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pq

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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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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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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On being a minority

09.05.2012

Just once, I would like to know what it feels like to be in a majority. Normally, I embrace my outsider status. I’m the liberal in a room full of conservatives, the conservative in a room of Liberals. I’m a Jewish person among non-Jews and an atheist among Jews, a bilingual Quebecer in the RoC [...]

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Why strategic voting is a bad idea

09.02.2012

With the latest polls indicating that the PQ is within a hair’s breath of a majority, many of us – at least, those of us who disagree with Marois’s “pure laine or go home” vision of Quebec, are probably thinking about the best way to stop that from happening. And I’ve heard a lot of [...]

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Quebec political donations: By the numbers

08.16.2012

Polls are one thing; money is another. What can we gauge from the fundraising of the major Quebec political parties, and what can it tell us about the possible election outcome? According to the Directuer général des élections du Québec, there have been 33,547 donations in 2012 to date to Quebec’s political parties, totalling just [...]

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High-ho, high-ho…

08.01.2012

…it’s off to the polls we go. Quebecers will vote in the provincial election that some are dubbing the “tuition election” on September 4th. While it’s true that Charest has always been better at campaigning than at governing, after nearly a decade in power, it’s likely to be somebody else’s turn at the helm. And [...]

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Il n’y a rien de nouveau sous le soleil

11.14.2011

Francois Legault finally unveiled his new political party’s logo, which, erm, looks an awful lot like his old party‘s logo. The Coalition Avenir Quebec (or CAQ, for short, which really brings to mind a whole host of new acronym joke possibilities) was, if you recall, ahead in polls even before it existed. And now, Legault’s [...]

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