QS and the NDP: Unofficial Alliance?

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Brachina
QS and the NDP: Unofficial Alliance?

I was reading a book on NDP history the other day and was amazed at how much QS reminds me of the early days of the CCF, the NDP precurser (I was also amazed that some of the CCF's precursers governed, named the United Farmers). This in a way goes to explaining all the connections I keep hearing about between the NDP and QS. Also I believe what was left of the rogue,Quebec wing of the NDP merged into QS. So what do people think of the relationship between QS and the NDP and the possible exchange of ideas and voluneers? What does this unofficial connection effect the evolution of these parties? Could QS help pull the NDP to the left and could the NDP help pull QS towards federalism, or at least automony? After all QS already once almost dumped soveriegnty I believe in a close vote did it not? I keep hearing the alot of our Qebec volunteers and staff are allied to QS, which means QS's staff are benifiting from the expertise and training from the NDP. I believe in fact this lead to some complaining by other parties during a bielection didn't it?

Unionist

Brachina - almost everything you said is factually inaccurate. And some of it - like the QS's staff benefiting from NDP training - is simply hilarious, unless it was just a typo, in which event I apologize. 

Robbie_dee: you're correct, the NDP can never show any positive inclination to QS. On the other hand, QS publicly called on Quebecers to vote for either NDP or Bloc candidates in the last federal election, for which it is still being reviled, to this day, by the PQ and other similar elements.

There, in a nutshell, is the difference between the two. It's the NDP's loss, but that's life. As long as Quebec-bashing is seen as a sine qua non of electioneering in Canada - as long as the Pat Martins and his ilk are allowed to use the Party's name - it will be difficult to envision a top-down alliance of left forces. But on the ground, cooperation within the movements, and even electorally, has always existed and will continue to be built.

 

robbie_dee

QS is by far the most progressive (i.e. left-wing) provincial party in Quebec and the NDP is the most progressive federal party. So it makes sense that many of the same people would want to volunteer or vote for both parties. But because of the national question, I think its impossible for the connection to become any more formal or established than that. The NDP wants to form a federal government in Canada, and any indication of sympathy for Quebec sovereignty is toxic to that objective because it will drive away voters in the rest of Canada. (It may erode what exists of the NDP's federalist base in Quebec as well.) By contrast, while I am not involved in Quebec Solidaire nor especially familiar with Quebec politics in general, my understanding is that sovereignty is just too popular among too much of QS's base for the party to ever officially turn away from it. I am happy to be corrected on this point if I am wrong.

The above being said, clearly the "holy grail" of Quebec politics - at least since the 1995 referendum and probably since much earlier than that - has been to stake out a position somewhere between "Quebec as just one of ten provinces, with no special distinction whatsoever," and full independence. If we ever actually get an NDP federal government and a Quebec Solidaire provincial government, I do believe that may offer the best chance to negotiate some sort of mutually acceptable and lasting arrangement.

robbie_dee

I didn't say the NDP can't show positive inclination towards QS, I said they can't affiliate. If they do the NDP will be crucified by the anglo Canadian media and the various elites who have an interest in preserving the "status quo." I wish it were possible to have a more nuanced discussion about the issues in english-speaking Canada. Our inability to do so only makes Quebec separation more likely.

But aside from perhaps some stray rumbings from a loose cannon or two, I'm not aware of any Quebec-bashing by the NDP in the last election? The NDP has defended the Sherbrook declaration, which its current leader was instrumental in getting adopted. It's just that the NDP is also clear which side they will be on in the event of another sovereignty referendum, and that's on the opposite side as QS would likely be on.

Brachina

What I meant by the staff thing was NDP staff that might Volunteer for QS such as the NDP staffer that stood for election on behalf of QS. I did not mean direct training.

I was also under the understanding Amir one of QS leader was a member of the NDP and even attended the anniversary convention? If so I believe training was offer thier some of which may have benifited Amir. Truth be told I may need to do some research on QS.

Unionist

Don't get me wrong. I have praised the adoption of the Sherbrooke Declaration since 2006, and its defence (more or less) by the leadership candidates and Mulcair in particular. Even though it wasn't the subject of much election publicity, the very fact of the federal NDP finally recognizing, in writing, Québec's right to unfettered self-determination was crucial to making the breakthrough that it did. Countless numbers of sovereignists switched from BQ to NDP, and that simply couldn't have happened if the BQ had been able to credibly say that the NDP was still on its old historical positions.

