While I disagree with many aspects of the Parti Québécois' current platform, if elected, the PQ has stated that it would essentially abolish the asbestos industry in Quebec. No other G8 country currently mines and exports this known cancer-causing agent. While Quebecers may be in for a rough ride on sovereignty, language and identity issues, this is one facet of the next would-be government that should have us all breathing a little easier.
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.
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.
Figures from Statistics Canada show that, for the 2011/2012 year, undergraduate students in Quebec paid an average of just $2,519 a year for their education. Meanwhile, students in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario paid $5,601, $5,662 and $6,640 a year, while the Canadian average was $5,366 a year. Charest's tuition proposal would have seen Quebec students still paying thousands of dollars less for their tuition in 2017 than students in several other provinces are paying right now. No organisation, universities included, can continue to provide a quality service if its expenses go up while it is unable to raise sufficient revenue to cover those expenses.
Oh what a completely gratuitous way of getting you to read this blog! Shameless sensationalism, pure and simple. We try to be more high-minded than that at HuffPost, at least over here on the blog rail, where we would never post links to the red-headed royal frolicking around a Las Vegas hotel room in the buff, with an equally starkers "poker" (poke her? surely that's what the reports meant ...) companion. At most we would publish a serious think piece on the increasingly diminishing returns of the monarchy -- one which would thoughtfully weigh its relevance to our country, one which might indeed spark an important national debate on the topic.
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.
In the election, the xenophobic comments and party promises such as banning religious symbols among public service workers all say, very clearly, that to truly be a Quebecer, you must be Francophone, white and Catholic. Bonus points if your family descended from the Filles du Roi. This is textbook intolerance and xenophobia.
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?
Earlier today, Premier Jean Charest walked to the mansion of Lt. Gov. Pierre Duchesene to dissolve his government and call an election on September 4. The vision of Jean Charest is best -- not just for Quebec but for Canada. He is the dean of Canada's surviving distinct (Progressive) Conservative tradition that has built Canada over the years.
The Quebec student protesters are coming for Premier Jean Charest, and what better way to do that than to formally align yourself with the opposition? After months of denying any political favourtism or formal ties to the opposition, one of the Quebec student protest leaders, Leo Blouin, is stepping up to the political plate.
As we approach Canada Day, Stephen Harper is once again reaching out to Quebec and consulting with Premier Jean Charest and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. With the potential resurgence of separatist parties in the next provincial election, this is none too soon. Whether or not he follows their advice and whether or not he will be successful in expanding and building the Conservative brand in Quebec remains to be seen.
The secret law during the G20 and the list of laws passed in Québec to quell protests share a common characteristic: they're virtually impossible to enforce consistently. What good is a law that, once passed, is applied selectively? It places a tremendous amount of power in the hands of police who have proven unable to yield such powers appropriately.
It irks me when I hear people speak of distinct society and how Quebec is so different from the "Rest of Canada" (ROC). The media tries to play on it and so do the politicians. I guess that it's easier to try to sell the idea of sovereignty to someone if you first convince them that you have nothing in common.
Whether you support them or not, Quebec students are giving us all a valuable lesson in leadership. When Quebec Premier Jean Charest announced relatively small increases in tuition fees, he was speaking from the head. When Quebec students responded by boycotting classes and taking to the streets, they were reacting from the heart.
It is no secret that the supporters of the protest movement in Quebec are principally made up of people who are white, Francophone, and sovereigntist. There are of course exceptions to that sweeping generalization, but one needs only to attend a rally to see the copious Quebec flag waving and chants for independence to really get a taste for one of the many underpinnings of the movement.
The Charest government brought the students to the negotiating table and made concessions to their cause, while simultaneously and ineffectively enforcing the majority non-protesting students' right to go to class.