As expected, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois has called an election this week. Recently published surveys appear to suggest that her Parti Quebecois government is tracking toward a majority government. Predictably, the political and pundit class in English Canada are hyperventilating at the prospect of a referendum on Quebec sovereignty should the PQ win a majority. The citizens of Quebec will vote for a new government in their next election. They aren't going to the polls to vote to form a new country. That may come later. But I doubt it. Like the rest of us, Quebecers are far too preoccupied with questions much more fundamental to them.
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!
What the PQ fails to understand is that the continual sparring with the federal government and defiant support of succession, regardless of a demonstrated lack of public support for separation, creates an unstable environment for investors, who are in a position to strengthen the quality of life for all residents of Quebec. Here is to hoping cooler heads prevail.
There are two elections this autumn that will have repercussions throughout Canada. The first happens in Quebec next week, the second in the United States in November. What makes these so important? What happens in Quebec next week and in the United States in two months' time will help shape the future, not only in that province and country, but for all of Canada as well.