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Québec’s 20 most trusted individuals: 10th and 11th positions [post 6 of 11] (#261)

Let’s kick off the second half of the list of the 20 most trusted people in Québec.

# 10  Philippe Couillard –

The last post contained the first appearance of a politician in the list.   The second highest ranked politician on the list enters this list – and it is none other than Québec’s own sitting Premier, Philippe Couillard (Liberal), who takes the #10 spot.

I’m not going to go into all of his biographical information.  Rather, I’ll try to sum up why I believe he is the highest ranked “provincial” politician in this list.

Couillard been Québec’s Premier for just a little over one year (having taken the premiership in April 2014).  In politics, one year can be a lifetime.  Yet Couillard still maintains the top spot as the most trusted provincial politician in Québec.  Poll after poll of the last few months also indicate he is the most “popular” politician of the most “popular” party (the provincial Liberals).

It is a honeymoon which has not yet quite faded (but which is being met with some challenges).

Why is this?  I have my own pet theories, and I can share some of them with you.

  1. Couillard is viewed as someone who is trying to get the average Québécois out of a financial squeeze. Québec is one of the highest taxed, most indebted, and most bureaucratic jurisdictions in North America.   Despite generous social programs which provide a well-supported “lift” for certain sectors of society (particularly families), the middle-class has been financially squeezed.   It is a financial pressure which average people could feel.

With a rapidly aging population, low birth rates and low levels of immigration (when compared to a few other provinces), a growing debt, and low rates of new business growth/investment, people could see that the squeeze would get even worse.

Apart from a growing debt, just prior to Couillard taking the reins of power, there was talk in the wind of a debt rating downgrade which would have increased the costs of servicing the debt.  The result would have meant that the average person would have been squeezed even further.

A brain surgeon by training, Philippe Couillard took a surgical view to remedying the problem.  He sought to make cuts and some structural changes to the government, civil service and bureaucracy to balance the budget.   Many critics have called the measures of austerity.  Yet, I’m not sure his measures met the popular definition of austerity.  Rather, I think in most people’s minds, his measures were viewed as “short-term-pain for long-term-gain”.  They were budget cuts (with accompany restructurings to be able to achieve the cuts); but just enough to get rid of the deficit and to be able to post modest surpluses.

To put it into perpective:  On the budget control scale, you have

  • splurging on one end,
  • budget cuts / balancing / restructuring in the middle, and
  • austerity’s slash-and-burn / government dismantlement on the other end).

In Greece and Cyprus, we saw austerity.  In Italy, we saw “near austerity”, in Alberta in 1993 we saw “near austerity” (with a 22% decrease in the size of government following the Klein cuts).   What we have seen in Québec over the past year has been nothing close to the “popular” definition of austerity (I think less than a 5% reduction in government expenditures if I am not wrong, but accompanied with an actual growth in government size by about 1 or 2%).

I think that ordinary people recognize this does not constitute the “popular” definition of “austerity”.

I also think they recognized that the “rebalancing” measures Couillard has taken are likely to bear fruit in some form or another (it only took him one year to balance the budget – another clear sign that it was not structural, year-after-year long-term austerity).

 I believe this is one of the reasons why people trust Couillard.

2.     I believe there is one other big reason why people trust him.

Yes, Couillard is a politician.  Let there be no doubt about it.  He strategizes and plays the game like all politicians.   But he does not seem to get caught up in trying to force trending-ideologies down people’s throats, or social-engineering in order to gain power.

After everything people in Québec went through with the student strikes of 2012 (and the short-lived student “fart” of 2015), after the social divisiveness people felt from the PQ’s proposed Charte des Valeurs, and after what people perceive as an “tired” ideological battle involving the sovereignty movement, I think people have been “ok” with Couillard’s refusal to engage in such politics (people might not be overjoyed with Couillard, but he’s acceptable in people’s minds).

This does not mean that everyone agrees with Couillard’s style of politics or decisions, but it does mean that there is a large enough portion of the population who would prefer Couillard’s style over others.  Enough at least that Couillard is considered Québec’s most trusted provincial politician.

