn Apel of Daybreak will moderate a live chat on the website, and Bernard St-Laurent will blog live in combination with his radio duties.

montrealgazette.com

Election website | Results map (CP)

This is where I’ll be on election night. I’ve been given the task of managing the homepage, while other editors handle subpages and edit stories. The Gazette will, like many websites, be using an interactive map from Canadian Press with live results. There will also be a live blog hosted by Jim Mennie.

Others

OpenFile Montreal live blog

In French

Anyone else covering election night in English I should have included here? Let me know in the comments.

Posted in In the news, Opinion

Anglophones: Vote PQ (ha ha, just kidding)

It happens, it seems, during every election. Reporters stuck on campaign buses to Saint-Félix-de-who-kn0ws-where look for some unusual story to report on inevitably throw out the idea that anglophones might somehow be interested in voting for a sovereignist party.

The sovereignist party – the Parti Québécois during a provincial election or the Bloc Québécois in a federal election – are never ones to say no to any votes (they are, after all, politicians), so they indulge, pretending Quebec anglos might have a reason to vote for them.

The party leader explains that this is an election, not a referendum, and federalists can still vote for a sovereignist party that will (in the case of the Bloc) be a voice for all Quebecers in Ottawa, or (in the case of the PQ) be an alternative to the Liberals. They remind the anglos that an independent Quebec would continue to respect their rights and that they, too, are Québécois.

Then comes election night, and the big victory speech, in which the leader proclaims a huge win for sovereignty, as if every vote for that party is a vote to make Quebec into an independent country.

Jean Charest alluded to this phenomenon just before the last provincial election in 2008.

But then, maybe we think it’s more commonplace than it is. The night of the 2008 federal election, Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe said the vote for the Bloc was not a vote for sovereignty, according to an article in The Gazette from way back then. Though he did say the vote showed that Quebecers wanted Ottawa to recognize the supremacy of the French language in this province, and insist that Quebec’s French-language charter apply to federally-regulated institutions.

I’d compare this with other recent sovereignist party victories, but unfortunately for them there haven’t been many. The PQ hasn’t won a provincial election since 1998. The Bloc was doing well until last year, when it collapsed into near-oblivion.

Few options for anglos

All this anglos-voting-PQ silliness highlights the problem that there really isn’t an alternative to the Liberals for federalist anglophones in Quebec. Of the five parties with a chance of winning seats, three of them are openly and proudly sovereignist, and four of them want to strengthen the French-language charter in some way to counteract a perceived threat to the French language in Quebec. Even the Coalition Avenir Québec, which is being seen as an alternative hope for anglos, makes it clear in its platform (PDF) that it would strengthen the role of he Office Québécois de la langue française and put in place measures to ensure more immigrants to Quebec speak French.

The Liberals, meanwhile, aren’t exactly the Equality Party. The best that anglos can hope for with them is the status quo.

It’s no wonder, then, that there won’t be an English-language leaders’ debate, even with the offer to have Pauline Marois do her part in French. The PQ really has little to gain from such an event, and the Liberals and CAQ don’t want to be seen as too friendly to federalists or anglophones, which might scare off soft nationalists.

It’s to the point where francophones are asking about how anglophones are being treated here.

I won’t use some of the ridiculous hyperbole being used by some, comparing Quebec to some totalitarian government or its leaders to some iron-fist dictators who think nothing of murdering millions of their citizens.

But let’s just say that you can understand why there are some people here, maybe some whose families have been in Quebec for generations, or who might be perfectly bilingual but have the misfortune of having the incorrect mother tongue, who feel that on the ballot will simply be yet another list of parties for whom this umpteenth-generation Quebecer isn’t really Québécois enough.

Posted in In the news, Media, On the Net

Post-election thoughts

Three election nights in as many months. I’m starting to get the hang of this.

The biggest surprise of the night was Mario Dumont’s decision to leave his party leadership. The obvious question that comes up now is: Who the heck is going to lead the ADQ? Can you even name another ADQ MNA?

Amir who?

The biggest electoral surprise is clearly Amir Khadir winning the Plateau riding of Mercier for Québec solidaire. Not only did he unseat the PQ’s Daniel Turp, but he surprised a lot of news outlets who hadn’t planned for one of the “autres” to get a seat in this election. (Our front page needed a last-minute redesign to add a fourth box for QS’s seat total.)

In the early stages of returns, the seat seesawed between Khadir and Turp, but another riding way off near Quebec City was also showing a QS lead (with one poll reporting), reminding everyone that these results were still early. That other candidate ended up dead last with 1,000 votes.

