From the category archives:

Quebec sait faire

Meanwhile in Quebec, the new PQ leader is none other than Jean-François Lisée:

I admit I’m actually a bit surprised that he won. He’s too intellectual, too mild-mannered, too unpopular with the PQ elite, too cautious for the hard-liners, too last-generation for the progressive youth.

But I admit that, as someone opposed to most of what the PQ stands for and in particular disgusted by the identity politics game that they have been playing over the past few years, I have a weird sort of respect for Lisée. It’s the sort of respect you give to a political opponent, sure. But it’s the kind of respect I was able to have for a Lucien Bouchard but not for a Pauline Marois, a Bernard Drainville or a Pierre-Karl Péladeau.

At any rate, the PQ still trails badly behind a fairly unpopular Liberal government, and is unlikely to get back into power anytime soon. So this probably doesn’t mean much in the short term.

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This morning, UPAC arrested 7 high-ranking politicians, including former Quebec Deputy Premier Nathalie Normandeau on charges of fraud, corruption and abuse of public trust:

The group of seven, which includes people associated with the provincial Liberals and the Parti Québécois, were arrested shortly after 6 a.m. on Thursday in Quebec City, Charlevoix and the Gaspésie, UPAC chief Robert Lafrenière said.

[ . . . ]

Others arrested are:  former Liberal cabinet minister Marc-Yvan Côté, Normandeau’s former chief of staff, Bruno Lortie, Roche engineering employees Mario Martel and France Michaud, as well as Ernest Murray, a former political attaché to former Premier Pauline Marois and François Roussy, former mayor of the town of Gaspé.

The discussions being sparked in social media as a result of this are interesting. Corruption has long been assumed to be a part of most political processes, especially here in Quebec. The long, drawn-out Charbonneau Commission was met by the population with a shrug, probably because many of its so-called “shocking” revelations were things that everyone pretty much knew but nobody openly acknowledged. Our politicians abuse party fundraising, cozy up to organized crime, and fix bidding contracts in exchange for kickbacks? That discussion is as old and tired as the endless debate about the Cavendish extension.

Of course, anger over corruption does tend to flare up on occasion. The student-initated “Maple Spring” gave voice to a general anger against the Charest-led Liberals, which ultimately brought down the government and ushered in 18 turbulent months of Marois-led PQ rule. That time period was so fraught, so divisive, such an ugly chapter in Quebec’s recent history that it still gives me the chills. I’m no fan of the Liberals — they’ve always been a hold-your-nose-and-vote party — but I also have absolutely no desire to return to debates about kippas and headscarves, identity politics, or whether Muslims in Quebec deserve the same rights as the rest of us.

And so when I see people — particularly PQ supporters — gleefully greeting the news of more Liberal corruption, I have to wonder: Would you prefer your political leaders to be corrupt or evil?

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Quebec budget update: More balanced than I expected

12.02.2014

Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao announced Quebec’s budget update today, setting off what is sure to be a continuing series of protests against the cuts, austerity measures and fee increases. The Liberal government claims that this sort of painful pruning is necessary in order to rein in Quebec’s out-of-control finances and balance the budget. The [...]

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Quebec schoolboard elections: Why you should care

09.22.2014

Folks, this is important: Quebec is having school board elections in November, and for the first time, the position of Chair is directly electable by the population. My wonderful aunt, Suanne Stein Day, is running for re-election as LBPSB Chair. It’s because she’s wonderful, and not just because she’s family, that I’d urge you to [...]

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Scotland Is Not Quebec

09.18.2014

Today, as I write this, 4.3 million people in Scotland are voting in a referendum on whether they should separate from the United Kingdom. I’ve been following the debate in Scotland more closely than I thought I would. For one thing, I have quite a few friends in the UK and this impacts them directly. [...]

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The war in Europe is over. Now, to turn our attention to the Pacific.

04.08.2014

“We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing; but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead.” — Winston Churchill. For the past 18 months, it’s felt a bit to me like we’ve been fighting a war on two fronts: On the one hand, against Pauline Marois and [...]

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Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques goes Quebec Solidaire

04.08.2014

There will almost certainly be a recount in my home riding of Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques, won by QS’s Manon Massé by a margin of only 91 votes over Liberal Anna Klisko. Obviously, I would have preferred a Liberal victory over a Quebec Solidaire one here. The QS is staunchly pro-sovereignty, militantly anti-English, and has pie-in-sky ideas about [...]

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Quebec Liberals win resounding majority

04.08.2014

It’s a majority government for Philippe Couillard and the Quebec Liberal Party! It’s been a really ugly 18 months, and an even uglier campaign. But tonight, my faith in the people of this province I call home was restored. It’s hard to believe that scarcely five weeks ago, the PQ called this election and was [...]

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Marois then and now

03.24.2014

What a difference 18 months makes: In 2012, Pauline Marois donned a red square and declared the PQ the party of the social left. In 2014, she stood by Pierre-Karl Peladeau and declared the PQ the party of business and the economy. A scant 18 months have gone by. A student-led coup d’etat? As I’d [...]

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A plea to my fellow Quebecers

03.05.2014

Rumours have been circulating for weeks, and now it’s official: Quebec will be heading back to the polls on April 7th. The Parti Quebecois has been in power for a scant year and a half. In that time, it has done more damage than even I would have thought possible. From a vitrol-laced election campaign, [...]

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