Montreal·Ballot Brief

The mass(e) appeal of Manon

Once a perpetual runner-up, Manon Massé is making big waves this election.

Once a perpetual runner-up, Manon Massé is making big waves this election

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Welcome to the Weekender edition of Ballot Brief!

It's been another crazy week on the campaign trail: two debates, a lot of announcements, a few gaffes and some revelations.

Don't worry if you've tuned it all out a bit. We've done the hard work for you.

This weekend, we bring you a deeper look at the buzz around Manon Massé. Once a perpetual runner-up, Massé is making big waves this election. If you're not sure what all the fuss is about, read on.


The Breakout

By Kamila Hinkson, @kamilahinkson

The Québec Solidaire campaign slogan, in French, is Populaires. It's a double entendre, meaning "of the people," but also popular.

Isn't it apropos then, that the party's co-spokesperson is as popular as ever these days?

She ran for office unsuccessfully four times before winning, always in the same eastern downtown riding of Sainte-Marie–Saint-Jacques.

The former community organizer became co-spokesperson of the party in 2017. Now, she is everywhere.

Just over 40 per cent of people who responded to a recent Léger poll (commissioned by LCN) said they have "total or enough" confidence in Massé.

(Melinda Dalton/CBC)

Politics can be a high-stakes game, but Massé doesn't play games — and QS is highlighting that, says Louis Aucoin, a communications strategist at Tesla PR.

Even in its marketing campaign, the party is pushing Massé's personality in its appeal to woo voters.

When she speaks, you can tell she has thought it through, Aucoin said. And her convictions are drawn from her experiences — she believes in what she says.

Of course, it's easier to be authentic when you don't have much to lose, and while Québec Solidaire is poised to win its first-ever seat off the island of Montreal, no one is expecting the party to sweep the province.

But Massé comes across as someone who isn't in politics for the power, Aucoin said. She wants to change the world.

"What sticks with part of the electorate is that she seems dedicated to common good," he said.

(Sylvain Roy-Roussel/Radio-Canada)

Change is the buzzword in this election, and some have raised the question of whether Québec Solidaire is benefiting from that thirst for change.

But Aucoin doesn't think so — he thinks it's all Manon. He believes that even if people don't vote for QS, they respect her.

"Manon Massé isn't playing a role. Her role is Manon Massé, so it's an easy role to play."

ICYMI

  • Did you catch the debate on Monday? It was the first televised English-language debate in Quebec EVER. That's a big deal. If you missed it, don't despair — you can watch it online (or read the recap).
    Click me to watch the debate!
  • Journalists from the six media organizations that helped bring you the historic English debate fact-checked a bunch of things the party leaders said. Here's what they found out. Read more
  • The election is about a week away, but you can cast your ballot until Thursday during advance polling. We've prepared a handy guide to help you figure out if, when, and where you can vote. Read more

The Mic

The push for electoral reform — specifically a move to some form of proportional representation — has gained momentum both federally and in many provinces. Can you please explain the parties' positions on electoral reform in Quebec? -Jeremy in Montreal

The Parti Québécois, Québec Solidaire and CAQ all want to replace the first-past-the-post electoral system with a version of a mixed member proportional system. That means while you would still elect a local MNA, a share of seats in the National Assembly would also be reserved for the popular vote — ensuring smaller parties get a shot at representation in Quebec City.

(Radio-Canada)

Each party would do it a little differently and on a different timeline, but they all agree that they want change. In fact, the opposition parties and the Green Party of Quebec banded together earlier this year to ask for the system to be overhauled.

The Liberals are the only party that doesn't want anything to change. They say Quebec's less-populated regions would lose their voice in at the legislature in a proportional system, and that any bill to change the system would need unanimous support in the National Assembly.


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Bon weekend!

-Melinda Dalton, social media editor

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