It’s Quebec election night, and for once I miss my old job

Quebec election at the Manse

The view from the Manse (which, to two veteran journalists such as ourselves, seems ever so far away from the centre of the action tonight). But we’re happy with the news!

Wow! While in general I never regret our decision to move from Montreal to the Manse in Queensborough, and my own decision to leave the Montreal Gazette for a teaching post at Loyalist College in Belleville, tonight things are a bit different.

Tonight is the first Quebec election – provincial, federal or municipal – in 17 years that I have not voted in. (As for Raymond, it’s many more years than that.) But you can be sure that we have been watching with huge interest from the sidelines here in rural Ontario, and we could not be happier with tonight’s resounding rejection by Quebecers of small-minded, divisive, exclusionary politics and policies. It is a joy to see the positive, inclusive campaign of Philippe Couillard – whom I had the honour and pleasure of welcoming to the Gazette’s editorial board not very many months ago, when he was seeking the leadership of the provincial Liberals – triumph tonight. Here at the Manse, we are feeling pretty elated.

And we are also both feeling a little bit nostalgic for all those long, late election nights we spent at the Gazette, shepherding three editions of the newspaper to press and, in recent years, watching in profound awe as the digital team kept the public apprised of developments on a multitude of platforms in real time. (All of which was invariably followed by many rounds of beverages being imbibed by the whole crew at a nearby pub, and hearty sighs of relief that it was all over from exhausted, adrenaline-wired reporters, editors and photographers.)

I remember how, on the day of the last Quebec election (when the Parti Québécois ended up coming to power), I was feeling so stressed that it seemed the sensible thing to post a beautiful, tranquil photo of Queensborough here at Meanwhile, at the Manse to take my mind off things. Tonight, it’s exactly the opposite: I am in beautiful, tranquil Queensborough and I shall post a photo of the scene at the news pod (the core of the newsroom) of the Montreal Gazette, graciously shared with me by my pal Michelle Richardson, city editor extraordinaire:

Quebec election at the Gazette pod

The view of the election tonight from “the pod” – the core of the Gazette newsroom. Can’t you just feel the intensity? (Photo by Michelle Richardson)

Don’t you wish you were there? I know I do.

22 thoughts on “It’s Quebec election night, and for once I miss my old job

  1. Tant pis. Still can’t believe the magnificent campaign slogan, “Only you can prevent the twin perils of rampant bilingualism and religious tolerance,” didn’t resonate more than it did. Practically sells itself.

    Bof. What time does the pizza get here, mes vieux?

  2. Bob and I rejoice with you! And you did have the stress of getting you manse post up, with the help, I hope, of some celebratory wine! Our friends in Quebec will be ecstatic!!

  3. Good news for Canada. Hopefully you didn’t suffer too much separation anxiety (from the newsroom, that is ;).

  4. Good news for Canada, indeed?
    I followed the election on TV for most of the evening and found the results much to my liking.
    BUT . . . Interesting to see the number of provincial premiers of the feminine persuasion has been reduced again. Will the trend continue in Ontario?

    • I know, Gerry – I was thinking about that too last night. I was so proud when we had all those female premiers not so very many months ago, and I worry that it may take a long time to get back to that excellent state of affairs.

  5. We were out of the country for the last federal and provincial elections. We’re home now but just got here, and so were not even eligible to vote in this one. But each election night,wherever I am, it still just feels wrong to be anywhere but in the newsroom.

  6. As an ardent federalist and someone who was horrified by the Marois government’s cynical values charter and wedge politics, I also was delighted by Monday’s election results. Like you, Katherine, I have fond memories of the buzz and esprit de corps on the news desk whenever I was working an election. And, being much older than you, I can recall some especially tense, pivotal elections (e.g. the 1995 Quebec and 1992 Charlottetown Accord referendums).
    Long before newspapers drastically cut staff, it was all hands on deck on election nights. Every workstation was occupied, often by people from one section (e.g. Entertainment or Sports) pressed into service to help out on the news desk. In those days, we looked like the cast to Ben-Hur – not so much in the way we were dressed, but in our sheer numbers.
    Given how much smaller The Gazette’s news staff is now, I think the current team did a remarkable job. I would have loved to have been part of it. …
    As for voting, I’m on a roll. Until the previous Quebec election 18 months ago, I’d gone a stretch of 44 years of dutifully voting for losing candidates in federal and provincial elections (Ontario, Alberta and Quebec). Not once did I put an X beside the name of someone destined to represent me in Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton or Quebec City. And it’s not as though I was going for no-hopers from the Marxist-Leninists or Rhinoceros Party. It was the kind of futility only a Maple Leafs fan can really appreciate. Finally, here in Verdun, Quebec, I voted for a winner in the September 2012 provincial election. Then on Monday, I again cast a winning ballot. And just like that – presto! – I’ve become Mr. Bellwether. I can hardly wait for next year’s federal election.

    • Crap, Jim! You mean I wore that knee-length, nubby cotton tunic (with the decorative embroidery around the collar, cuff and hem) for nothing all those years? Why didn’t somebody say something? Judah! Judah! Judah!

    • Well that’s just great that you’ve finally made it to the winning side, Jim! As for sitting out election nights, yeah, there were occasionally times on election nights in the newsroom when I would think, “Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to just stay home and watch it all on TV?” But when I was finally able to do that, I missed the action. (And even the stress!)

    • Wilfred, what a nice surprise to hear from you here at Meanwhile, at the Manse! And I was delighted to learn of the connection between your work on behalf of proportional representation and The Gazette’s election coverage. Very smart of Raymond’s and my longtime colleague Roberto to track down your blog on the topic. And I thought your post explained it all rather brilliantly. (Translation: I read it through and understood it!)

  7. Don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but the sovereignty dream is not dead. As for working on election night this time, it went very smoothly here in the Gazette newsroom: we knew early it would be a Liberal majority. The pizza was superb (veggie version)!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s