Maxime Bernier rips into Quebecers -

Maxime Bernier rips into Quebecers

“A bunch of spoiled children who are never satisfied”


Former Conservative cabinet minister Maxime Bernier lamented the fact many Canadians see “Quebeckers as a bunch of spoiled children who are never satisfied and always ask for more.” And according to Bernier, they’re not entirely off the mark. “While we were debating independence, we accumulated an enormous debt and we became dependent on borrowed money to fund an unsustainable level of public services,” the Beauce MP said in a speech to two riding associations. “The political choices that were made in Quebec in the past four decades have led us in a dead end.” Quebec’s principal problem, Bernier said, is its long-standing enthusiasm for government programs. “It should be obvious enough that unbridled state interventionism does not lead to prosperity. If that were the case, Quebec would be the richest place in North America instead of being one of the poorest.”

Montreal Gazette

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Maxime Bernier rips into Quebecers

  1. Hear, hear! It is good to know there is a sane politician in Quebe and of Canada.

  2. "many Canadians see Quebeckers as a bunch of spoiled children who are never satisfied and always ask for more."

    I think it would be accurate to say many (or most) Conservatives see Quebeckers that way. For my money, it's the Albertans who are the sucky babies of confederation. (I have family out there, that gives me immunity).

    Kidding aside, is Quebec so badly off? I don't live there but given that North America includes Mexico (basically a third world country) and the USA (where jobless numbers are still horrible in most parts) it's hard to believe they are "one of the poorest" regions.

    • they are poor in that they have high unemployment and VERY HIGH TAXES including the provincial portion of income taxes and a soon to be 15% HST … Alberta has every right to complain…billions of dollars are taken from them every year and what do they get for it? they also get robbed in regards to representation in the house of commons, senate, supreme court of canada and even the public services…and that's a fact, it's not just an imagined grievance.. Quebec on the other hand gets the opposite ..a huge influx of federal money, more federal jobs and for decades (until the conservatives took over) they controlled the government

    • The only reason that Quebec is not as obviously badly off is that the ROC (mainly Alberta and until recently, Ontario) has been subsidizing her bad socialist decision making through the equalization program. This has got to stop. Socialists should live at the low standard of living their policies can afford instead of buying themselves goodies by siphoning off other people's money.

      How on earth can you call Alberta, the provider of the milk "sucky" when it is now single handedly feeding the screaming baby Quebec?

      • i agree with you minaka !.. but as long as they can threaten to separate we will always be paying about three years we may have the PQ back so it may get worse

  3. So, was that cleared by the PMO or not I wonder? Wow, this guy will be western Canada's new hero. Huzzah!

  4. Well he's certainly not wrong, his taste in women it still awful.

    • What are you talkin' about, Couillard is hot

  5. Why are Albertans sucky babies? ( immunity- I was born in AB, but both my parents were born in Montreal)

    • Oh woops, I suggested full immunity, unfortunately my parents were Anglophones

  6. Gah, another belly aching conservative. Taking a pot shot at Quebec's population's moral stance (which is really just like his own) as a mean to criticise their taxation and social policies is so hypocritical.

    Look, never being satisfied is what capitalism is all about. Look at the natives, as long you give them what they want they keep asking for more. What you need to do instead is give them what they need; liberty.

    And you know what? To paraphrase Duceppes; the French Canadians were the first nation to call themselves 'Canadian' until the red coats stole that from them. That's right, I said 'stole'. Lets not pretend the invasion New France was done in peace and good faith.

    As for the claim that Quebec would the richest place in North America if it wasn't for government interventionism, that's pure lies. What does Quebec have in natural resources that can't be found anywhere else? As for 'unbridled state interventionism' he's got it all wrong. Quebec favours subsidy in child development, education and research and exerts very little control over the scope and scale. Then when it comes to commercial and industrial markets it favours competition and imposes very little regulations except for environmental policies.

    Where Quebec really failed in the last few decades was in focusing on their sovereignty. That's where Bernier is right, but not in the sense he meant. As long as Quebecers will feel they have been forced to join Canada they will elect people who focus on giving them their rights back. It's just too bad that Bernier, a conservative, can't see it that way.

