- Populism, the fever of the moment
Heard to the left : “Popular, it is a return to the essential. It is for this reason that Québec solidaire has been created to give a voice to the people “, said Manon Massé, a spokesman of the education policy during the election campaign.
Heard it right : “When you compare to other [parties], we are by far [the one] who has the platform the most connected on the concerns of the real world “, has dropped Genevieve Guilbault, vice-premier of Québec, during the election campaign for the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ), during a meeting covered by The Scout Progress of Beauce.
The “moment of populism” that saw the western world today, showing and opening the same doors of power to the populist parties does not spare Quebec. But the resonance here would be in the end less strong, more soft than elsewhere in the world, consider a number of observers of social and political mutations. Because of the full employment and the social safety net ? Yes, but not only.
It is the unemployment rate in Québec in 2018, for the first time less than the canadian average, according to the Quebec Institute.
Populism feeds “feelings of injustice, fear of being downgraded or to be despised,” but also feeds those feelings, by his discourse, remarked Chantal Benoit-Barne, an expert in political rhetoric at the Department of communication at the University of Montreal. Feelings that are anchored at the end of the last century in the foundations of globalization, and that are accentuated with the economic crisis of 2008 and its consequences on a fringe silent of the company.
After having suffered the consequences of these mutations, unemployment or exclusion, this “people” manhandled decided to make more and more audible.
“We have probably suffered less than others,” admits Catherine Hand, who teaches at the School of applied politics at the University of Sherbrooke, to explain the distance between Québec and populism. “There is in Quebec a bunch of social measures that have a real impact, and an economic context that may leave a few in the margin, certainly, but in a smaller proportion.
Politicians are not necessarily so far apart that the reality of the citizens
— Catherine Side
This week, in its annual report on employment, the Institute of Quebec has indicated that by 2018, the unemployment rate in Quebec was for the first time less than the canadian average, to 3.2 % from 3.3 %. And this, after three years of creation of jobs — mostly full time — in a row between 2015 and 2017.
Canadian-born and immigrants
Better, the gap between unemployment among natives and immigrants decreases, in a province where ” annual growth in the number of job vacancies was the highest since a year “, one can read in his report.
“Québec inc. was not able to fully land the quebec model [the design of a society of social-democrat who combat inequality and reduce the disparities between the richest and the poorest], “sums up Ricardo Peñafiel, a professor in the Department of political science, UQAM, recalling to the passage that” populism is a symptom of a crisis of democracy, rather than the cause “, and that this democracy is without doubt not so much to complain about here compared to other places in the world.
“In our democracy of consensus, we have preserved democratic institutions that allow the opponents to express themselves, which allow unions to talk and have a horizontal dimension greater “, a horizontal face to which ” the populism of reversal “, in which the word has been released elsewhere, is struggling to find its taken to climb up here.
The elite disconnected from a “people of truth” who would be scorned by the power : this duality that gives fuel to the emergence of populism in French, Italian, american, brazilian… would also be less palpable to a separate company, as is Quebec, where ” politicians are not necessarily so far apart that the reality of the citizens,” said Catherine Side. There is a certain opening of the elites who, like the rest of society, have a better listening to “common sense, the importance of valuing the knowledge of the vernacular, the common sense, the experiences of citizens, the local,” adds Chantal Benoit-Barne.
She believes that these components of speech induce less tension here, since they give the impression of being “less despised” and “better represented” in the words and actions of the elites.
A populism soft
All of this put together, “we are in the face of populism soft in Quebec,” remarked Ricardo Peñafiel, a populism that does not call into question the institutions, but which calls for a restructuring of the institutions that have served us well in the past.”
“To the left, we have Québec solidaire, which shows less manichean in his populism, saying that it was the best option and that he will do everything to convince the people to follow him, in the respect for the institutions “, he adds. An attitude that is a populism teacher, but who remains dangerous, points out Catherine Side, since too much education and pedagogy, may end up looking like disdain for a people who could then be rebiffer. In theory.
It is that the call to the transformation of the institutions, by the populism of the right or the left, could well end up losing momentum in Quebec with the arrival in the halls of power of the generation Y, millénariaux, these 15-37 years “, which are more politicized, who are suspicious of existing institutions and who will be looking for them also to change “, continues the university.
This generation is going to bring “new representations” policies that could respond to those that the people outraged would like to see appear today to better imagine tomorrow.
“And if one feels well represented, the populism, then, we no longer need,” she concludes.
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