I didn't mean to accuse the NDP of Québec-bashing in the last election. I meant that it thinks it still has to accommodate hatred of Québec, both among the electorate, and in its own ranks, in order to win an election. Jack Layton and Stéphane Dion bravely, for a brief moment, rejected that thesis of the spin doctors when they came to an agreement with Gilles Duceppe in 2008 and jointly sent a letter to the Governor-General. There are still fools around today who will tell you that that action cost the NDP votes. The 2011 election - throughout  which Jack continued to proclaim "yes" whenever asked if he would entertain another coalition to defeat Harper, and Ignatieff shouted "no" - should have been proof positive, to anyone who wants to understand, that hatred of Québec and refusal to ally even with independentists for common goals is not the key to victory.

But I guess that lesson hasn't been learned.

I repeat: If QS is prepared to openly support the NDP, as it has done in the past, explain to me, in detail, why there can't be an alliance for specific goals, while maintaining entirely opposite opinions on the independence issue?

love is free love is free's picture

in montreal, for people really involved on the electoral side of things, there is a strong affinity, bordering on vertical integration, between projet montreal, quebec solidaire and the ndp - but in all cases, it's not very useful for one group to support another.  just as full-throated ndp endorsement of solidare would alienate a large portion of its base in the province, full-throated solidaire endorsement of bergeron would alienate his moves to win over marginal areas (verdun, outremont, etc).

the reason that this seems to matter to folks is that some feel the ndp should be using more of its credibility and political capital to prop up other left formations at lower levels of government, but they miss the point that the ndp's position of prominence is new, and that such moves wouldn't really bring people along.  that said, individual mp endorsements will be key to various provincial races across the city and definitely in next year's municipal elections, when we power pm to power over coderre or whoever they choose to succeed tremblay.

Brachina

Don't confuse dislike or distain for the seperatism and its key champions to Quebec hating or bashing, you can hate the BQ and still love Quebec. I'm a federalist, but I still love Quebec and its culture, and I yes I recognize Quebec's right to determine its future, but I still don't have to like the idea of seperatism to recognized its rights.

I did do some research on QS and discovered it supports a another type of sovergienty called international sovergienty, that sovergienty is a means to an ends, that has collectives including a seperation of church and state collective, a some communist collectives and a femanist comittee. I also know they share the colour orange with the NDP.

I wonder if QS would except a anglo rights, federalist, or enviromental collective within itself, which could broaden its appeal. I do like the idea of collectives.

cco

Unionist wrote:

I repeat: If QS is prepared to openly support the NDP, as it has done in the past, explain to me, in detail, why there can't be an alliance for specific goals, while maintaining entirely opposite opinions on the independence issue?

It's the kind of thing that seems eminently reasonable from here inside Québec, where people tend to know at least one sovereigntist and realize it doesn't automatically turn them into what I once described as a "soulless minion of Parizeauite orthodoxy dedicated to the destruction of Canada at any cost". Outside of Québec, in my experience (and this includes talking to fellow NDPers as a delegate at the March Toronto convention), separatism is absolutely radioactive. It's regarded with all the same reasoned consideration we might give to the Ku Klux Klan. Even if Mulcair knows better, he's apparently not willing to walk into that particular Conservative firing squad.

The irony is that by ejecting the Bloc Québécois, Québec may have essentially given up on being part of the national conversation. Since the collapse of Mulroney's coalition and the subsequent dominance of the Bloc, Canadian willingness to accomodate Québec positions within a federal party seems to have dropped like a stone. Is there any doubt that with a strong Bloc in Ottawa, federal politicians would have been forced to take a public stand on the student strikes by now?

love is free love is free's picture

you tell your average quebecois that you "hate" the notion of quebec independence and blindly condemn any formation advocating that one and you'll be the one considered a fanatic and extremist.  that is, unless you traffic with the other extremists, ringing the western montreal suburbs.

Brachina

I'm an extermist because I don't like the Bloc, because I'm a federalist I'm an extremist? That makes 95 percent of Canadians, outside of Quebec extremists.

As to why Canadians hate the Bloc its a party devoted to the destruction of something I love, Canada.

