Transcript: The Return of the Bloc Québécois | Oct 31, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit, checkered shirt, and purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "The return of the Bloc Québécois. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says THE BLOC QUEBECOIS
JUMPED FROM 10 TO 32 SEATS IN
LAST WEEK'S FEDERAL ELECTION.
THAT'S SIGNIFICANT IN PRACTICAL
TERMS BECAUSE IT MEANS THE
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
NOT
HAVING
PARTY STATUS, AND HAVING IT,
WITH ALL THE RESOURCES AND
PRIVILEGES THAT GO WITH THAT.
BUT WHAT IT ALSO MEANS IN
POLITICAL TERMS IS FAR MORE
CONSEQUENTIAL.
WITH US TO HELP EXPLAIN WHY,
FROM OUR STUDIO AT QUEEN'S
UNIVERSITY IN KINGSTON:
STÉPHANIE CHOUINARD, SHE IS
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN THE
DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
AT THE ROYAL MILITARY COLLEGE
AND QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY.

Stéphanie is in her thirties, with long straight blond hair. She's wearing a black blazer, blue blouse, and a thin golden necklace. A banner behind her reads "Queen's University."

Steve continues AND HERE IN OUR STUDIO:
EMILY LAXER, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
OF SOCIOLOGY AT YORK
UNIVERSITY'S GLENDON COLLEGE,
AND THE AUTHOR OF "UNVEILING THE
NATION: THE POLITICS OF
SECULARISM IN FRANCE AND QUEBEC."

Emily is in her late thirties, with long wavy auburn hair and bangs. She's wearing a green blazer and a white blouse.

Steve continues WE ARE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME
STÉPHANIE, YOU BACK TO OUR
PROGRAM, AND EMILY, YOU HERE FOR
THE FIRST TIME.
LET ME JUST SAY OFF THE TOP,
SOME PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN IN
ONTARIO FOR A LONG TIME MAY
RECOGNIZE YOUR LAST NAME.
JAMES LAXER WAS YOUR DAD.
HE DID THE REAL STORY.
WE ARE DELIGHTED TO HAVE YOU
HERE FOR THE FIRST TIME AND WE
REMEMBER HIM FONDLY.
SHELDON, SHALL WE BRING THESE
GRAPHICS UP?
A LITTLE QUICK HISTORY HERE.

A picture appears of Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet standing smiling behind a lectern that reads "Le Québec, c'est nous."

A slate appears on screen, with the title "The Bloc's status. Elections timeline."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
THE BLOC IS NOW THE THIRD PLACE
PARTY IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
ONCE IT CONVENES.
THEY KNOCKED THE NDP INTO FOURTH
PLACE.
LET'S DO A QUICK RECAP OF THE
BLOC'S HISTORY.
THEY STARTED IN 1993 AND IN THAT
FIRST ELECTION UNDER LUCIEN
BOUCHARD'S LEADERSHIP, THEY WENT
RIGHT TO OFFICIAL OPPOSITION.
THEY WERE THE THIRD PARTY IN THE
HOUSE UNDER GILLES DUCEPPE.
IN 2011 AND 2015, TOUGH TIMES.
NO OFFICIAL PARTY STATUS.
ONLY FOUR SEATS IN 2011, TEN
SEATS IN 2015.
BUT HERE THEY ARE, 2019, THEY
ARE BACK IN THIRD PLACE, AND
LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THE MAP OF
THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC AND JUST
SEE HOW THE SEATS ALL UNFOLDED.

Another slate appears showing the 2019 election results in Quebec. While most of the province is painted blue, the results show the Liberals achieved 34 seats, the Bloc 32, the Conservatives 10 and the NDP 1.

Steve continues
THIS DOESN'T GIVE YOU QUITE AN
ACCURATE INDICATION BECAUSE THE
BLOC HAS SO MANY OF THE SEATS IN
MORE RURAL PARTS OF THE PROVINCE
WHERE THE RIDINGS ARE SO MUCH
BIGGER BUT YOU CAN SEE, AND I'LL
DESCRIBE IT FOR THOSE LISTENING
ON PODCAST, THE BLOC OBVIOUSLY
HAS A SIGNIFICANT CHUNK OF THE
SEATS.
THE LIBERALS ARE STILL THE MOST
POPULAR PARTY IN QUEBEC.
LET'S JUST TAKE A CLOSER LOOK
AROUND THE ISLAND OF MONTREAL...

A slate shows the results in Montreal and Laval, where the Liberal party is predominant, surrounded by areas controlled by the Bloc.