#11  Chantal Hébert –

This is one of the people who I would personally have placed in the top three.   But the #11 spot is not so bad either.

Regardless if you are Anglophone or Francophone, if you watch the news anywhere in Canada in either language, you already know Chantal Hébert.   Thus, there is not much of an explanation needed on my part.   She is likely high up there in the trust level of most people across Canada (and not just in Québec).

But I will offer you some fillers.

She is one of Canada’s best known political commentators.   She is a regular on the CBC, as well as both the television and radio divisions of Radio-Canada.  Hébert has a column in the Toronto Star, and another in Le Devoir.   More recently, she has been a best-selling author.  (And then there are those memorable light-hearted parodies of the last couple decades which we’ve all laughed at across Canada).

She is known for her straight talk and unbiased opinions.  What I love about her is that she has no qualms about holding back the way she sees things, and will support her views with anecdotal observations and facts.

Here is an example of what I mean:

She will sometimes make an appearance on television programs to give an unbiased opinion.  But the audience and host are known to have a bias.  In such circumstances, the host will set up a question so that he / she expects the answer to play into their own bias.  But yet Hébert will come out with the most unexpected, objective answer – leaving everyone to eat humble pie.  You can’t imagine how many times I have laughed out loud at such situations.

Here is a case in point:  Last Sunday, Hébert was an invitee on the Radio-Canada talk show Tout le monde en parle (TLEMP).  This show has the second highest television ratings in all of Québec and Canada (behind TVA’s La Voix).    It’s a program which has a reputation for being “biased” towards the left, the Québec nationalist movement, and sovereignist guests (although I have to admit that I have seen quite noticeable effort on the part of the hosts to appear less biased over the past two to three years… credit where credit is due).  Regardess, the show attracts a certain studio audience.

On last Sunday’s show, the host’s (anti-Conservative) panel took a shot at Prime Minister Harper for having started the trend in Canadian politics of locking out the media with an information blackout.   From the expression on the faces of the audience, you could see that the audience loved such a comment (as did the other panelists).

But then Hébert quickly pointed out that it was actually Lucien Bouchard and the Bloc Québécois which started the trend of controlling the media message in Canadian politics, and Harper simply learned from the Bloc Québécois.   You should have seen the sour looks on everyone’s faces when they heard the facts which Hébert presented to them.  I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.  She took the wind out of everyone’s sails in her usual calm, composed style.

On the same show, but back in 2013, the host and panelists again took shots at the Conservatives for being information control freaks, and for being information manipulators.  They took temendous joy in criticizing the Conservatives of twisting facts to portray an inaccurate reality to the electorate (I don’t necessarily disagree with them — but they were having more fun with their Harper-bashing then a kid on Halloween, owing to a tad bit too much of an ultra-nationalist discourse).   But what happened next left everyone speechless, before a television audience of 2.3 million people.

Hébert began to cite example after example of the types of tricks certain politicians undertake to control information so as to manipulate public perception and views.  She talked about how scientific evidence is suppressed, about how statistics are manipulated, about how messages are distorted and then force fed to the public using government funds.  She went on and on, listing this this, that, and all the rest.

As she went down a lists of the sneaky, dirty tactics which she feels Québec is falling victim to, everyone in the room (mostly pro-PQ supporters) were nodding their head in complete agreement.  The grins on their faces said it all.  They all agreed the tactics Hébert listed were the lowest of the low, and the sneakiest of political moves.

But then Hébert put a name to who she was talked about… and it was not the name anyone expected (they all thought she was talking about Stephen Harper).  Hébert said all of these things were exactly what Pauline Marois had been doing as the head of the Parti Québécois. 

You should have seen the shock and horror on everyone’s faces when they realized that Hébert was talking about the Parti Québécois and not the Conservatives.  To make matters worse for this traumatized group, Hébert supported her arguments with examples and facts!   You could see that the pro-Parti Québécois audience and panelists were mortified by the fact that they had all just agreed, inadvertently (and in front of 2.3 million people), that their own party was up to a bunch of dirty tricks.

