QUEBEC – Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade concedes Quebecers, including English-speaking citizens, do not know her well.
QUEBEC – Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade concedes Quebecers, including English-speaking citizens, do not know her well.
A consequence of the long COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented the usual glad-handing politicians do to get closer to voters and party members, Anglade has only recently been able to up her political ground game.
In the last few weeks, as health measures gradually eased, Anglade has taken advantage of any extra time she has to roam the regions of Quebec, meeting Liberals and voters who she says never got a chance to see what makes her tick.
In the last seven weeks, her agenda reveals she has been to Mauricie, the Eastern Townships, Drummond—Bois-Francs and the Outaouais region in addition to visiting the South Shore riding of Marie-Victorin, where a byelection will be held April 11.
“Every time I meet people they say, ‘Oh we didn’t know who you were,’” Anglade said in a wide-ranging interview with the Montreal Gazette on Wednesday. “That’s why I need to go meet the people constantly, so they get to know me, learn what I stand for, what my values are, where I come from, what drives me.”
But these are difficult times for the Quebec Liberals and Anglade, the 48-year-old former cabinet minister who replaced Philippe Couillard as leader in May 2020. She is the first female leader in the 150-year history of the Liberals and its first leader from a visible minority.
The most recent dose of bad news for the party came on March 11 when it learned its support is not only stagnating across Quebec and with francophones, it has dropped in Greater Montreal and among non-francophone voters.
A Léger poll produced for the Journal de Montréal showed the Liberal share of the non-francophone vote in Quebec — a traditional bastion — had dropped by 13 percentage points between February and March.
According to pollster Jean-Marc Léger, it is the first time in the many years of his polling that the non-francophone vote for the Liberals slipped below 50 per cent. Support is now pegged at 46 per cent.
Léger said the Liberal attempt, under Anglade’s leadership, to position the party as more nationalistic in the current language debate, to counter the allure of the Coalition Avenir Québec, is probably to blame.
Instead of wooing francophone voters (the Liberals place dead last in that category), it drove away the non-francophones.
The same poll also appeared to confirm the Liberal attempt to woo more left, progressive voters with the adoption in November of Project ÉCO, its new pro-environment energy platform, was also a failure.
But it is the discontent among English-speaking Quebecers that apparently nobody in the party saw coming.
There are reports that Eastern Townships language rights activist Colin Standish is testing the waters about forming a new minority rights political party to compete with the Liberals and tap into the anglophone angst.
Sitting in her second-floor office at the legislature and with artwork by her children adorning the walls, Anglade said there will be many more polls before the Oct. 3 general election, so she is not panicking.
She said she does not get the same reading of the mood of voters.
“What I heard are people saying they’re fed up with a government that not only doesn’t listen but is constantly dividing Quebecers,” Anglade said.
“At the end of the day, I am a proud francophone in Quebec who can also speak English. I can relate to being a minority myself.”
She said she knows anglophones are angry with what they see happening under the CAQ government.
“I’m mad myself with what’s going on right now (with the government), but the alternative that we have is the Liberal Party,” Anglade said. “I’m a modern person. I’m an open person. I’m inclusive.”
Explaining the drop in support, Anglade said some minorities may not have grasped the fight the Liberals have waged since the CAQ took power in 2018, over the government’s immigration and secularism policies and more recently Bill 96’s overhaul of the Charter of the French Language.
Anglade said they went into the Bill 96 adoption process hoping to amend the legislation during the clause-by-clause analysis stage, which is currently underway.
Instead, the government has paraded out amendment after amendment making the bill “stricter for people,” including trying to apply Bill 101 to the CEGEP system without actually saying they are doing so, Anglade said.
On the other hand, the Liberals have given mixed signals on the language file, starting with the presentation in April 2021 of their own 27-point plan to shore up French, which ruffled the feathers of anglophones. Liberal Party members never actually voted on the plan in a plenary.
In the clause-by-clause process, Liberals on the committee abstained on some amendments, which English-speaking Quebecers found distasteful. It was a Liberal idea to suggest all students in the English CEGEP system be obliged to take three of their courses in French, and the CAQ ran with it.
In the end, the Liberals failed to block the enrolment freeze in the English CEGEP system, with Anglade announcing during a Feb. 23 visit to Dawson College that the Liberals would not be able to support the bill.
Journal de Québec columnist Antoine Robitaille wrote that decision spelled the end of the Liberal’s flirt with nationalism under Anglade and they are now trying to shore up their base of non-francophone voters.
Anglade has also taken up the fight to maintain Dawson’s expansion project, which the CAQ cancelled. She appeared this week at a news conference at the legislature with students who presented a petition with nearly 20,000 names urging the government to reverse its decision.
Anglade, however, said despite the current political optics she’s ready to fight on, attacking the government’s “we know best” attitude, which she finds anti-democratic and paternalistic.