Steve continues AND YOU SEE THAT ONE RIGHT IN
THE MIDDLE, THAT ONE LITTLE
ORANGE SEAT.
BOY, DOWN FROM 59 TWO ELECTIONS
GO.
MONTREAL WAS STILL RED BUT THEN
OF COURSE A LOT OF BLOC SUPPORT
ALL AROUND THAT.
STÉPHANIE, START US OFF HERE.
WE WANT TO KNOW, THE BLOC HAS
BEEN AROUND FOR 26 YEARS NOW.
WHAT DOES IT STAND FOR TODAY
THAT MAYBE IT DIDN'T STAND FOR
WHEN IT FIRST STARTED OFF?

The caption changes to "Stéphanie Chouinard. Queen's University."
Then, it changes again to "Like a phoenix rising from the ashes."

Stéphanie says WELL, IN 1993, WHEN THE PARTY WAS CREATED, IN FACT THEY WERE ONLY
HOPING TO BE THERE FOR ONE...
AFTER ONE ELECTION, SO WHEN
LUCIEN BOUCHARD CREATED THE
BLOC IN 1993, HE ONLY WANTED
ONE TERM BECAUSE HE FULLY
EXPECTED THAT THE 1995
REFERENDUM WOULD GO THROUGH.
SO, BY THE TIME THE NEXT
FEDERAL ELECTION WOULD COME
AROUND, QUEBEC WOULD NOT BE PART
OF THAT ELECTION ANYMORE.
SO IN 1993, IT WAS A MUCH MORE
SEPARATIST MOVEMENT THAN IT IS
TODAY.
IF WE COMPARE WITH THE RHETORIC
OF THE LEADER NOW, MR. BLANCHET,
HE BARELY SPOKE ABOUT SECESSION
OR SEPARATISM AT ALL DURING THIS
ELECTION.
HE'S MUCH MORE ATTUNED TO A
NATIONALIST TONE, BUT
NEVERTHELESS WANTS TO
COLLABORATE WITH CANADA.
THE END GAME FOR THE BLOC
QUEBECOIS STILL IS SECESSION.
HOWEVER, THEY'RE QUITE AWARE
THAT THIS IS PROBABLY NOT GOING
TO HAPPEN IN THE SHORT TERM, AND
SO IN THE MEANWHILE, THEY STAND
FOR QUEBEC INTERESTS BUT ARE
WILLING TO COLLABORATE.

Steve says SO THEY ARE LESS,
EMILY, OF A SEPARATIST PARTY
TODAY THAN THEY USED TO BE, BUT
WHERE ON THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM
WOULD YOU PUT THEM?

The caption changes to "Emily Laxer. York University."

Emily says I THINK THE
BLOC QUEBECOIS HAS SHIFTED
SOMEWHAT IN ITS IDEOLOGICAL
COMPOSITION.
IT HAS MOVED SOMEWHERE RIGHTWARD
SINCE THE 15-YEAR TENURE OF
GILLES DUCEPPE.
IT HAS BECOME A PARTY THAT IS
RELATIVELY BUSINESS-ORIENTED,
THAT IS COMMITTED PARTICULARLY
UNDER YVES-FRANCOIS BLANCHET TO
GAINING QUEBEC THE BEST POSSIBLE
DEAL WITHIN THE CANADIAN
FEDERATION, BUT IT ALSO IS
PROGRESSIVE ON THE ENVIRONMENT,
IT IS ANTI-PIPELINE, IT CARES
ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, AND I
THINK WE'RE GOING TO SEE THAT
BECOME A SIGNIFICANT ISSUE UNDER
THE LIBERAL OF BLANCHET IN THIS
MINORITY GOVERNMENT.

Steve says WHY DO YOU THINK
THEY'RE DOWN PLAYING THE ISSUE
OF SECESSION OR SOVEREIGNTY OR
WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT?

The caption changes to "Emily Laxer. Author, 'Unveiling the nation.'"

Emily says CLEARLY FOR STRATEGIC REASONS.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT POLLS, THE
QUEBECOIS ARE LESS INTERESTED IN
SEPARATION FROM CANADA.
A MAJORITY BELIEVE THIS IS AN
ISSUE THAT IS BEHIND THEM.
YOUNG VOTERS IN PARTICULAR,
THOSE AGED 18 TO 25, SUPPORT FOR
SOVEREIGNTY IS UNDER 20 percent.
SO THIS IS NO LONGER AS MUCH OF
A MOBILIZING ISSUE AS IT ONCE
WAS, AND I THINK THAT THE BLOC
QUEBECOIS OVER THE LAST SEVERAL
YEARS HAS BEEN DOING SOME SOUL
SEARCHING TO THINK ABOUT HOW IT
IS GOING TO REFRAME ITS MESSAGE
AS A NATIONALIST ONE RATHER THAN
AN EXPLICITLY SOVEREIGNTIST ONE.

