"Never, never will I accept that Quebec is associated with violence," Quebec Premier-elect Pauline Marois declared in the wake of the recent election night shooting.Mme. Marois is not alone. Across the country, elected officials and pundits of all political stripes tell us that Canada is a "peaceable kingdom." The reality is quite different and it is a subject which we have been reluctant to even broach, let alone discuss.
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.
The loss for the Quebec Liberals and its leader, Jean Charest, was a political low moment last night. Indeed it is my hope that Jean Charest will still be involved in public life. His undying affection for federalism, conviction for equality and eloquence is still a service needed by Quebec and Canada.
Last night during Pauline Marois' victory speech a tragic shooting left us all speechless. This is the moment where one needs to pause, not the moment to start pointing fingers at whomever or whatever. It is the moment where we must stop, take a step back from the electoral fervor, forget our political and historic baggage to mourn the death of an innocent man who was only doing his job, who wasn't even there for a political rally, but simply to earn a living.