It was hilarious !!!

And that, my friends, is precisely why people in Québec trust Chantal Hébert.  She calls it as she sees it.

Chantal Hébert is only one of two people on this list of 20 who is not from Québec.

Most people in Québéc are not aware that she is not originally Québécoise, but is actually Franco-Ontarian (although she lives in Québec now).  She was born in Ontario, was educated in Ontario (at Glendon College in Toronto), started her career in Ontario, and worked for much of her life in Ontario (she used to work as a reporter covering Queens Park in Toronto).   This little tid-bit of info is something which usually takes a number of Québécois by surprise when they hear it

Coincidentally, just yesterday, a friend from Laval (Québec) and I were talking about the Alberta election results.  We both gave a nod to the fact that Chantal Hébert’s predictions were dead on.  My friend said to me “See… there’s one Québécoise who knows lots about Alberta.”  I answered “She certainly knows her stuff, but she’s actually from Ontario.”  My buddy from Québec was shocked.   (I guess he must have thought “I was the only one” from outside Québec… hahaha).

Regardless, people can’t get enough of her – which is why everyone always whats to hear from her.   Regardless if she is originally from Québec or not, in most people’s hearts in Québec, she’s part of the family – and they trust her.

In the next post, we’ll look at a very “interesting” investigative reporter, and the host of one of the biggest talk shows in the country (both of these people are tied into others figures already discussed in this list).   See you soon!


Québec’s 20 most trusted individuals: 8th and 9th positions [post 5 of 11] (#260)

This post will look at the #8 and #9 spot in our top 20 most trusted people in Québec.  It is interesting to note that one is the most “unbiased” public figures in Québec, and the other is one of the most “political” figures in Québec and Canada.   The contrast cannot get much larger than that.

#8 Céline Galipeau –

Céline Galipeau is someone who I personally would have ranked in the top three.  I’m a little surprised she did not rank higher.

Every country, nation and every global linguistic region has their own celebrity chief news anchors.

English Canada has

  • Peter Mansbridge (CBC),
  • Lisa Laflamme (CTV) and
  • Dawna Friesen (Global).

Québec and French Canada has

  • Céline Galipeau (Radio-Canada), and
  • Pierre Bruneau (TVA).

Likewise (to put things in context for USA readers), the USA has

  • David Muir (ABC news)
  • Scott Pelley (CBS news), and
  • Lester Holt (NBC news).

The above list should give you a fairly good context of where Céline Galipeau fits into the big picture.

Every chief anchor has to walk a very thin line between playing a major role in choosing the news stories of the day, deciding how to deliver the news, and maintaining the appearance of being unbiased and impartial.   It is not an easy task, and only the best of the best are able to pull it off.

I have felt that Céline Galipeau has been able to pull it off quite well – and she is certainly someone who I have followed for many many years.  I have a pet theory why she may not have ranked a bit higher (versus Pierre Bruneau of TVA, for example).  Of course there is the ratings factor (TVA gets higher ratings, which I mentioned in the post which included Pierre Bruneau).

Another factor might be that she sometimes has a tendency to add small one-line closing “comments” at the end of some reports (especially controversial or emotional reports).   Pierre Bruneau of TVA does not do this。   I think a number of people may have picked up on this — and it’s one area where she might lose some points for some people (and the personal, odd, one-line comment should perhaps be toned down a little).

Regardless, apart from the odd, small one-liner subjective commentaries (such as subjectively saying Omar Khadir’s story is “moving”), I still believe she is one of the better chief anchors in Canada and Québec — and I have a great deal of respect for Céline Galipeau — especially for her more worldly views touching on matters which do not necessarily directly involve local Québec news.

I first began to follow her career when both her and I were posted to Beijing (China) for work during overlapping periods (she was posted to Beijing as CBC / Radio-Canada’s main China correspondent, and I was posted to the Canadian embasy in Beijing with the Canadian foreign service — back in my government days before I went to the private sector).   I had the opportunity to meet her on several occasions during our overlapping years in Beijing, and it confirmed my belief that she was someone of character and integrity.