Steve says STÉPHANIE, CAN YOU
TELL US, YOU KNOW, THIS IS A
PARTY THAT ONLY CAMPAIGNS
OBVIOUSLY AND ONLY RUNS FOR
SEATS IN THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC
SO THE REST OF THE COUNTRY MAY
NOT KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT
YVES-FRANCOIS BLANCHET AS THEY
CLEARLY DO IN QUEBEC.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT HIM.
WHAT'S HIS BACKGROUND?

The caption changes to "Stéphanie Chouinard. Royal Military College. @DrSChouinard."

Stéphanie says MR. BLANCHET IS ACTUALLY A QUITE INTERESTING CHARACTER.
FOR MANY, MANY YEARS HE WAS PART
OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.
AND SO FOR SOME PEOPLE WHO MIGHT
KNOW OF LAPOINTE, A SINGER IN
QUEBEC, HE USED TO BE HIS AGENT
FOR MANY YEARS.
AND SO ABOUT A DECADE AGO, HE
DECIDED TO GET INTO POLITICS,
AND HE WAS ELECTED UNDER THE
GOVERNMENT OF PAULINE MAROIS IN
THE EARLY 2010s AND HE WAS THE
MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT AT THE
TIME.
IT'S ACTUALLY QUITE INTERESTING
TO COMPARE HIS POSITIONS, WHEN
HE WAS PROVINCIAL MINISTER OF
ENVIRONMENT, TO HIS POSITIONS ON
ENVIRONMENT AS BLOC LEADER.
HIS RHETORIC REGARDING PIPELINES
AND PETROLEUM EXPLOITATION, FOR
EXAMPLE, HAS CHANGED QUITE A
BIT.
HE'S A LITTLE BIT LESS
PRO-PIPELINE THAN HE WAS AT THE
TIME.

Steve says EMILY, CAN YOU TELL
US, THE TWO LEGENDARY BLOC
LEADERS, LUCIEN BOUCHARD AND
GILLES DUCEPPE, CAN YOU TELL US
HOW BLANCHET COMPARES EITHER IN
DEMEANOUR OR TONE OR LEADERSHIP STYLE?

A black and white picture appears of Bouchard, clean-shaven, with short dark hair and Duceppe, clean-shaven, with short gray hair, holding hands victoriously.

The caption changes to "Emily Laxer, @emily_laxer."

Emily says HE COMBINES A LOT OF
QUALITIES THAT EXPLAINS WHY HE'S
POPULAR MANY QUEBECERS.
HE'S BUSINESS SAVVY, NO NONSENSE
GUY.
HE HAS A PRAGMATIC APPROACH TO
EXPRESSING THE NATIONALIST TONE
IN QUEBEC TODAY, SOMETHING THAT
APPEALS TO QUEBEC VOTERS AND I
THINK HE, IN THAT SENSE, ALIGNS
QUITE CLOSELY WITH THE CURRENT
COALITION AVENIR QUEBEC
GOVERNMENT, WHICH IS ALSO A KIND
OF BUSINESS-MINDED PROVINCIAL
PARTY AND I THINK HE ALIGNS
QUITE CLOSELY WITH THAT VISION.
BUT HE HAS A PERSONAL STYLE
THAT'S QUITE APPEALING.
I THINK HE WAS ABLE TO RISE
ABOVE THE FRAY TO SOME EXTENT,
PARTICULARLY IN THE FRENCH
LANGUAGE DEBATE, AND SPEAK ON
BEHALF OF THE INTERESTS OF QUEBECERS.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says WE SHOULD SPEND A
BIT OF TIME HERE TALKING ABOUT
BILL 21, WHICH OF COURSE IS THE
BILL THAT PREVENTS RELIGIOUS
SYMBOLS FOR THOSE WHO WORK IN
THE PUBLIC SERVICE, PREVENTS
PEOPLE FROM WEARING THEM.
YOU KNOW, IF THERE EVER WERE AN
EXAMPLE OF HOW QUEBEC IS A
DISTINCT SOCIETY COMPARED TO THE
REST OF CANADA, THAT ISSUE DOES
EXPLAIN IT, BECAUSE THE MAJORITY
IN QUEBEC CLEARLY SEES THAT
ISSUE DIFFERENTLY FROM PEOPLE IN
THE REST OF CANADA DO.
ANY SENSE, EMILY, HOW THAT ISSUE
HELPED OR DIDN'T OR PROPELLED
THE BQ CAMPAIGN ALONG THROUGHOUT
THE WRIT PERIOD?

