In Montreal, the fear of being “stuck between Trump’s America and Bardella’s France”

In Montreal, the fear of being “stuck between Trump’s America and Bardella’s France”
In Montreal, the fear of being “stuck between Trump’s America and Bardella’s France”

The smell of butter wafts all the way to the sidewalk across the street: it’s hard to resist this kouign amann sold in the heart of the Plateau, the Montreal neighborhood gently mocked by Quebecers as the “21st arrondissement of Paris.” Nassim, 27, a developer from Brittany, comes out of the bakery with this precious caloric souvenir of his native land. The friends who came to see me couldn’t believe it, there are French people everywhere here!”

A few meters away, opposite a bar showing the Euro, a poster from the New Popular Front invites people to a demonstration. against the extreme right » downtown. “Even if you want to think about something else, it’s impossible.”Nassim wonders.. The elections are worrying this Franco-Algerian, who has been in Canada for four years. During the last legislative elections, I didn’t vote, but now, I have no choice. The RN scares my family. It hurts me. No desire to return to France.”

“Quebecers have a real passion for French politics”

Carla Geib, a journalist for Mauditsfrançais.ca, a news site for French people in Quebec, has seen a tenfold increase in the number of views of her articles. “A classic article generates 500 views. The one on the candidates has exceeded 5,000. I feel like I’m on the front line, as if I were a journalist in France. The breakthrough of the RN mobilizes, and Quebecers have a real passion for French politics.”

Special broadcasts, daily columns… the surprise dissolution and breakthrough of the extreme right fascinate local media. Especially since elected officials from Quebec are getting involved in the campaign. Ruba Ghazal, member of the Québec solidaire party, on the left, thus handed out leaflets in the metro for the New Popular Front. “I have been here for over forty years and I have never seen anything like this. There are posters, rallies… The campaign is taking place here too and we can feel a strong anti-RN mobilisation,” observes Jean-Pierre Beaud, French-Canadian professor of political science at the University of Quebec in Montreal.

The Montreal exception

In Montreal, voters blocked the National Rally. In the first round, they overwhelmingly voted for Oussama Laraichi (New Popular Front), with 49.91%, compared to 28.49% for his rival, the incumbent Roland Lescure (Ensemble). The RN was relegated to 10, 11%.

According to Jean-Pierre Beaud, the results recorded in Montreal can be explained by a particular sociology of the French in Canada, more anchored on the left than their American neighbors. “In New York, Ensemble is ahead. But Montreal is apart. Jean-Luc Mélenchon was already ahead in 2022, here. There are a lot of French students, which brings the city closer to the electorate of Rennes, for example.” And he adds: “There is a strong fear among young people here of being stuck between Trump’s America and Bardella’s France.”

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