Photo of me and Céline Galipeau in Beijing… I think possibly in 2002

Galipeau returned to Canada in 2003 to anchor the weekend Le Téléjournal on Radio-Canada (the French equivalent to the weekend addition of CBC’s English “The National”).  In 2009, she became the head news anchor of Radio-Canada and of Le Téléjournal.

I am not at all surprised that she is one of the most trusted people in Québec.

#9 Thomas Mulcair (note the orange)

Thomas Mulcair is the first (and highest) ranked politican on this list.  As the federal head of the New Democratic Party, he certainly painted the town orange in 2012.

Québec has known Thomas Mulcair for many more years than the rest of Canada.  Mulcair was a Québec MNA (the equivalent of an MLA, MPP or MNL) for many years.  He was Québec’s environment minister from 2003 to 2006 with the provincial Liberals.

With everything which happened in Alberta yesterday, we may very well see him take his orange paint brush to other parts of the country in October, 2015 (much remains to be seen, dependant on both his and Rachel Notley’s actions and positions running up to the Federal election.

Nonetheless, the fact that he remains Québec’s most trusted politician, despite having been the head of the official federal opposition since 2012, says much about his skills as a politician.   Even in an overall Canadian context, polls indicate he constantly comes out as the most trusted politician in all of Canada (even much more popular than his own party).

Even people who I know who normally vote on the further right end of the spectrum confide to me that they believe that Mulcair is the most “likeable” individual of our political lot (regardless of his politics).  That’s not an easy feat to pull off by any means (especially considering that his politics are left of centre).

I don’t know what is going to happen in the next Federal election any more than anyone else (are we talking about Canada’s next Prime Minister?).  But politics in Canada and Québec can be as much a game of personalities and trust, as it can be of policy and substance.   If Mulcair is able to balance and marry these factors in the last months of the 2015 Federal election campaign, we may be seeing much more of him for many many years to come.

This year’s election cycle will be interesting.

The next post will be the half-way point in our list of the 20 most trusted individuals in Québec.

Québec’s 20 most trusted individuals: 6th and 7th positions [post 4 of 11] (#259)

We have now finished the top 5 most trusted individuals in Québec, and we’ll begin to look at the remaining top 10 in this several-post series..

#6 Véronique Cloutier –

Véronique Cloutier was the subject of a previous post a long time ago.  If you wish to read up on that post, you can click HEREHowever, in this post, I will look at why I think she is one of the most trusted names in Québec.

Cloutier (simply known as Véro to most Francophones in Canada) has been on our television screens since she was 19 years old (she is now 40).   She resonates with anyone 50 and younger owing to the fact that she has been central to our pop-culture for much of our lives (I think I can vaguely recall watching her during her first year on television in 1993, and I definitely have many memories of watching her on TV in the mid 1990s).

For under 40s, she made her début into our lives as host on the TV music station MusiquePlus in the early & mid-1990s (the French language counterpart to Much Music).  You have to keep in mind that the internet did not exist at that period, and most of us turned to MusiquePlus for our dose of the latest music videos.   There was very much a bonding factor through her music programs which still endures for many people entering middle-age today.

Later in the 90s, he career took off on various programs on Radio-Canada, some of which have had the highest Francophone viewer numbers (and overall Canadian viewership numbers) in history.  She has become one of the most known people in Montréwood culture (perhaps one of the top five best known Montréwood personalities).

Apart from her constant presence in our pop-culture lives, there are probably two other factors why people feel they know her, can relate to her, and can empathize with her — all which are factors which have earned the public’s trust.