The caption changes to "A new kind of nationalism."

Emily says I ABSOLUTELY
DO THINK IT HELPED.
PARTWAY THROUGH THE CAMPAIGN IN
EARLY OCTOBER, PREMIER FRANCOIS
LEGAULT DISTINCTLY DEMANDED THAT
THE FOUR MAJOR PARTY LEADERS IN
THE REST OF THE COUNTRY TAKE AN
EXPLICIT POSITION ON WHETHER
THEY WOULD INTERVENE USING THE
FEDERAL LEVERS OF POWER TO
CHALLENGE BILL 21.
THIS IS A BILL THAT IS MASSIVELY
POPULAR AMONG THE QUEBECOIS,
PARTICULARLY FRANCOPHONES, IT IS
MASSIVELY POPULAR AMONG BQ
VOTERS.
AND IN EXPRESSING, IN BRINGING
THAT ISSUE TO THE FOREFRONT
PARTWAY THROUGH THE ELECTION,
FRANCOIS LEGAULT LURED, AND WITH
THE HELP OF BLANCHET, OF COURSE,
LURED THE OTHER FEDERAL LEADERS
INTO HAVING A CONVERSATION ABOUT
QUEBEC'S AUTONOMY WITHIN THE
CANADIAN FEDERATION, WHICH AS WE
KNOW IS A VERY MOBILIZING
STORYLINE FOR NATIONALISM IN
PARTICULAR IN QUEBEC.

Steve says STÉPHANIE, I WANT
YOU TO HELP US UNDERSTAND WHY
BILL 21, WHICH IN THE REST OF
CANADA, VERY MANY PEOPLE SEE AS
OUT AND OUT RACIST, IS SOMEHOW
SEEN DIFFERENTLY INSIDE THE
PROVINCE OF QUEBEC?
HELP US UNDERSTAND THAT.

Stéphanie says THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF
ELECTORATES THAT A BILL LIKE
BILL 21 CAN APPEAL TO IN QUEBEC,
AND ONE OF THOSE ELECTORATES IS
MAYBE A LITTLE BIT MORE
NATIONALISTIC AND RURAL AND SEES
THE QUEBECOIS IDENTITY AS
SOMETHING TO BE PROTECTED.
AND SO THE WAVES OF IMMIGRATION
THAT ARRIVE IN QUEBEC CAN BE
SEEN AS SOMETHING THAT PERHAPS A
LITTLE BIT MORE PROBLEMATIC.
HOWEVER, THERE IS ANOTHER
ELECTORATE IN QUEBEC WHO SEES
THE PRINCIPLE OF...
[Speaking in French]
BEING AT THE CENTRE OF BILL 21.
EMPTY CAN PROBABLY EXPLAIN IT A
LITTLE BIT BETTER THAN I CAN
BECAUSE IT DOESN'T TRANSLATE
VERY WELL IN ENGLISH, IT DOESN'T
TRANSLATE TO WHAT WE CALL IN
ENGLISH SECULARISM.
THIS IS MORE OF A REPUBLICAN
ELECTORATE THAT HAS IN MIND THE
HISTORY OF...
[Speaking in French]
IS VERY MUCH ATTUNED THAT IT HAD
TO BE EXPELLED FROM THE PUBLIC
REALM.
WITH THE ROLE OF THE CATHOLIC
CHURCH IN THE HISTORY OF QUEBEC,
ANY TYPE OF RELIGIOUS
REPRESENTATION IN THE REALM OF
THE STATE IS SEEN AS SOMETHING
TO ADDRESS AND SO THIS OTHER
KIND OF ELECTORATE DOESN'T SEE
ANY ISSUE WITH IMMIGRATION.
IT'S REALLY ABOUT HOW THE STATE
REPRESENTS THE PEOPLE.

Steve says YOU WANT TO PICK UP ON
[Speaking in French]
AND WHY IT'S A GOOD THING IN
QUEBEC AND WHY THE REST OF THE
COUNTRY DOESN'T SEEM TO GET IT?