But as the night wore on, the lead became more constant, and slowly started to grow. Cynicism that Khadir’s lead would vanish when more conservative mainstream votes came in slowly started to vanish. As the party’s co-leaders (they’re really going to have to get rid of that co-leadership system) gave their news conference, the networks called the seat for Khadir, and another political party officially entered relevance.

Now, does this mean QS will be invited to leaders’ debates?

They almost got it wrong

CTV Montreal is very proud of the fact that they called a majority government first, just after 8:30pm. This means they’re cool and their penis is larger than everyone else’s, I think. The seats certainly looked to be going to a solid majority early on.

But around 9pm, the number of leading and elected Liberal seats started holding steady at 63-64. This was right on the razor’s edge. All it would take is a couple of Liberal-leading seats to shift to another party and Charest loses his majority. Part of me wanted exactly that to happen so that overeager news directors would have to explain why they got it wrong.

In the end, though, the Liberals got 66 seats, pending recounts, and their majority isn’t in doubt. Only a couple of ridings in the Montérégie area were close enough (the lead in votes is significantly less than the number of spoiled ballots) that a recount might change something.

Media analysis

I didn’t watch any of the live TV coverage (beyond glancing at the changing numbers on the screen), so I’ll leave commenting on that to you, or Richard Therrien, or Mike Boone, or Paul Cauchon.

There were liveblogs from Lagacé/Ouimet at Cyberpresse (you can cut the metrosexual tension with a knife) and Philippe Gohier at Maclean’s in case you want to re-live the night in real-time.

Here’s how the main news sources handled their online results:

  • CTV had its own custom election system which failed in a very important way: It couldn’t process a win by a candidate outside the three main parties. Seat totals don’t include Québec solidaire, and Amir Khadir is not listed as elected in Mercier, nor is QS or the Green Party listed under “party leaders”. It also doesn’t list incumbents.
  • Canoe (TVA/Journal) had a very basic, non-Flash elections page. A table of results by party, and individual tables of results for each riding. Québec solidaire was listed under “Autres”.
  • CBC, which has been at online election results longer than everyone else, had an interactive election map with colour-coded ridings. The map format made it easier to find ridings visually, but it also meant if you wanted a Montreal riding you had to “zoom in” three times. It also had a separate page with results tables by region (and links to tables by riding). No indication of incumbency here either, which surprised me.
  • Radio-Canada had a different online election setup (do these people not talk to each other? Surely it’s easier to translate existing software than create an entirely new system?). It’s not much to look at.
  • Cyberpresse, Le Devoir and The Globe and Mail used a flash widget provided by Canadian Press/Presse Canadienne. The interface was slick, with square tiles representing each riding. When you click on them, they jump out and form a staacked bar graph. But it was also incredibly basic. It didn’t even provide percentage totals for each candidate. The tile system also made it more difficult to find ridings visually, compared to a real map.
  • The website of the director general of elections (which The Gazette pointed to for results) had the advantages of being official and fast. But around 8:45pm, it stopped updating (while CP and CBC’s feeds kept going), panicking reporters and editors who were using it for results. It came back around 9:15 and stayed reliable for the rest of the night. The table system is simple, which is good, but because it’s an official site it doesn’t declare candidates elected like the news networks do, and it also doesn’t note incumbents or incumbent parties.
Posted in In the news, Media

Gazette freelancer runs for ADQ in Marois riding

Apparently Mark Cardwell, who has been writing freelance articles for The Gazette (and other publications) out of Quebec City, is running for the Action démocratique in the riding of Charlevoix, just northeast of the capital. Charlevoix is currently held by the PQ, by someone named Pauline Marois.

His reason for running:

“To be quite honest, I saw that the ADQ was perilously low in the polls and I don’t want to see that party disappear. I don’t want to go back to the barren landscape of Liberal versus PQ and every provincial election being like a mini referendum.”

That’s a pretty solid endorsement by ADQ standards.

Good luck.

Posted in In the news, Navel-gazing

A journalist’s wet dream: Time for Election #3

Last night was my second of what will probably be three election nights at the paper in a span of two months. Election night is always fun (as I recounted in my previous post), and this one was no exception with the president, Senate, House, governors, ballot initiatives and everything else on the line.

First, Canada re-elected the least charismatic person on the planet. Then the U.S. elected the most charismatic person on the planet. Now, Quebecers go to the polls. Who will they elect?

(Yes we can?)

Posted in Uncategorized

The exciting results, live! (as soon as I see them on TV)

Tonight’s election liveblog, in a nutshell:

  • Liberals win, ADQ becomes the official opposition after posting huge gains in Quebec City, the Laurentians and the Eastern townships.
  • Strong second-place showings in two ridings by Québec solidaire and three by the Greens, all on the island of Montreal.
  • The CBC blows a big election call (Jean Charest’s riding) and has to retract itself with a pathetic excuse

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