Two they keep saying all they care about the interests of Quebec, aka who cares about anyone else and this is the message they've been projecting for over a decade now.

And the Bloc has been the face and the voice of Quebec to Canadians for a long time now and that message of me, me, me has been the only thing most Canadians have heard from Quebec until recently. I don't think Quebec is selfish, but I do understand those who do because almost all there experience and understanding of Quebec has come from the Bloc.

And as to shutting Quebec out of the national conversation they did that when they turn to the Bloc, a party opposed to having the national conversation.

That all changed on May, 2011, when it felt like Quebec was finally picking up the phone again a talking with us again. And when Mulcair, the new voice and face of Quebec, supported Muskrat falls, it was like Quebec was showing she cared about someone elses needs.

I'm not saying this because I hate Quebec, I love Quebec, I love the sound of a Montreal accent, I love her winter mascot that kind of looks like the Marshmellow man from Ghostbusters, I love her leadership on education, I love Just for Laughs, I love how she too hate Steven Harper and so much more.

Look I think most Canadians realized thier mistake, some times Quebec needs her space and she needs to know how special she is to Canadians.

But I've come to realize the beginning of Quebec reaching out to Canada again, ironically started under Gilles Deceppe, when he pushed for the Coalition, it was so out of character for the Bloc, to reach out and makes sure Canada was governed well for everybody, to build a government that would protect Canada's national institutions from Harper, when Harper was the best thing ever for seperatism.

I also think that ultimately that what lead to the crushing defeat of both the Bloc and the Liberals, Quebec got a taste being really invovled in Canada again and it liked it.

I remember hearing the story of a Bloc MP after her defeat, in tears as she emptied her office and hearing how she'll miss Ottawa and her job and I realized that even if she didn't want to admit it to herself, a part of her loved Canada. It brings a tear to my eye.

Unionist

Brachina wrote:
  I remember hearing the story of a Bloc MP after her defeat, in tears as she emptied her office and hearing how she'll miss Ottawa and her job and I realized that even if she didn't want to admit it to herself, a part of her loved Canada. It brings a tear to my eye.

love is free love is free's picture

well, no offense, but very few quebecois think of canada with anything like the passion you do.  even the trope "quebec is selfish" would be considered so outrageous to that majority of folks that even in disagreeing with it, you'd be confirming a francophobia that most quebecois suspect underlies canadian relations with quebec.  you'd have to go to chancellor day hall or a church basement in westmount to hear that sort of talk in quebec, it's so fanatical-seeming.

as for the bq, it's a regional party that supports independence, and the formation for years did a pretty good job of defending quebec's interests on all fronts, with whatever power it had at a given time.  saying that you hate the bq is to condemn the work they do and what they represent, which is illogical when the ndp is expected to pick up with the same work (minus the occasional appearance beside pq candidates for the assembly), or to suffer a very dark fate.  obviously, in the heat of election campaigning, i was there on doorsteps and at dinner parties with my "the bloc achieves nothing, how can they?" and "we need a good strong left, not an aggregation of interests", but that was sort of disingenuous, knowing that the bq was a very effective parliamentary group and that, by definition, no region or province could even have a more interested representation than a party whose raison d'être was precisely to represent that region or province.

love is free love is free's picture

and that mp most likely loved the position she had - being a bq mp in ottawa, fighting every day for her constituents and people on the front lines, etc.  the ottawa she missed was the battlefield; bq mps have a policy to live in hull/gatineau.

North Star

At some point I think the implicit alliance will have to end when the NDP makes a thrust into suburban ridings in Ontario. Harper's very propaganda team as brought up the QS connections in the past. You think the 905 will vote for a party full of Quebec Sovereigntist-Socialists? The question is, if the NDP is forced into making some unpopular decisions in government or trying to limit the expectations of Quebecers, will QS & the Bloc be able to capitalize?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Brachina wrote:
Don't confuse dislike or distain for the seperatism and its key champions to Quebec hating or bashing, you can hate the BQ and still love Quebec. I'm a federalist, but I still love Quebec and its culture, and I yes I recognize Quebec's right to determine its future, but I still don't have to like the idea of seperatism to recognized its rights. I did do some research on QS and discovered it supports a another type of sovergienty called international sovergienty, that sovergienty is a means to an ends, that has collectives including a seperation of church and state collective, a some communist collectives and a femanist comittee. I also know they share the colour orange with the NDP. I wonder if QS would except a anglo rights, federalist, or enviromental collective within itself, which could broaden its appeal. I do like the idea of collectives.