  • On a very sensitive note (and without going into too many details out of respect for those involved), her father was convicted of pedophilia and was sentenced to prison a number of years ago. Her father was a well-known celebrity figure himself, and the case involved other well-known celebrities.   It was an extremely difficult period in Cloutier’s life.  It was also a painfully public part of her life which I am sure she wishes was much more private (the Paparazzi and press covered the story extensively).   Yet, she stood there in great pain, in front of all of us on television, as she tried to survive this period in her life.  The way she handled it, her integrity and her strength gained her the respect and the admiration of a people.   She has become bigger than life in Québec.
  • She married her long-time boyfriend, Louis Morissette, and they have since had a family. Morissette is one of Québec’s most successful stand-up and television comedians.  Together they have children and they form the Brangelina couple of Montréwood.   The joined forced and now work together as a “working couple”.  This new dynamic faced a number of hurdles when they were criticized for taking their comedy act to far, and when Morissette was “banished” from Québecor/TVA for making fun of Pierre Karl Péladeau in a skit over a decade ago (PKP is still taking a rap over such a terrible judgement call now that he is a politician).   But Cloutier and Morissette faced and overcame these hurdles with integrity – again gaining the people’s trust for their strength of character.

I am not at all surprised that Véronique Cloutier is ranked in the #6 place.  I perhaps may have even ranked her a notch or two higher.

#7 France Charbonneau –

France Charbonneau is a real-life Judge Judy for many in Québec.

Owing to an online investigation by the Radio-Canada program Enquête (sort of like the CBc’s 5th Estate, or CTV’s W5), it came to light that there were severe amounts of illegal collusion by major construction companies in the bidding process for provincial government contracts.   There had been musings for years that Québec was the most corrupt province in Canada (remember the infamous McLean’s front-page article a number of years ago?).  But many people refused to accept it until Enquête finally took all the evidence to task (during the publication of the L’Actualité article in 2010 many Québec politicians denied it, especially those in the PQ — I still vividly remember the former PQ premier, Bernard Landry yelling, ranting and raving that L’Acutalité was biased because Québec had no corruption.

After extreme political pressure (which was in part responsible for the downfall of the Liberal Charest government in 2012), a government inquiry was called to look into the affair.  It was called the Charbonneau Commission.  I has lasted for two years, and it is still not finished.

Every day, for the better part of more than year, the commission President (AKA Judge), France Charbonneau, appeared on our television screens on the 24 hour news network, RDI.  We all became used to seeing her grill witnesses, lecture witnesses, and form her views on witness statements live on TV, three or four hours every day, day after day.

By way of subpoena, she took politicians to task, she took business people to task, and she took other people to task who the public never thought they would see put on “trial”, let alone see it all happen before their eyes.  Even though the Commission was not a court of law, it sure felt like it was.

France Charbonneau may have single-handedly turned Québec from being the most corrupt province in Canada to being one of the cleanest in Canada – all within a couple of years.   That’s quite a feat by any measure!

In addition to her role as the President of the Charbonneau Commission, she is also well known as the judge known for having put the Hells Angels kingping, Mom Boucher, behind bars in 2002.

Her ability to take those to task in the defense of the public purse and safety has not only earned her celebrity status which only pop-culture stars experience, but it definitely earned her a position of trust in the minds of the public.  She is possibly the most well-known judge in Canada.

As I said earlier, the Commission is not yet over (it is currently in deliberations as it drafts its final reports).  Therefore I have a feeling we will still be seeing France Charbonneau for a while yet.

And as a side note… do not be surprised if we happen to see Charbonneau be offered an opportunity to run for political office which she may find difficult to turn down (Federal 2019?  Provincial 2018?  A by-election?  Liberal, Conservative?)  But that is simply the most speculative of speculation on my part.

The next post will look at a couple more people in the top 20 most trusted figures in Québec.

Québec’s 20 most trusted individuals: 4th and 5th positions [post 3 of 11] (#258)

Let’s continue our look at the top 20 of the most trusted people in Québec (ranked by Québécois themselves).

Like anyone who is popular with the people (especially those with high “trust” factors), these are people to watch.

The usual formula is Trust” + media appeal = “soft power”.  Often, people like this can morph into something different with time — with more social, societal or political clout.

#4  Sophie Thibeault

Sophie Thibeault’s ranking in the top 10 (and especially in the top 5) is one of the rankings which surprised me the most.