    • Fact: Quebec takes huge transfer payments from the Federal Government.

      Fact: Without these transfer payments, Quebec could not afford its social programs.

      The height of their arrogance is they believe their "enlightened society" would exist without this plundering of the rest of Canada. Worse, they actually believe the rest of Canada should follow suit with these programs.

      That Quebec can't seem to afford their bureaucracy even with all that money flowing in is really quite disgusting to see.

      • "Fact: Quebec takes huge transfer payments from the Federal Government.

        Fact: Without these transfer payments, Quebec could not afford its social programs."

        1,110$ payment for 506$ Quebec VS 1,521$ payment for a 454$ deficit in Manitoba VS 2357$ payment for 607$ deficit in P.E.I. VS 2108$ payment for 380$ deficit for New Brunswick VS 1180$ payment for 236$ in payment VS 74$ payment for 1498$ in Ontario.

        Things aren't so cut and dry and when you add a little perspective behind those blind facts. If Quebec really is sucking up all the money out of Canada then what are PEI, New Brunswick and Manitoba doing with it, burning it for heat? And if Quebec really is racking up a massive dept because of its social programs then what is Ontario doing, becoming the next Alberta? Alberta is afteral running a a 1916$ deficit this year. Wait a second, if it wasn't for the equalisation payment Quebec's deficit amount would still be lower than Alberta…

        The gall! The impunity! How dare those frenchies be more fiscally responsible than Alberta.

        • Alberta's problem is more that its leaders' mismanagement of its relations with the oil and gas companies, than it was about fiscal responsibility. Certainly Alberta's been spending like a drunk monkey, of late, but a big part of that is dealing with a gigantic influx of people that require infrastructure spending.

          It should be noted that Alberta's debt, even at the end of the recession, is going to be less than $5 billion (gross) which is about $1400 per capita. Quebec's debt is $182 billion (gross) or $98 billion (net), which is about $23000 (gross) or $12600 (net) per capita.

  7. This guy has been so much more likable since he started going lone cowboy.

  8. Bernier is obviously trying to impress fellow Conservatives now, to make up for some unimpressive things in his past.

    As for whether he is right, many Quebecers do see the advantage of voting for a regional party that brings back bacon as well as rights. The surprising thing is how slowly this has caught on elsewhere. Quebecers enjoy some services, such as subsidized child care and university tuition, that the rest of Canadians only dream about. Is that wrong? Depends on your priorities, but obviously more spending is harder to sustain. Maybe Canadians are only happy when they thnk they are benefitting at someone else's expense. ;)

    • "Quebecers enjoy some services, such as subsidized child care and university tuition, that the rest of Canadians only dream about."

      Speak for yourself. We've had the university tuition debate in this country and the side that wanted low tuition didn't seem to win that one. The government run daycare crowd lost as well IIRC.

      • The Quebec goverbment does't run their daycare, it simply subsidises them. Instead of 36$/day it's 8$/day in Quebec.

        • Actually, it's still $36/day. It's just that taxpayers pay 75% of the cost. I fail to see why I should have to pay to raise other people's children.

          • Well, it's either 29$/day in daycare or over 50$/day in welfare, take your pick.

          • I don't have problems with programs designed to help the poor. However, I'm pretty sure not everyone who has a kid without daycare goes on welfare. The dual-income families can pay for their own daycare.

      • Well, if Quebec sent us 8.5 Billion annually instead of the other way around, (giving us 17 Billion more than we have now) our decisions on daycare and university tuition may have ended up differently.

        Quebec's socialist policies and constant threats of separation causing the uncertainty that discourages global investment are a drag on the entire Canadian economy.

  9. Speaking as a Quebecer living in Alberta, I see both sides of the argument (as well as being a bit of a Camus type for partisans of both sides). I'm sympathetic to Quebecois culture; it really is a unique thing unlike anything else in North America (aside from the obvious fact of its language.) It's worth protecting,


    We pour money into Quebec to what end? Corporate HQ's have left en masse, taxes rising, infrastructure is literally so scary it's funny, and more city councillors in Montréal than NYC. That's a poor investment, et ceci ne sont pas les impots des Quebecois qu'on depense.