Emily says AS STÉPHANIE
POINTS OUT, THIS TIES INTO
QUEBEC'S UNIQUE HISTORY IN TERMS
OF THE CONTROVERSIAL BUT THE
VERY CLOSELY REMEMBERED ROLE OF
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN QUEBEC
society, WHICH SORT OF GOVERNED
OVER MANY AFFAIRS WITHIN THE
PROVINCE UNTIL THE QUIET
REVOLUTION, WHICH MANY FEMINISTS
IN QUEBEC REMEMBER AS A DARK
TIME, AS A TIME WHEN RELIGIOUS
AUTHORITIES WERE IMPINGING UPON
WOMEN'S RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS,
THAT'S WHY YOU SEE BILL 21,
USING THIS NOTION OF
[Speaking in French]
WHICH STÉPHANIE POINTS OUT IS
NOT EXACTLY THE SAME THING AS
SECULARISM, IT REPRESENTS THE
NEUTRALITY OF THE STATE, IS WHAT
IT MEANS.
BUT IT'S CERTAINLY TRUE THAT IN
PASSING THIS TYPE OF
LEGISLATION, I THINK THAT THE PQ
AND WITH... SORRY, THE CAQ AND
WITH THE HELP OF THE BLOC
QUEBECOIS IS SORT OF
RESUSCITATING A CERTAIN
NATIONALIST INSTINCT IN QUEBEC
AND CHANNELING THAT THROUGH
RAISING THESE QUESTIONS AND I
THINK THROUGH EXPLOITING AND
FUELING A KIND OF FEAR THAT THE
MAJORITY FRANCOPHONE CULTURE MAY
BE DILUTED BY THE INFLUX OF
IMMIGRANTS FROM DIFFERENT PARTS
OF THE WORLD WHO HAVE DIFFERENT
RELIGIOUS CONVICTIONS.

Steve says WE ARE OF COURSE IN
THE REST OF CANADA, WHERE
MULTICULTURALISM IS THE THING,
BUT I GATHER INTERCULTURALISM IS
WHAT THEY TALK ABOUT IN QUEBEC.
EXPLAIN THAT.

Emily says RIGHT.
SO MULTICULTURALISM IS SORT OF A
BOGEYMAN FOR A LOT OF
NATIONALIST POLITICIANS,
INTELLECTUALS, POLICYMAKERS IN
QUEBEC.
IT KIND OF REPRESENTS THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S ATTEMPT TO
DILUTE QUEBEC'S CLAIM TO BEING A
DISTINCT SOCIETY BY PLACING ALL
SOURCES OF DIFFERENCE, ALL
MINORITIES ON AN EQUAL PLANE.
AND SO FOR MANY NATIONALISTS IN
QUEBEC, IT'S PART AND PARCEL OF
A FEDERALIST PROJECT THAT SEEKS
TO DIMINISH QUEBEC'S STATUS
WITHIN THE FEDERATION.
IN RESPONSE, MANY INTELLECTUALS
AND POLICYMAKERS HAVE
PROPOSED... IT IS NOT OFFICIAL
POLICY BUT IT APPEARS IN SOME
POLICY DOCUMENTS... HAVE
PROPOSED THIS DISCOURSE OF
INTERCULTURALISM WHICH
CELEBRATES DIVERSITY BUT DOES SO
ALONGSIDE THE EXPLICIT PROMOTION
OF A CORE KIND OF COMMON
FRENCH-SPEAKING PUBLIC CULTURE.
SO IT'S QUITE DIFFERENT FROM
MULTICULTURALISM IN THAT SENSE.

Steve says GOT IT.
STÉPHANIE, LET'S FOLLOW UP ON
THIS.
WE REMEMBER DURING THE ENGLISH
LANGUAGE LEADERS DEBATE THE
LEADERS WERE TRIPPING OVER EACH
OTHER TO ENSURE THEY WOULD NOT
USE THE POWER OF THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT TO INTERVENE AS THIS
CASE AGAINST BILL 21 WINDS ITS
WAY THROUGH THE COURT SYSTEM,
JUSTIN TRUDEAU WAS I GUESS THE
ONLY LEADER WHO SORT OF SAID, I
WANT TO RESERVE FOR MYSELF THE
RIGHT TO POSSIBLY POTENTIALLY
MAYBE INTERVENE SOMEWHERE DOWN
THE ROAD IF AND... ANYWAY, IT
GOT A BIT CONVOLUTED.
CAN YOU SORT OF HELP US TRACE
THE PATH OF BILL 21 THROUGH THE
COURTS AND WHERE YOU SEE IT
GOING, IF IT GOES ONE WAY AND
WHERE YOU SEE IT GOING IF IT
GOES ANOTHER WAY?