An "anglo rights" faction within QS would be like a "white rights" faction in the U.S. Rainbow Coalition. The very suggestion is inherently bigoted and reactionary.  Proposing such a group implies that anglos are persecuted within Quebec(and possibly within QS itself) and need special protection.  They aren't, they never have been, and they never will be.  It's not Jim Crow to have the French words on the signs be bigger than the English words.  Your suggestion on that is right up there with the misogynist jerks who respond to any discussion of domestic violence towards women by asking "what about battered men?".  It's a sign that, at this point, you still don't get it.

oh, and you just happened to work in "communist collectives"?  Joe McCarthy died sixty-five years ago.  Don't dig him up.

Vansterdam Kid

Get real Ken. Your comparison is awful and does a disservice to the civil rights movement and people who were involve in anglophone advocacy such as Mulcair, before Alliance Quebec became a more extreme organisation during the height of passions over the constitution in the late 80's and early to mid 90's.

Speaking of which, I think most English-speaking Canadians (outisde of Quebec) don't care much either way about the Quebec sovereignty movement or Quebec's place in Canada anymore because it's not such a day-to-day issue anymore. If they did there would've been more opposition to Quebec being declared a "nation" or the NDP's adoption of the Sherbrooke Decleration. If there was such a negative reaction to Quebec in the rest of Canada, the NDP's pro-Quebec position should've sunk it in English-speaking Canada. At the very least most English Canadians acknowledge that Quebec is unique and there isn't a clamouring desire to de-declare it a nation or declare it a "province like all others."

I think if the Liberals or Conservatives and their allies thought it would be to their political benefit to be more pro-Quebec than the NDP, they would be and the Conservatives were to some degree far more pro-Quebec than they are now until they had to make a choice between slightly growing their base or trying for a break through in Quebec. Additionally Harper miscalculated by supporting the ADQ over Charest's Liberals. So, even though the NDP has high placed QS operatives in it, or is in favour of the Sherbrooke decleration, attacking it it for that has little to do with being against those things in themselves, it's just part of an all-out political war that always exists in electoral politics, especially in opposition to left-leaning political parties. Sorry but English Canada isn't one entity and it even if it were, it just isn't that into you (Quebec). Personally, I love Quebec, well Montreal anyways, but I'm not "mainstream." I think mainstream is indifference or a big meh, whatever.

And no I don't think English-speaking Canadian indifference to Quebec sovereignty and parties like QS has much of anything to do with viewing Quebec sovereignty as strong or weak, so much as out of resignation that it doesn't really affect their lives if Quebec leaves and that Canada won't necessarilly disintegrate without Quebec and that it might even be more cohesive with it. I don't believe in the latter thing myself, seeing as Quebec pulls Canada to the left (with notable exceptions like Free Trade or the debate on the Burqua) and I wouldn't want to see a more cohesivley conservative Canada.

I think the only real hostility to Quebec comes from right-wing conservatives and hard-core English Quebecker federalists. But since the former would want to kick Quebec out and the latter would want to kick Quebec in, I don't think either are representative.

Stockholm

That is total bullshit Ken. Your description of Anglo Quebec is so dated that it sounds like it was written in 1962 not 2012.Have you ever even set foot in Quebec or did you base your screed on reading some dog-eared relic of an FLQ manifesto from 1969.

Nowadays the vast majority of anglophones in Quebec are progressive and speak French fluently and have no issue with Bill 101 (at least that is the case with just about anyone under the age of 45). Similarly any francophone Quebecer would literally have to be over 60 to have any recollection of the days when they could not be serviced in French at Eatons. Today the story is reversed, you cannot be served in English at most stores and you have inpectors from the Regie de la Langue Francaise running around with rulers making sure that the lettering of any English signage in a store is at least x% smaller than the French signage.The English community doesn't even compalin about that stuff anymore.

