Volume 92, Issue 38

Wednesday, November 11, 1998

thank you


Separation an unclear issue in election

By Elliott Platt
Gazette Staff

While the pending Quebec provincial election may be noticeably different from the last election, some are predicting the same outcome – a Parti Quebecois majority.

Miriam Lapp, an assistant professor of political science at Western, said the PQ and Quebec Liberal Party have placed a different emphasis on the issue of separation. While the PQ placed it on the back burner and have avoided the issue, the Liberal party have placed it on the forefront.

Martin Westmacott, an associate professor of political science, agreed. There is no simple answer to the whether or not this upcoming election is about separation, he said. "Outside Quebec the main issue is whether or not another referendum will result if the PQ wins the election. Whereas within Quebec, the main issue for Allophones and [Anglophones] is the separation of Quebec and the Francophones look at it as just a provincial election."

Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard is concerned with issues currently affecting Quebec, such as the economic problems of the past few months and the closing of hospitals, Lapp explained.

While Lapp said she believes Quebec's relations with Ontario will be unchanged if Bouchard wins the election, she said Ontario could enjoy closer relations with Quebec if Liberal leader Jean Charest were to win.

She said she predicts the PQ will win by a majority because the Liberals were ousted in the 1994 election because Quebec citizens grew tired of them. Quebec citizens have not tired of the PQ, so for that reason they will win the election, she explained.

Westmacott also predicts the PQ will win the election with a majority, since 70 per cent of the ridings are currently dominated by Francophones.

Shrutti Owerie, a forth-year political science student from Quebec, said the election rides in the hands of the Francophone federalists because right now they represent the undecided vote, as is usually the case.

Still, Owerie too believes the PQ will win a second term. "I do believe sadly that the PQ will win by a very very small margin."

She said Francophones who are voting for the PQ are placed in a difficult situation. Francophones believe they will only be heard in Ottawa if they are represented by the PQ, but very few Quebecers want another referendum, she added.

Quebec goes to the polls Nov. 30.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998