I would have thought she would have placed lower in the rankings, considering that she is a late-night anchor of a TVA news program which has quite a local focus (which is how I feel about a good deal of TVA’s main channel’s news programming).

I will say upfront that I think Thibeault does an excellent job of reporting on local news — and she has more than 10 years of experience to prove that she is the one who deserves the job.

Her news program, TVA 22h, is broadcast Québec-wide, and caters only to a Québec market (Québec news, for Québec people).  You don’t get the feel it reaches much further than that.  There is very little comprehensive news coverage beyond a 100km radius of Montréal.  And when there is news about matters outside Québec (or even in other regions of Québec), the approach is generally only from the angle of someone living within 100kms of the TVA studies.

Personally, I would have left the top 5 rankings (and even the top 10 rankings) for other people who report on matters which have a broader, worldlier aspect.    But, obviously large swaths of the population disagree with me.  I suppose this goes to show :

  1. The extent to which people care most about what is happening in their immediate backyard (versus events in other jurisdictions), and how much weight they accord to those who cover such issues,
  2. Just how much more attention people will accord to events within a few kilometres of where they live, rather than events a little further down the road.

Caring about your immediate neighbours and their issues of course is a good thing.  It probably is human nature to pay more attention to matters happening immediately around oneself, and yes, people should care about what is happening locally (that is precisely why local news exists).

Following local news is not a bad thing.  But it can be damaging if people do not balance their local news and perspectives with events occurring a little further afield (not caring about others who are a little further away is a bad thing).

I personally have felt that news programs, such as TVA 22h, are part of the reasons why portions of Québec’s population have very little knowledge about what is happening elsewhere in Canada.  It is an interesting topic for conversation.

Likewise, English Canada also has equivalents; those Anglophone “national” news programs which rarely report what Québécois (and even Francophones elsewhere in Canada) are experiencing and living, and which almost completely ignores their points of views.  Thus it’s a door which swings both ways (I find that Global News is a good example of this, and CTV also has a habit of falling into this trap.  Nor is CBC totally immune from it either).

Kind of sad, isn’t it?

That’s why I would not have ranked “overly local” newscasters such as Sophie Thibeault (those whose news programs actually propagate and accentuate the notion of the Two Solitudes), as people who I would “trust” the most.  Would you trust a newscaster who reports that a pot hole in Montréal is more important “national” news than a school bus of children which went over a cliff in British Columbia, or how a new technology has been developed which reduces oil-sand emissions by 20%? (this is a bit of a hyperbole, but I have seen very similar reporting styles on TVA 22h).   I have always had the feeling that such newscasts are only telling “half the story”, or “half-truths”, if you will.  But that’s just my take on things.

Regardless, I can still understand why most people list Sophie Thibeault as one of their most trusted individuals.  She’s the likeable next door neighbour who will tell you, over the fence, what is happening with all the other neighbours in the immediate vicinity (but not necessarily what is happening in the next neighbourhood).

#5 Denis Coderre

I am not at all surprised that the mayor of Montréal, Denis Coderre, has ranked in the top five.   I previously wrote a post on the dynamics of the Denis Coderre / Régis Lebaume duo (the mayors of Montréal & Québec City).

Prior to Denis Coderre arriving on the scene as mayor, Montréal went through two mayoralships which were both marked by corruption (with the first being marked by a water-metre and construction company contract-granting scandal, and the second mayor being outright arrested for corruption in front of television cameras).

Coderre was well known to the public as a 30 year veteran federal politician (Liberal) who had proven his ability to stand apart and to avoid scandal.  He also had a frank “man-of-the-people” style of talking – the type of person you’d want to have a beer with in a bar as you talk about hockey and tell a few jokes.

In light of Montréal’s corruption scandals during the several years prior to Coderre’s arrival, his new style appealed to many people – a breath of fresh air.   Since becoming mayor, Denis Coderre has also become a media celebrity, and is treated as a star as he makes the media rounds from talk show to talk show, and all the events in between.

Since becoming Montréal’s mayor, in November 2013, his honeymoon with the people has never ended … something rare in Québec and Canadian politics.

