The Parti Quebecois' slim victory has a bitter taste this morning, made even worse because of the sad and deplorable events in Montreal. This victory does not give the PQ the margin it needs to carry out its platform. Yesterday's disappointing results reflect well the mood of a very unenthusiastic population and separatist electorate that are still struggling to see themselves as part of the party that will form the next government, despite nine years of Liberal rule.
It's been five gruelling weeks of symptoms and suffering but Canada's lengthy bout of Quebec Election Fever is set to finally break. It will bring an end at last to the ostentatiously cynical editorials from the Canadian punditocracy, all of whom were eager to spout various theories about why there were no good choices in this race between three equally hopeless parties led by three equally loser dinguses. Debt! Incompetence! Dubious loyalty to Canada! It matters not who you vote for, puny Quebeckers, either way your province is doomed, dooooomed!
Quebec's sovereigntists pretend to want independence. Until recently, federal politicians pretended to believe them. But with the Parti Quebecois poised to return to power after the September 4 election, the old pretenses are breaking down. Separatism is now a hard path, involving great sacrifices, reduced standards of living, more work, and fewer social benefits -- all at a time when PQ supporters yearn to hear a message of no sacrifices, improved standards of living, less work, and more social benefits. Which is precisely why Quebec separatism is effectively dead.
As the Quebec election approaches I find myself, unfortunately, pressured to vote for a candidate and party based on my religious sentiments and my feelings of discrimination against my community, rather than formulating my opinion based on the multitude of challenges that face Quebec society as a whole.
As a general rule, one can find at election time a candidate or two who inspires at least some slight degree of votability. Not so this time around in Quebec. We have one man who has already proven himself unworthy, another whose professed political raison d'être is so preposterous that people can only assume he must be lying, and a woman who appears more and more to be a bigot determined to rid Quebec of immigrants, the English language and, ultimately, Canada. As they say, the choice is yours.
For decades, the province has been sleepwalking in the illusion of its success as a social democracy. Tragically, that dangerous mindset has become entrenched in the minds of a new generation that has known nothing else. Should the PQ emerge victorious in the upcoming election, and successfully negotiate a separation, Quebec could become far worse than Greece -- and without a European Community equivalent eager to bail it out.
Now that a Quebec election has been called, pretty much every Canadian pundit of note or acclaim has published a Quebecertorial over the last two days, which might make a certain naive sort of person assume there's a lot to be said about the race. In reality, alas, there's pretty much only one thing to say, and everyone just wants to say it over and over. Namely, it's gonna be pretty awful and boring. I mean, have you met the cast of characters?