“It’s definitely not a caring government. It’s a populist government,” Anglade said. “It is a government anchored in the politics of division. It’s French versus English, it’s immigrant versus non-immigrant, it’s regions versus the metropolis.
“François Legault says, ‘I’m governing for a majority of Quebecers.’ I will be governing for all Quebecers.”
“Office politics” often gets a bad rap. It’s thought of as the domain of catty gossip, shady backroom deals or sycophantic compliments reminiscent of the movies “Office Space” or “9 to 5.”
Thankfully, in real-life, office politics is often much tamer — and also unavoidable for anyone with the ambition to advance.
Why? Because, at its core, office politics is about relationships with colleagues and decision-makers. And nurturing those relationships can go a long way toward advancing your career goals.
While politics is often derided as purely a popularity contest, there are actually two components — being popular and getting things done.
Let’s think about “real” politics for a moment. You can be very good at getting things done, but if you’re unpopular, you’re not going to be elected in the first place. On the other hand, if you get elected because you’re popular, but fail to accomplish anything, you’ll probably find yourself voted out in the next election.
In office politics, exactly as in “real” politics, you can often get small things done without the support of others. But the more impactful your goals, the more you need to get other people on board to make them happen.
To have influence, colleagues need to like you, trust you and respect you.
If you’re not liked, well, that’s pretty much curtains for influencing decisions, unless you’re already the boss. It’s worth noting that to be liked, you must first be known.
If you’re liked, but not respected, you might be involved the discussion, but your view won’t carry any weight. We could call this “Charlie Brown syndrome” after the classic Peanuts character.
If you’re respected but not trusted (think of a well-qualified politician whose agenda you dislike), you may be consulted on an issue but colleagues may have misgivings about your motives.
To influence behavior and decisions in the office requires all three. Liked + Trusted + Respected = Influence.
Everything we do at CareerPoint is based on our philosophy that career success is driven by the value you create for your employer.
We talk about value creation by referencing eight drivers of value. You could think of these as the atomic elements of employee value. It’s a framework you could use to analyze almost anything in relation to HR or career advancement. Why? Because anything that affects your value as an employee influences both the success of your career and the success of your company.
What we know as “office politics” touches on several of these value drivers, but let’s focus on just two: Relationships and positioning.
Of all the categories of relationships that drive value for a company, none are more significant than customer relationships. If customers like, respect and trust you, they are more likely to highly value your services, keep buying them and recommend them to others. They’re also likely to be patient with you when things go awry, as things inevitably do.
The value of customer relationships can be tremendous and long-lasting. In a law firm, a single relationship can be worth tens of millions of dollars. Relationships are so important that when a partner moves from one firm to another, they often take the relationships with them. In fact, it’s hard to think of an industry where good customer relationships can’t move the dial on company success.
This means good customer relationships are a source of influence for employees. If customers highly regard you, the business won’t want to lose you and ought to value your opinion. If, on the other hand, no customer would notice or care if you left, your influence on decisions and events will be more limited.
The value driver most closely aligned with office politics is the one we’ve named Positioning. It’s all about navigating office politics to position yourself for advancement. After all, you could be the hardest working and most valuable employee in the business but fail to secure advancement if you don’t understand the politics.
The best way to think about this is to imagine a meeting of your company’s management team. Your potential promotion is being discussed. What do you want everyone to say and do?
Obviously, you want everyone to say that you are the best choice for the role. But will they?
There’s nothing you can do at this moment. It’s too late to influence any further.
In some ways, the discussion is a culmination of everything you’ve said and done since you’ve joined the company. The decision will be made largely on how the participants feel about you and the idea of you in a new, more influential role.
This is no idle abstraction. This is exactly how most advancement decisions are made. If you want to advance, the advocacy of every person around the table is what you’re solving for in the game of office politics.
Here are five quick tips you can use to help build trust, respect and likeability in your workplace.
Remember, no matter how much you hate it, office politics is a part of office life we all have to contend with. Instead of avoiding it, put your best foot forward, take smart risks, make mistakes, and learn from them.
To find out how CareerPoint can help you and your team navigate office politics and create the win/win relationships you need to succeed, visit CareerPoint’s website today.
Originally from the west coast of Scotland, Steve McIntosh is a recovering accountant (ICAEW), HR professional (GPHR) and MBA (University of Oxford). After starting his career with global accounting firm KPMG in 1998, Steve founded offshore financial services recruitment firm CML in 2004, which he led as CEO for 16 years.
In 2020, he founded CareerPoint.com, the virtual coaching platform that helps companies and their people get ahead of the curve. With customers and coaches in more than 30 countries around the world, CareerPoint is well on its way to achieving its twofold mission to help a million young people advance in their careers and level the playing field for underrepresented groups.