We’ll continue to look at more of the top 20 in upcoming posts.

Québec’s 20 most trusted individuals: 1st to 3rd positions [post 2 of 11] (#257)

This is a continuation in the series of who Québécois say they trust the most (based on a recent poll of Québécois).

This post will cover positions # 1 to # 3.

Despite my surprise at the position of a number of names (not to mention my surprise that certain individuals even made it on the list), I will try to give an explanation of reasons why these individuals may have found their way on to this list.

#1 – Pierre Bruneau

Pierre Bruneau is ranked the most trusted name in Québec. I also wrote a post about him quite a long time ago.

I can understand that he made his way onto the list, but I was initially quite surprised that he took the #1 spot.  But after a little bit of thought, I can understand why so many people chose him as the person they trust the most in Québec.

Bruneau is the head news anchor of the TVA television network (owned by Québecor).  Personally, I’m not a big fan of TVA news because I find it has too much of a tabloid / sensational aspect to it, and focuses too much on news (ie: a burst fire hydrant in Montréal could be its top news story of the evening as the rest of the world burns beyond Québec’s borders, in Canada or elsewhere).

But TVA does have a great deal of appeal for huge swaths of the population, and TVA (and Bruneau) does a very good job of reporting local news in Québec.  In fact, the TVA network and its evening news program have the highest ratings of all television networks in Québec.   I suppose it reflects the fact that people relate most to local aspects in their lives, and take the greatest interest in what they can physically see happening around them.  It is human nature I guess.  And Québécois have thus crowned their “local story teller” as their #1 most trusted person.

#2 – Mario Dumont

I’m not surprised that Mario Dumont is in the top five.  I would have placed him near the top also.

He is still quite young, at 44 years old.

In English Canada, people may remember Mario Dumont from 1995 as having been the young 20-something leader of the provincial Action Démocratique du Québec provincial political party.  He and his party formed the referendum’s pro-YES three-way political alliance with Lucien Bouchard (the then head of the Bloc Québécois) and Jacques Parizeau (the then head of the party Québécois).

Dumont approached the referendum at the time from a much more lucid and cautious point of view.  In that sense, he was much more of a soft-sovereignist, and was seen to want more autonomy for Québec rather than outright severed independence (which is what Jacques Parizeau was fighting for).

After the referendum, Dumont later became the official head of the opposition in Québec.  In 2009, he left politics and became a media news commentator, with his own shows on both talk radio and on TVA’s 24-hour news station, LCN.

Dumont holds centre-right views (his views align with much of what would be the Progressive Conservatives in other provinces).  As an on-air news commentator, I find he has done a very good job of de-politicizing himself.  .

I suppose he won the 2nd spot for being the person Québécois trust the most because

  • he was the “premier who never was”,
  • he always advocated for his beliefs and did not compromise them,
  • he is known for holding views which resonate with huge swaths of Québec’s population (both politically and socially). He would especially popular in the Eastern half of Québec (including the Québec City region) and regions a bit further afield from the immediate Montréal region. 
  • he has done a very good job of depoliticizing himself in his role as the host of numerous television and radio commentary news programs.

#3 – Paul Arcand

I previously wrote a post on Paul Arcand. Personally, I’m a little surprised he is in the # 3 spot, but I am not surprised he is the top 10.   I say this because he is very well liked in the Montréal region as Montréal’s most listened to talk radio-show host (on FM 98,5) http://www.985fm.ca/ .   Despite that his radio show does not have a broadcasting reach beyond a one hour drive from Montréal, it is nonetheless broadcast to a large enough region that a large percentage of Québec’s overall society regularly listens to him.

When people Montréal think of radio with an influence, they immediately think of Paul Arcand.

If you have ever been to Montréal, two things which you will notice are

  • that people are stuck in endless traffic jams during prolonged rush hours and eternal road construction – and thus they cannot escape Paul Arcand (not that they would want to 😉 ), and
  • many people have the radio playing in the background as they work, and Paul Arcand is one voice they regularly hear.

The next post will look at the #4 to #6 positions.