Stéphanie says I
THINK NO MATTER WHICH WAY IT'S
GOING, THE WAY IT'S GOING IS
TOWARDS THE SUPREME COURT, QUITE
HONESTLY.
I BELIEVE WHETHER IT IS MEMBERS
OF CIVIL SOCIETY WHO ARE
CHALLENGING THIS BILL OR THE
QUEBEC GOVERNMENT WHO MIGHT WANT
TO APPEAL TO WHATEVER FIRST
DECISION COMES OUT, IT'S GOING
TO MAKE ITS WAY TO THE SUPREME
COURT.
THIS IS SOMETHING THAT, NO
MATTER WHETHER THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT DECIDES TO INTERVENE,
WE WILL PROBABLY SEE A CLEAR
ANSWER FROM THE SUPREME COURT AT
SOME POINT OR ANOTHER IN A
COUPLE OF YEARS.

Steve says IS THERE ANY
QUESTION IN YOUR MIND BUT THAT
IF THE SUPREME COURT DECIDES
THAT THIS LAW IS
UNCONSTITUTIONAL, THE GOVERNMENT
OF QUEBEC WILL SIMPLY USE ITS
POWERS IN THE NOTWITHSTANDING
CLAUSE TO SET ASIDE THE COURT
DECISION AND IT WILL STILL BE
THE LAW ANYWAY?

Stéphanie says THAT'S
A POSSIBILITY THAT HAS BEEN
MENTIONED BY MONSIEUR LEGAULT.
HOWEVER, WHAT THE SUPREME COURT
WILL PROBABLY DO IF IT GETS TO
THAT POINT AND WHAT IT HAS
TENDED TO DO WITH CASES SUCH AS
THIS ONE THAT PERTAIN TO QUEBEC
LIBERTIES AND FREEDOMS, IS THAT
IT WILL INVOKE THE QUEBEC CHART
OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS RATHER
THAN THE CANADIAN ONE, WHICH IN
A LOT OF RESPECTS IS VERY
SIMILAR IN TEXT, BUT OBVIOUSLY
IF YOU USE A QUEBEC LAW RATHER
THAN A CANADIAN ONE, ESPECIALLY
FOR MORE NATIONALIST AUDIENCE,
WILL BEAR A DIFFERENT SYMBOLIC.
SO THAT'S WHAT I'M EXPECTING
WILL COME OUT OF THIS.

Steve says INTERESTING.
EMILY, WHAT'S YOUR VIEW ON
WHETHER OR NOT THEY USE THE
NOTWITHSTANDING CLAUSE TO SET
ASIDE A POTENTIAL SUPREME COURT
DECISION AGAINST BILL 21?

Emily says I THINK
THEY'VE ALREADY STATED QUITE
CLEARLY THAT THIS IS WHAT THEY
INTEND TO DO.
WHETHER OR NOT THIS ACTUALLY
GOES IN THAT DIRECTION IN TERMS
OF ITS LEGAL TRAJECTORY, I THINK
THAT THE USE OF THAT CLAUSE HAS
HUGE SYMBOLIC RESONANCE.
IT SORT OF INDICATES... IT IS A
REPRESENTATION OF THE FACT THAT
THE QUEBEC GOVERNMENT, UNDER THE
CAQ, IS STANDING FIRM AND
SAYING, WE REFUSE TO ALLOW THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO PREVENT US
FROM ADVANCE ADVANCING OUR OWN
INTERESTS IN THIS AREA.

Steve says STÉPHANIE, LET ME
GET YOU IN ON THIS ONE HERE.
WE HAD A POLLSTER NAMED ERIN
KELLY FROM ADVANCED SYMBOLICS
THROUGHOUT THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN
AND SHE WAS SURVEYING MORE THAN
275,000 PEOPLE THROUGH
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE,
ALGORITHMS AND SO ON IN DOING
HER POLLING, AND SHE CONCLUDED,
BASED ON WHAT SHE WAS PICKING UP
IN HER SURVEYING, THAT NOT BILL
21 BUT RATHER THE PIPELINE, THE
POTENTIAL OF BUILDING A PIPELINE
TO QUEBEC, THAT WAS ONE OF THE
BIG ISSUES THAT HELPED THE BLOC
QUEBECOIS.
CAN YOU GET TO SORT OF THE
FOUNDATION OF WHAT THAT ISSUE IS
ALL ABOUT AND TELL US WHY IT
WOULD HAVE BEEN SO REST NATURE
IN THE PROVINCE?

