If ever it really did look like Québec was coming close to separation, I'd move back in a flash. There'd be no way I'd let the province secede and me be without my home and the Péquistes without the thorn of me in their side. I'd also be there because I like what Québeckers are demanding. But separation isn't going to happen. Québeckers want a better society, a better representation of their views. We could do worse than look for an example to a territory that, using whatever tools circumstances have placed in its reach, demands the change that elections can bring.
Over the last year, the provinces of Ontario, Alberta and Québec were called to renew their representatives in their respective provincial legislatures. But Contrary to the trend in Ontario and Alberta, where the revelation of a candidate's bias would stain a campaign, Parti Québecois rose in the polls following the aforementioned disturbing disclosures, and even managed to win a minority government.
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.
During Pauline Marois' victory speech in Quebec last night, gun shots were fired -- an alleged "assassination" attempt on the outspoken leader, as a 62-year-old armed with a handgun and an assault rifle "lost his shit" outside the venue. Marois was unharmed but sadly someone actually died in this vapid protest. We each are responsible for embracing the idea that there is a place for everyone in society, and that to fight for fierce nationalism or singularly-minded patriotism is a dangerous and unnecessary battle to wage.
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.
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.
Jean-François Lisée, star candidate of the Parti Québécois divulged the PQ's vision of "maintaining a majority of native French-speaking citizens on Island of Montreal." That means a PQ government would favour an immigrant from Bordeaux, France, who speaks French at home, over a French-speaking Shanghai immigrant wishing to settle in La Belle Province.
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.
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.
The xenophobia from the Quebec election spilled over to the rest of Canada today when it was revealed that the Bank of Canada, our country's central bank, chose to carve out all hints of diversity from its $100 bank note after heeding to discriminatory judgements from focus groups. As Canadians born with names a rural Quebec mayor cannot pronounce and with facial features unfit for a Canadian bank note, it is high time Canada acknowledge its long legacy of divisiveness and address its ugly remnants in order to move forward to the pluralistic vision of our beloved country we have yet to fully achieve.
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.
The Parti Québécois (PQ) have unveiled some disconcerting aspects of their would-be mandate: all overt religious symbols would be banned from public institutions... except for Catholic religious symbols. In addition to lengthy and costly constitutional battles with Ottawa, certain Quebecers can now be expected to have their basic civil liberties trampled on in order to appease an increasingly intolerant voting population. The PQ are once again marginalizing a segment of the Quebec population because they are not seen as being an important fabric of Quebec's so-called distinct society. What I find truly alarming, however, is that the PQ is poised to form the next government. Vive le Québec libre indeed.