That being said, there are still issue with social services in English disappearing - particularly in rural parts of Quebec where you have a lot of elderly, POOR unilingual anglophones. To the extent that there is an anglo rights lobby group at all, it mostly concerns itself with things like making sure that some 80 year old poverty stricken pensioners in the Eastern Townships who only speak English might possibly get into nursing homes or hospitals where someone can offer them social services in English. There are also some very nasty militant racist anti-English (well really anti anything that isn't pur laine Quebecois) groups that do things like having protest marches over the fact that when you call a Quebec government office and go through voice-mail, if you press "9" you can actually opt to get the commands recited in English. The small minded pettiness of the more xenophobic fringes of the Quebec nationalist movement knows no bounds. In Ontario, the provincial government bends over backwards to offer services to the comparatively tiny number of Ontarians who are unilingual francophones and the government literally waits hand and foot on the franco-Ontarian community. If the government of Ontario treated franco-Ontarians with one tenth the amount of thinly veiled contempt that the Quebec government treats its English minority with - you would never hear the end of it. Anglophones are about 15% of Quebec but make up something like 1% of the provincial civil service.

There is NO ONE Anglo in Quebec in 2012 who is demanding to be treated with "deference" or who wants to turn back the clock 50 years to the so-called "good old days". Those people may exist in some weird Pequiste acid trip fantasy, but not in real life. As for your blatehr about wanting to go back to "Imperial Protestant rule", you would be surprised just how few WASP anglos there even are in Quebec nowadays. The vast majority of Anglos in Quebec (apart from some dirt poor seniors in the eastern townships) are in Montreal and they tend to be Italian, Jewish, Greek, South Asian etc...actual Protestants are practically an endangered species. I think its perfectly legitimate for people to be concerned about defending minority rights in Quebec. There are factions of the PQ (thankfully a minority) that are blatantly xenophobic and would abolish all English public education if they had the chance and there are already francophone vigilante groups that go on witch hunts persecuting shop clerks who might have said "hello" instead of "bonjour" to an old customers who mother tongue is known to be English.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

The things you speak of can be quietly negotiated, and undoubtedly will be.  What I was reacting to was the idea that anglophones could, as a group, be victims of REAL discrimination that was comparable to what francophones there used to be subjected to.  The issues with anglophone social services for the elderly can be worked out through civil discussion and don't compare to the francophone experience.

And frankly, I don't trust the motives of the person who started this thread...especially with their reference to the "communist caucus" in QS.  That sounds like blatant redbaiting propaganda to me, and even if there WAS such a caucus, it's not possible to set-up big c "Communism" anywhere anymore no matter what.  The Red Army is not going to roll into Quebec City and put up a wall.

autoworker autoworker's picture

@Stockholm: Touché!

Brachina

Its not some conspiracy, I meantioned communists because alot of the collectives were communist or hardcore Socialist. One was devoted to the seperation of church and state. I actually like the system of collectives, thier like parties inside of parties, one could serve communist of one type, another a communism type, a third a type of non
communist socialism, another enviromentalism, another social democracy, another minority rights (perhaps extending it to all minorities would less inflamitory), and yes a federalist collective.

I wasn't trying red bait or any such silliness.

And comparing Anglo rights to the white supemesists is a bit over the top don't you think.

Brachina

To be fair I did get my info off wikipedia.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

(on edit...deleted the whole thing.  I was wrong.)

love is free love is free's picture

or to summarize (i should have wrote "chancellor day hall, westmount church basements and anglo talk radio"): http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/06/14/dan-delmar-quebec-wallows...

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

That article was disgusting...and it reflects the mindset I was reacting against in the post upthread in which I let my self go a bit too far.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Brachina wrote:
Its not some conspiracy, I meantioned communists because alot of the collectives were communist or hardcore Socialist. One was devoted to the seperation of church and state. I actually like the system of collectives, thier like parties inside of parties, one could serve communist of one type, another a communism type, a third a type of non communist socialism, another enviromentalism, another social democracy, another minority rights (perhaps extending it to all minorities would less inflamitory), and yes a federalist collective. I wasn't trying red bait or any such silliness. And comparing Anglo rights to the white supemesists is a bit over the top don't you think.

It might be more acceptable if you were to propose something called a "Minority Language Collective", rather than using the "A-word".This could be a collective that also embraced allophones, who have it just as bad as anglophones in Quebec.  Using the "A-word" will always start visions of Red Ensigns(or perhaps Union Jacks)dancing nightmarishly in the minds of francophones.