Stéphanie says SURE.
SO THE IDEA OF THE ENERGY EAST
PIPELINE MAKING ITS WAY ALL THE
WAY TO SAGUENAY IS AN ISSUE THAT
IS QUITE DIVISIVE IN THE
COUNTRY, AND QUEBECERS ARE
OVERWHELMINGLY AGAINST THIS
IDEA.
I THINK SINCE THE LAC-MEGANTIC
TRAGEDY IN QUEBEC, THE IDEA OF
TRANSPORTING OIL THROUGH QUEBEC
IS NOT GAINING A WHOLE LOT OF
TRACTION.
IT'S SEEN AS SOMETHING THAT'S
QUITE DANGEROUS, AND THE QUEBEC
ELECTORATE, AS MOST EASTERN
CANADIANS ARE BECOMING MORE AND
MORE WARY OF ENVIRONMENTAL
OUTCOMES, AND SO THIS IDEA OF A
PIPELINE HAS JUST NOT PLAYED OUT
WELL, ESPECIALLY FOR THE
CONSERVATIVES, WHO WERE HAVING
THIS IDEA OF AN ENERGY CORRIDOR
THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.
AND SO WITH MR. BLANCHET, FOR
EXAMPLE, WHO AT ONE TIME WAS
ACTUALLY A PROPONENT OF SUCH
KIND OF AN IDEA, THIS PROPOSAL
HAS JUST GARNERED A LOT OF... A
LOT OF... I'M SORRY, I'M MISSING
THE WORD HERE.

Steve says OPPOSITION?

Stéphanie says YEAH,
A LOT OF ADVERSITY IN QUEBEC.

Steve says RIGHT, RIGHT.
NOW, DOES ANYBODY POINT OUT THE
FACT THAT BECAUSE THEY HAVE
HYDRO QUEBEC AND BECAUSE THEY
ARE ABLE TO GENERATE THEIR
ELECTRICITY, YOU KNOW, IN ABOUT
AS CLEAN A WAY AS YOU GET WITH
HYDROELECTRIC POWER, THAT THEY
CAN AFFORD TO BE VERY VIRTUOUS
ON PIPELINES?
I MEAN, THERE IS A BIT OF A...
IT'S A BIT CUTE BY HALF IN SOME
RESPECTS, ISN'T IT?

Stéphanie says CERTAINLY, QUEBEC HAS THE CHANCE
OF HAVING THIS HUGE
HYDROELECTRIC GRID WHICH ALLOWS
IT NOT ONLY TO SUPPLY ITSELF IN
TERMS OF ELECTRICITY BUT ALSO TO
SELL IT TO OTHER PROVINCES AND
ALSO TO THE UNITED STATES, AND
THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT
HYDROELECTRICITY DOESN'T HAVE
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS.
HOWEVER, ONCE THE DAMS ARE
BUILT, THAT IS SORT OF THE
IMPACT.
AT THE TIME WHERE
[indiscernible] WAS BUILT,
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS AND
INVESTMENTS FOR INDIGENOUS
PEOPLES, FOR EXAMPLE, WAS NOT
SOMETHING THAT WAS ON THE RADAR.
BUT NOW QUEBEC HAS THOSE DAMS
AND IT'S A HUGE SOURCE OF
REVENUE FOR THE STATE.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says MM-HMM.
EMILY, LET'S TRY THIS.
THE LIBERALS, OF COURSE, WERE
WIPED OUT IN SASKATCHEWAN AND
ALBERTA.
THEY'VE LOST ALL THEIR SEATS
THERE.
THEY ARE NOW ESSENTIALLY, YOU
KNOW, ALMOST EVEN WITH THE BLOC
IN THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC IN
TERMS OF SEAT REPRESENTATION.
WHERE DO YOU THINK THIS LEAVES
THE WHOLE DISCUSSION ABOUT
ENERGY AND PIPELINES AND SO ON
GIVEN THE OPPOSITION IN QUEBEC,
GIVEN THE LACK OF REPRESENTATION
IN THE WEST.
WHAT'S THE POOR FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT SUPPOSED TO DO NOW?

Emily says I DON'T ENVY THEM.
I THINK THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE A
REALLY DIFFICULT TIME
NAVIGATING.
THEY HAVE STRONG REGIONAL VOICES
BEING REPRESENTED BY DIFFERENT
PARTIES IN GOVERNMENT AND
THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO
NEGOTIATE WITH THEM.
I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE... IN
THE CASE OF BLANCHET, HE HAS
INDICATED HE'S WILLING TO
COOPERATE WITH THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT ON A KIND OF
CASE-BY-CASE BASIS.
I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE A KIND
OF QUID PRO QUO STYLE OF
COOPERATION THAT HE'S GOING TO
UNDERTAKE OR HE'S GOING TO AGREE
PIECES OF LEGISLATION IN
EXCHANGE TO THINGS OF INTEREST
TO QUEBEC, BUT HE'S GOING TO
FIGHT HARD ON THE PIPELINE AND
HE'S GOING TO PUSH THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT IN THE AREA OF THE
CARBON TAX, FOR EXAMPLE, TO GO
FARTHER, WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT
VOTERS IN ALBERTA, PARTICULARLY
CONSERVATIVES, ARE NOT GOING TO
APPRECIATE.

