As long as I have lived in Canada, more so as a citizen since 1998, I have been fascinated by Quebec's provincial politics. I was not yet a citizen when the last Quebec sovereignty referendum happened in 1995 yet celebrated the result as if it was my own. The margin of victory was a bare 50.58% to 49.42 for separation.
I was shocked when then Quebec separatist Premier, Jacques Parizeau, came out and partly blamed people who looked like me for the loss. "It's true; it's true we were beaten, yes, but by what? By money and ethnic votes, essentially." I remember these words as if they came out of my own mouth.
Early this morning, Premier Pauline Marois visited and asked Lt. Governor Pierre Duchesne to dissolve the legislature and issue an election for April 7. This would be a 33-day campaign that the separatist Premier, with a minority government earned a mere 18 months ago, is the frontrunner.
I hope she gets defeated.
According to the latest poll from Leger Marketing that was released earlier this morning, the Premier is at 37% compared to 35% for the Liberal Party, led by new leader Philippe Couillard. The poll also revealed that the PQ is ahead comfortably in double digits with French speakers.
For Christian Bourque, the Vice President of The Leger Marketing poll, that conducted the poll for the QMI Agency and published in the Journal de Montreal, the support in the French-speaking population is paramount as "it's the magic number to obtain a parliamentary majority because many of the ridings have a francophone majority." How worrisome this really is.
What is the biggest issue of the election? It is the controversial Bill 60.
According to the author of the bill, Bernard Drainville, Minister for Democratic Institutions and Active Citizen, the bill intends to affirm "the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men," and provide "a framework for accommodation requests." Really? Is the rejection of diversity an ideal public value?
The bill that is essentially destroying diversity and is xenophobic in a pluralism society is a road-map to Quebec's eventual successful independence. It promises to "ban religious symbols from the public sector and prevent workers from displaying signs of faith while on the job". How pathetic.
This is essentially a very practical but dangerous bill to appease Quebec's French population and celebrate its dominance and unique characteristics in a province that is multicultural and diverse. According to the Montreal Gazette, the Premier further endorsed the principals of the proposed bill earlier this week as a way "to express loud and clear the principals that we hold dear."
It was at the last referendum that Premier Jacques Parizeau reflected to a defeated separatist population and envisioned what is at play today. "Sovereigntists should just aim their efforts at French speakers, because that is how they would win" he reflected. That is exactly what the government of Pauline Marois has been doing and sadly it seems working for them and their cause.
My hope is that I will not eventually see the breakup of Canada and my adopted Canadian citizenship. This is precisely why I am rooting for the defeat of Premier Pauline Marois and her government.