    I'm not so bent out of shape on senate/SCC representation, because the former is useless and the latter has two codes of law to contend with.

    • Alberta is to get some more representation in the latest distribution. Still not full representation by population, but a little fairer than before.

      All Duceppe can do is whine and complain that Quebec is being further marginalized in Canada.

      Makes you wonder if the man even believes in democracy? Or is his looking forward to his dictatorship if he succeeds in cajoling separation?

  10. Meh. Alberta, blah. Quebec, blah blah. How about (poor) hard done by Ontario. For so long having our wealth syphoned away and used to fatten separatists and under performers. Now we're the laughingstock of confederation.

    We should start whining about secession.

    • Poor, poor Ontario…all those decades of making the rules, voting in your preferred candidates/politicians, rigging the economy to benefit you. I guess the TSX and all those banking towers in downtown Toronto are a western plot too? Ontario's problem is that decades ago they decided to take the side of socialism, anti-americanism, pro-francophonism. You made your bed….

  11. Refreshing to see a frank comment spoken from a politician from time to time.
    It is time for governments to account for the bottomless pit spending on Utopian programs when they aren't able to adequately fund them without borrowing. Especially when ages old infrastructure begins breaking down because there's no money to repair or replace it.
    Now if only such talk were coming from finance ministers without sugar coating it or blaming past governments.

  12. Well call me a Cynic, but it would not surprise me if we are talking about this same problem 15 or 20 years from now!

  13. This has vague echoes of "culture of defeat" from Harper that induced howls of outrage from Atlantic Canada.

    Thing is, they're both right. That won't stop the howls of outrage, mind you. Politicians offering a frank assessment of actual inconvenient truths will do that.

    • Bingo. Everyone likes to praise the notion of "speaking truth to power" but the telltale sign that someone's actually done it is when they face a severe political backlash…which of course comes from many of the same folks who like to fashionably think of themselves as rebels even though they'r exactly in line with mainstream public opinion.

      I think Potter wrote a book about this sort of thing, or at least something very similar.

  14. Does anyone (would an Albertan dare) but just how much money flow to Alberta from ROC ( that is the rest of Canada excluding Alberta) just because they drill a few holes and dig some trenches? How mush stuff do we buy from Alberta that actually involved some creative application of technology?

    • How much of Alberta's future would you think is fair to take? Once the oil and natural gas revenue is gone, I assume you'll be okay with paying us back? No? Oh, alright, we get to keep complaining then.

      • Careful; when that day come it might be the Territories carrying the nation as an economic powerhouse.

  15. From where I stand in the US, Quebec has a rich culture and a way of life that is unique in North America. They seem to care for their people and facilitate life by providing day care, health care and low tuition. I join the other comment by asking what is wrong with that? Down here, society sends the message that you are on your own. There is no village and no help. It's all profit oriented and it's falling apart. Quebec should clean up its finance to ensure survival but should go at it slowly. You can only be master in your own house if you are financially sound. I wish them the best.

  16. The problem that you don't seem to get is that Quebeckers can't actually afford the care you praise, i.e. are not earning enough nor paying enough taxes to cover it. They vote for programs that are paid for by taxpayers in the rest of Canada. Our totally unfair "equalization" program means one province can make chronically bad economic decisions and is rewarded for it while the ones making better decisions are penalized by having to pay for the deadbeat.

    This is why their threatening to leave is an utter bluff unless they're prepared for a huge drop in their standard of living overnight as the money taps from outside their province are shut off. (In fact, Quebeckers are so poorly informed on this issue that they came close to sawing off the limb they're sitting on as too many of think they are actually paying more to the feds than they are getting! This misinformation was even in their school text books). What a wake up call the day after separation would have been…

    Quebec is not "master in her own house" but a whiny adolescent moocher who won't do her chores like the rest of the family and still lives off an allowance.