Steve says SO THAT'S INTERESTING.
OF COURSE, BLANCHET ALWAYS SAID
FROM THE BEGINNING, WE HAVE NO
INTEREST IN PARTICIPATING IN ANY
KIND OF COALITION WITH THE
GOVERNMENT.
WE'RE GOING TO BE ON THE
SIDELINES REPRESENTING QUEBEC'S
INTERESTS.
BECAUSE YOU CAN'T IMAGINE
CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THE BLOC
WOULD USE ITS SEATS TO SUPPORT
THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT UNDER
SOME CIRCUMSTANCES?

Emily says I THINK IT
REMAINS TO BE SEEN, BUT I DO
THINK THAT BLANCHET HAS A VERY
PRAGMATIC APPROACH TO WHAT HIS
ROLE IS GOING TO BE IN THIS
UPCOMING GOVERNMENT.
I DON'T THINK HE WANTS TO LOSE
HIS CAPACITY TO HAVE THAT VOICE.
SO WE'LL SEE WHAT HE DOES.
BUT IT'S GOING TO BE, AGAIN, A
KIND OF CASE-BY-CASE
RELATIONSHIP HE'S GOING TO
UNDERTAKE, NO KIND OF FORMAL
COALITION.
HE WOULD NOT CONSIDER THAT.
BUT SOME KIND OF QUID PRO QUO, I
CAN IMAGINE.

Steve says STÉPHANIE, IN OUR
LAST MINUTE HERE, CAN YOU LOOK
AHEAD TO WHEN THE HOUSE
EVENTUALLY CONVENES AND TELL US
HOW YOU SEE THE BLOC QUEBECOIS
PLAYING WHATEVER PARLIAMENTARY
ROLE THEY HAVE IN MIND?

Stéphanie says WELL,
WITH THE NDP SUPPORTING A LOT OF
WELFARE STATE MEASURES SUCH AS
UNIVERSAL PHARMACARE AND
MEASURES THAT SORT OF IMPINGE ON
PROVINCIAL JURISDICTION, I THINK
THE BLOC QUEBECOIS IS ACTUALLY
GOING TO ASK FOR... AND THIS IS
A CLASSIC QUEBEC LINE... ASK FOR
THE RIGHT OF EXIT WITH
COMPENSATION IF THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT DECIDES TO GO ON
SHARED COST PROGRAMS, NOTABLY IN
THE DOMAIN OF HEALTH CARE AND
CHILD CARE, FOR EXAMPLE.
SO THIS IS SOMETHING THAT I
FORESEE.
IN THE DOMAIN OF ENVIRONMENT, I
THINK THE NDP AND THE BLOC
QUEBECOIS ARE ACTUALLY GOING TO
BE WORKING TOGETHER TO PUSH THE
LIBERAL GOVERNMENT FURTHER, AND
THIS MIGHT BE TO THE DETRIMENT,
OF COURSE, OF THE INTERESTS OF
THE WEST.
SO THAT MIGHT BE... THAT MIGHT
BRING A MORE DIVISIVE RHETORIC
IN THE FEDERATION.
SO THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I'M
QUITE WORRIED ABOUT PERSONALLY.
BUT THE NDP AND THE BLOC ARE
ACTUALLY QUITE ALIGNED IN TERMS
OF ENVIRONMENTAL GOALS, AND
TOGETHER THEY HAVE THE POWER TO
GET THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT TO
MOVE FURTHER.

The caption changes to "Producer: Patricia Kozicka, @TrishKozicka."

Steve says THAT'S STÉPHANIE
CHOUINARD FROM QUEEN'S
UNIVERSITY AND RMC, AND EMILY
LAXER IS HERE IN OUR TORONTO
STUDIO FROM YORK UNIVERSITY AND
WE ARE DELIGHTED TO HAVE HAD THE
TWO OF YOU ON TVO TONIGHT.
THANKS SO MUCH. MERCI BEAUCOUP
ET A LA PROCHAINE.

Stéphanie says THANK YOU.

Watch: The Return of the Bloc Québécois