Qui dirigeait le Québec à votre naissance?

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: Canada

Publishing organisation: Radio-Canada

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 2022-09-03

Language: French

Authors: Daniel Blanchette Pelletier, Isabelle St-Pierre Roy, Charlie Debons, Francis Lamontagne, Isabelle Bouchard, Martine Roy


Our multidisciplinary team, with journalists, designers and developers, tackles complex issues using illustrations, analysis and other data visualizations to make digestible and captivating stories. We rely on original, innovative and/or interactive formats that shed new light on subjects of public interest, enlighten readers differently and engage in conversation with both neophytes and experts.

Daniel Blanchette Pelletier is a data journalist for CBC/Radio-Canada in Montreal. He uses illustrations and data visualization in order to make information attractive, but above all accessible to everyone.

Project description:

Who ruled Quebec when you were born? Our project starts from a simple question to revisit the political history of the province. The Internet user is first invited to enter his date of birth to see which Prime Minister was in office that year and to obtain some facts and data on the legislative assembly at that time. He can then navigate through the timeline to see how the political landscape changed afterward, or uncover the history leading up to the government in place at his birth.

Impact reached:

Our project stands out for its great educational and instructive value on the political history of Quebec. It brings together in a single page the governments that have succeeded, from 1867 to today. We present Internet users with an opportunity to revisit history through an exploratory project, which can be attractive to both young people and adults. Its catch, with the question Who ruled Quebec when you were born? allows you to get a specific answer, but then opens the door to exploring the whole project on your own. Moreover, this project has generated a lot of comments, but also commitments, from Internet users. Several people wrote to us to submit their answer to the main question, or shared it on social networks inviting people to get their answer too. Our project has also made it possible to put into context various elements of the modern political history of Quebec, from the breakthrough of the Coalition avenir Québec, in 2018, to the collapse of the Parti Québécois (and the one to come of the Liberal Party, in 2022), including also the strong comeback of the Conservative Party in the polls. Its publication came at the right time as Quebec voters prepared to return to the polls.

Techniques/technologies used:

Entry into our project is through a very simple question, which gives Internet users a customizable and interactive experience. What takes place next is a timeline that allows them to explore political history at their own pace, by scrolling up or down, or by choosing other dates of their choice. We used React.js with custom MUI components (datepicker and cards). For the timeline, we used D3.js with synchronized transitions following the selection of the date or the scrolling of the page. To compare or notice the change over years, each card contains the same information: the current Prime Minister, his political party, archival footage, interesting facts about political moments and other data on the composition of the national assembly. It is designed to be as easy to use on a computer as on all mobile devices. We have also developed a data architecture facilitating collaboration between developers, designers and journalists. The project is directly connected to data sheets (Google) containing all the information for the construction of the cards, but the code displays the information specific to each card according to the data sheets.

Context about the project:

We took advantage of the election coming up to develop an educational and instructive project on the political history of Quebec. This kind of retrospective, although always relevant, is difficult to fit into a daily news context, except perhaps precisely during an election period. We therefore used data from the Assemblée nationale du Québec and Élections Québec and we presented it in an original and playful way, inspired by hockey cards. Our political cards contain interesting statistics on the various governments that have ruled the province of Quebec. Since our project took more the form of a game or a customizable and interactive experience, we used the information it presents for various and complementary publications on social networks. A series of albums designed for Instagram has made it possible to explain several other aspects of the political history of Quebec, from the 32 premiers that the province has known, to the succession of the various political parties in power or even the place of women within the deputation. This original content not only made it possible to learn more about the history, but also brought Internet users back to the main project. We even showcased Radio-Canada’s television archives through a series of historical capsules published on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

Our project shows how it is possible to use historical data and electoral archives in the context of news. This is an instructive way to present data and we made its exploration fun and relevant for Internet users. Any project, no matter how simple, finds its relevance in the way its content is presented. It not only allows easy and quick access to specific information, while also offering the possibility of exploring and discovering more about the political history of Quebec and its evolution. Its content also recalls the idea of an exhibition for the general public on the electoral history of the province. Our use of social networks has also shown that it is possible to decline a project differently for each platform, by offering additional information while always redirecting to the main project.

Project links: