France and us: so close, so distant

France and Quebec are simultaneously experiencing a major upheaval in their political scene.

In France, the fundamental divide has always been that between left and right.

The historic party of the left was for a long time the Socialist Party. On the right, it was, under various names, the party that embodied the de Gaulle-Chirac-Sarkozy line.

Redial

Last Monday, the candidate of the Socialist Party obtained … 1.75%. That of the moderate classic right obtained … 4.8%.

The moderate right went to Macron, and the harder right went to Le Pen and Zemmour.

The moderate left also dispersed, part going to Macron, while the harder left went to Mélenchon.

In Quebec, the dominant divide was for a long time that between the federalists and the sovereignists.

As this cleavage is no longer dominant, the parties that embodied it are bound to struggle.

The PQ no longer has a single safe constituency.

The PLQ no longer even has the support of one in ten Francophones and survives only because of the support of ethnolinguistic minorities, a case possibly unique in the world.

Many pragmatic or resigned sovereignists have gone to the CAQ. Many moderate French-speaking federalists too.

But these two reshuffles of the cards, in France and in Quebec, also result from deeper factors.

Historically, the parties of the left were the parties of the working class. However, the working class is gradually disappearing, replaced by the accelerated robotization of industrial environments.

The left only remains the pole of attraction for intellectuals, trade unionists and part of the youth. That’s not a lot of people.

The left was also the historical standard-bearer of imperfectly but largely satisfied demands: equality between men and women, redistribution of wealth, softening of capitalism, etc.

Today, she is looking for fights, hence her headlong rush into delusions around racial and gender identities.

Part of the popular classes find this absurd and veer to the right.

In Quebec, similar and specific factors are at work. They mainly affect the sovereignist camp.

The two referendum failures demobilized two generations of activists who did not really pass the torch to the rising generation.

Quebecers enjoy an appreciable standard of living, which makes many voters timorous, and massive immigration seriously handicaps the sovereignist project.

Hazard

But there is a fundamental, properly existential difference between us and France.

In France, the ideological lines are more blurred than before, but the left-right divide remains.

In Quebec, if the sovereigntist-federalist divide were erased for good in favor of the political status quo, then the whole future of French Quebec would be compromised.

Canadian demography is ruthlessly quantified and programmed: if Quebec stays there, its only future is that of a big multicultural New Brunswick, in which the French-speaking people will become folkloric and powerless.

France is not in mortal danger. French Quebec, yes. A slow death.

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