McIntosh is a “zealous convert” to the value of HR as a driver of business value and the author of “The Employee Value Curve: the unifying theory of HR and career advancement helping companies and their people succeed together.“
Prague, Czech Republic- As the war between Ukraine and Russia rages on, the Czech Republic has now become the latest country to offer military support to Ukraine.
According to the Czech Republic Presidency, President Milos Zeman has granted 103 citizens a special exemption, allowing them to join the Ukrainian military.
Some 400 volunteers had applied for a waiver with the goal of fighting for Ukraine against Russia.
The country requires special permission signed by the President and the Prime Minister to serve in a foreign military force. Otherwise, they face prosecution at home and potentially a five-year prison term.
In addition, the Defense Ministry then reviews each case individually in cooperation with the Interior Ministry and the Foreign Ministry before forwarding the paperwork to the President’s Office for approval.
At the same time, the United States House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a US$39.8 billion package of military and other assistance to Ukraine.
“Ukrainian people are fighting the fight for their democracy, and in doing so, for ours as well. With this aid package, America sends a resounding message to the world of our unwavering determination to stand with the courageous people of Ukraine until victory is won,” said House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
The package is expected to provide US$6 billion for weaponry, intelligence support, training and other defence assistance to Ukrainian forces, as well as US$8.7 billion to replenish American equipment sent to the country. It will also allocate US$3.9 billion for European Command operations, including intelligence support and hardship pay for troops in the region.
In addition, Legislation also set aside US$13.9 billion for the State Department, with the bulk going toward the Economic Support Fund to help Ukraine’s government continue to function, another US$4.4 billion for emergency food assistance in Ukraine and around the world as well as US$900 million to assist Ukrainian refugees, including housing, English language, trauma and support services.
Premier Jason Kenney’s backers sincerely hope their Battle of Alberta ends the very night the monumental Flames-Oilers version begins.
Kenney will hold an event at Spruce Meadows for supporters, with media also attending, starting late afternoon Wednesday. The results from a vote on his leadership are expected by about 6 p.m.
“We’re anticipating a very exciting and intense evening with the eyes of the entire province glued to a bitterly contested battle, the result of which will reverberate across Alberta maybe for years to come,” says key Kenney campaigner Brock Harrison.
“Oh, and we’re also going to finally see the result of our leadership review.”
The count will come from Cynthia Moore, the UCP president, and chief returning officer Rick Orman.
Shortly after that, the Flames and the Oilers face off at the Saddledome for Game 1 of the second round of Stanley Cup playoff action.
Harrison says, “Although our results won’t be known until the early evening, we will absolutely make sure we’re all wrapped up in good time for people to settle in and watch the game.”
The unforgivable political sin for the next two weeks would be to interfere with the real Battle of Alberta.
In hockey, unlike politics, conflict is right out there on the ice. There’s a serious chance of sportsmanship breaking out, and we know it will be over by May 30 at the latest, with one team clearly the winner.
There’s no certainty at all that the political fight ends Wednesday, even if Kenney wins a majority and can technically stay on as party leader and premier.
Many of his opponents are in no mood to fall into line. New UCP member Brian Jean may not accept the result.
Other caucus members like Peter Guthrie, Angela Pitt and Leela Aheer are unlikely to reconcile with Kenney, even if he has a substantial majority.
The premier is being advised to purge the whole group from caucus, sending them to sit as Independents with already expelled members Todd Loewen and Drew Barnes.
Kenney may not follow that advice right away. Some effort at conciliation is possible.
But after all that’s been said and done in recent months — the anti-Kenney letters and comments from his own MLAs — it’s hard to imagine a sudden burst of goodwill popping up with the spring tulips.
And there’s a chance that the premier doesn’t get a majority and must resign; or that his majority is so small he would still be under extreme pressure to quit.
One curiosity is that the political result, unlike the hockey series, is already decided and has been since May 11.
That was the cutoff date for returned mail-in ballots to reach the auditor, Deloitte Canada in Edmonton. No ballots received later were allowed.
This return mail has been examined for voter verification but the actual ballots remain in their sealed envelopes. They will be opened and counted starting the morning of May 18 — this Wednesday.
Suspicion that envelopes were improperly handled may actually have been amplified by the party’s running livestream of voter ID verification. The sight of people repeatedly opening envelopes and discarding some paper seemed mysterious.
But even Kenney opponents who did some of the work (they were allowed by the party) say there’s no way the verification could have been gamed.
Once voter ID was established, the ballot envelopes were packed into clear plastic boxes, each sealed with a unique code.
When the votes are counted Wednesday, dozens of people will be present including scrutineers from hostile UCP riding associations.
That doesn’t answer questions about membership sales, some of which are now being investigated by Elections Alberta. In today’s political climate, there’s always doubt.
That’s one reason the hockey series is so welcome. At least we’ll be absolutely sure who won.
Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald
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