The view from the nation (Updated)

The Bloc Québécois’s been running an ad warning the Conservatives that “Quebec was going to stand in the way” of a Harper majority. Now, we find out if he’s right.

Remember, too, that Duceppe’s bet the farm on this race, saying he’d step down if he doesn’t win 38 seats.

There’s a bunch of Quebec ridings to keep an eye on:

-Justin Trudeau vs. Vivian Barbot

-Jean-Pierre Blackburn vs. Chantale Bouchard

-Michael Fortier vs. Meili Faille

-Marc Garneau vs. Anne Lagacé Dowson

-Thomas Mulcair vs. Sébastien Dhavernas


(1) Maxime Bernier has won back his Beauce seat. Despite Bernier’s uneven performance in cabinet and his romantic foibles, his seat was never really in doubt, so it’s nothing for the Conservatives to hang their hats on yet.

(2) It’s still really, really early, but Justin Trudeau is absolutely crushing Vivian Barbot with only a few buckets of votes counted.

(3) I didn’t mention it above, but the Louis-Hébert riding in the Quebec City region is turning into a surprisingly interesting race. The Liberal candidate, Jean Beaupré, appears to be a lot stronger than I’d expected. Going into the election, the capital looked like it might go Tory all the way; somehow, at least in Louis-Hébert, the Grits are having a good showing and may end up splitting the federalist vote.

(4) Josée Verner has won her seat. Looks like she didn’t need her own vote after all.

(5) The Bloc vote in Quebec is hovering around the 37% mark. That’s got to be a disappointment for Duceppe, who was likely hoping to inch up into the low forties.

(6) There isn’t a much safer seat than Westmount-Ville-Marie for the Liberals, and the NDP appears to have underestimated the force of habit by sticking Anne Lagacé Dowson there; she’s nowhere near the lead.

(7) You can pretty much stick a fork in Michael Fortier’s chances. I bet that Senate seat’s looking pretty good right now.

(8) I probably don’t need to mention Wells is always worth reading, but he makes a good point here (two, actually, if you count how difficult it is to understand the CBC website): The Tories are actually doing better in Quebec than they did in the last election.

(9) Jean-Pierre Blackburn is back, which has to be a relief to the Tories. It’s not so much that Blackburn is a particularly adept pointman in the province, but his connections to the ADQ go a long way towards giving the Tories a (relatively) solid batch of groundtroops.

(10) Louis-Hébert is still unusually tight, with the Bloc’s Pascal-Pierre Paillé building on a 700-vote lead over Luc Harvey. Mario Dumont has to be wondering if the Conservatives’ struggles in Quebec City won’t spill over in a provincial election that might come as early as this year.

(11) Mulcair’s in a real dogfight in Outremont. With Lagacé Dowson beaten in spectacular fashion in Westmount, and Mulcair facing defeat, the NDP has lost whatever toe-hold it once had in the province. Back to the drawing board, I suppose.

(12) Wow. How is André Arthur not mopping up in Portneuf? Mystère de Québec, welcome back.

(13) Late last week, Gilles Duceppe suggested defeating Justin Trudeau was important for the good of the nation. Memo to Gilles: Things aren’t looking up, but you’ll survive.

(14) Mulcair is now up by—get this—17 votes.

(15) It doesn’t look like the Bloc is going to lose many seats—in fact, it doesn’t like more than 2-3 Quebec seats are going to change hands at all. But their share of the vote is down 3-4 points from 2006.

(16) CBC’s just called it for Trudeau. Selley and I are already looking forward to the flamboyantly bilingual victory video.

(17) Mulcair is ever-so-slowly building a lead in Outremont. But I still think the point stands: Where does Layton go from here? The Dippers didn’t get anywhere near doubling its Quebec caucus, and Bloc support seemed to bleed to the Liberals rather than them.

(18) Marty says it best: “Thanks for coming out, Galganov. Big 6 percent of the vote.”

(19) For a guy who just took two-thirds of the seats he was campaigning for, Gilles Duceppe’s looking a little solemn. He was right about putting the brakes on a majority, but losing votes to the Liberals—Stéphane Dion’s Liberals!—has got to hurt.

(20) As much as I often disagree with Coyne’s view of Quebec-Canada relations, he does make a good point about the Conservatives’ failure to become the default federalist alternative in Quebec. After millions in increased transfer payments, two and a half years of overt nationalist rhetoric, formal recognition of the Quebec nation, etc., all they have to show for it is the same lackluster Quebec caucus they had going in. Welcome back to cabinet, Mr. Bernier?

(21) An aside: Where the hell’s the Green vote in Quebec anyway?

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