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Today in Quebec punditocracy, post-perogy edition


 

loudmouth

Opinion is a fleeting thing in these fluid days of the Otta-brouhaha™. This morning’s columns, some of which raised the doom-and-gloom spectre of a full-blown ‘national unity crisis’, seem rather quaint since Michaëlle Jean acquiesced and gave parliamentarians a six-week holiday. Still, as Le Devoir’s Michel David points out in a prescient column today, today’s prorogation “only postpones the inevitable” and, at the very worst, only extends what David calls Stephen Harper’s “dangerous game” of flogging the national unity issue for political gain. “When passions arise, nuance disappears,” David writes. “The words ‘separatist’, ‘Québécois and ‘Francophone’ quickly become synonyms. It only takes one instance during a pro-Conservative rally for a bunch of fanatics to stomp on the Quebec flag, like what happened in Brockville in 1989, to put fire to gunpowder.”

La Presse’s Vincent Marissal, meanwhile, is succinct enough: “”Stephen Harper decided to save his skin and his government by launching a war against the sovereignists, a risky strategy that will only mean a loss of Conservative support in Quebec.” He also notes, with a certain amount of humour, that the last Prime Minister to take to the airwaves to beg for his job was Paul Martin in 2005. “The biggest difference between [Martin and Harper] was that the former Prime Minister apologized to Canadians and asked for a second chance. What did Mr. Harper say to Canadians last night? I’m the Prime Minister, I’m staying, and if you want to replace me it will be through an election, probably early in 2009.” Huzzah!

Alain Dubuc writes a ‘Yes, but…’ column in which he says, yes, Harper is responsible for all this mess, but it isn’t the role of the opposition to overthrow the government–if it can make the government fix its mistakes. “That’s what is going on right now. Already, the Conservatives have removed the most unacceptable items from the budget, and in the face of this obviously united opposition, it will have no choice but to put forth a budget that is acceptable.” Dubuc further chastises the Liberal-led coalition for having to rely on the Bloc for support “not because they are separatists, as the Conservatives parrot, but because it will mean a centre-left government, the program of which doesn’t have democratic legitimacy.”

“Imagine for a second that you are an English Canadian from the west,” begins Le Journal de Montréal’s Richard Martineau today. “Yeah, I know, it’s hard, but try anyway. You are smelling the sweet odor of gas, sitting in your pick-up, an Alexander Keith between your legs.” [Apparently, Martineau doesn’t know that any Albertan worth his pick-up and cowboy hat only drinks Pilsner Beer while driving, but I digress…] “Wouldn’t you be mad as hell, seeing the Bloc, a sovereignist party that wants to break up the country, participate in the crowning of the Prime Minister? […] This stunt is as old as the world. I call it the cowardly husband strategy. You want to leave your wife but don’t have the courage to go through the difficulty of separation? So you act like a dog and wait for her to kick you out.”


 

Today in Quebec punditocracy, post-perogy edition

  1. What AP ignores is 1) this was an explicit secret deal cooked up long ago and we were lied to about it and 2) the oppo parties SIGNED AN EXPLICIT DEAL with the BQ. That is different. After all the PCS have more seats than the Libs and NDP combined. If it were a two pary coalition then they would still not be the lead party and would still not form the gov’t. They need the BQ explicitly here.

  2. Ken, that’s why we have six weeks of holidays for backroom deals. Harper is still in the best position to play Santa this Xmas. I almost hope these clowns force an election. After 3 years of agreement on all sorts of issues that should be controversial, blacktop politics has thrown Canada into crisis.

    How typical.

  3. Re: Alain Debuc: …… “it isn’t the role of the opposition to overthrow the government–if it can make the government fix its mistakes. “That’s what is going on right now. Already, the Conservatives have removed the most unacceptable items from the budget, and in the face of this obviously united opposition, it will have no choice but to put forth a budget that is acceptable.”

    Stephen Harper and the Conservatives were given a minority mandate from the Canadian voters, and this is exactly how a minority parliament should be run. COMPROMISE, COMPROMISE, COMPROMISE.
    Keep the ISSUES to the forefront, not partisanship.

  4. Wow. Is this kind of thing considered acceptable in the Quebec press?

  5. The website cut out the quote I was asking about:

    “Imagine for a second that you are an English Canadian from the west […] Yeah, I know, it’s hard, but try anyway. You are smelling the sweet odor of gas, sitting in your pick-up, an Alexander Keith between your legs.”

    I really can’t imagine what would happen if a mainstream Western paper published something like that.

  6. Explicit! Explicit! Secret! Explicit! Blah blah blah. Shut up ken, and go troll somewhere else.

  7. This stunt is as old as the world. I call it the cowardly husband strategy. You want to leave your wife but don’t have the courage to go through the difficulty of separation? So you act like a dog and wait for [her] to kick you out.”

    Priceless.

  8. Fortunately for all of us, these Conservative rallies are about as spontaneous as an East Berlin May Day parade. The staffers protesting don’t even breathe without permission from the PMO, so I doubt that they would ever take it upon themselves to do something as dangerous as destroying a Quebec flag.

  9. Daniel: In a nutshell, no it’s not.

    But Martineau, sadly, is the lind of clown who goes for these devices; that being said, just yesterday, on that blog, was referred to in these terms:

    “Richard Martineau, furious as ever, today calls a spade a spade. (I’ll be damned if I can ever guess in which direction Richard is going to fly off.) “This week, three party leaders who were not elected by the people to lead the country decided to conspire and topple a DEMOCRATICALLY elected government,” he writes today. “If this isn’t a coup d’état, I don’t know what is.” (Also, props to Le Journal: Richard uses a word that means ‘dolphin’ ’seal’ in French no less than three times, including once in a subhead. If only my editors were as cool…)”

    I can tell in wich direction Martineau will fly off: follow the spotlight!

  10. @Olivier – thanks for explaining. I’m fine with the occasional provocation here and there :)

  11. “not because they are separatists, as the Conservatives parrot, but because it will mean a centre-left government, the program of which doesn’t have democratic legitimacy.”

    So the 60% plus who voted against a conservative government in this election – AND the last 5 or 6 elections – should be ignored? Their votes are not legitimate? If that doesn’t tell you what the conservative media elite think of people who vote the worng way, I don’t know what does.

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