Today in Quebec punditocracy



This is the first installment of DMA’s daily roundup of Quebec’s leading columnists, which will continue through this coalition business.

La Presse’s Patrick Lagacé wanders off to Calgary to do his boss’s bidding–that is to say, find out if Western Canadians are mad. His answer? Yessum. “If they were Québécois, Albertans would probably be en tabarnac,” Lagacé writes today. He chats with Alan Hallman, Ralph Klein’s former campaign manager, who unloads on the coalition government plan with great quotable gusto. Interestingly enough, it isn’t Gilles Duceppe’s merry band of separatist agitators that irritates Mr. Hallman the most. Rather, it is that the spectre of a Liberal-led coalition government looks and smells just like a return to Trudeau-era government intervention (National Energy Program, still a bone in Alberta’s throat after 28 years) and rampant Central Canada favouritism.

La Presse’s Editorialist-in-chief André Pratte, who has so far blown hot and cold on the idea of a Liberal-lead coalition government, is freaking chilly today. He points out the surprising lack of meat in the coalition accord. “The more we read this accord, the more it induces a certain malaise,” he writes today. “This is ‘a plan to remedy the economic crisis’”? It is hardly clear that this plan would react any faster or any better than the Harper government. He pooh-poohs the wording of what the accord calls a partnership ‘between Canadians and Quebecers’–“What, Quebecers aren’t Canadian now?” Pratte asks–and blasts it for being woefully vague on numbers. “In short, this accord guarantees nothing to help the economy that the Conservatives haven’t already put forth.”

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…)

Le Journal’s Marco Fortier decries how the current Otta-Brouhaha [Hey, that’s pretty good!-Ed.] has descended into crass, politically motivated patriotism. He notes how the Conservatives, who broke out into a (spontaneous, I’m sure) rendition of O Canada in the hallway of the communes yesterday, have effectively become the Chrétien government, circa 1998. (Chrétien had a now-familiar habit of turning election into a national unity issue.) “Far from trying to calm nerves, the Conservatives sprayed oil on the fire in an attempt to save their own skin,” Fortier writes. “In one single day, Harper turned his back on his “open federalism” strategy towards Quebec. The days of reaching out to Quebec nationalists are over; the Conservative leader has declared war on those evil separatists.”

(There wasn’t much from Le Devoir’s marquee columnists today. Loading their guns for tomorrow’s edition, no doubt…)


Today in Quebec punditocracy

  1. I believe the word means “seal” not “dolphin”. It wouldn’t have as much impact to use “dauphin”

  2. It’s a long road yet to Rheims . . .

  3. Martin, I’ve been surprised at how negative the coalition coverage has been, overall, in La Presse.

  4. This is really valuable, DMA, thanks for doing this. If the GG prorogues, though, you should make it a weekly thing, otherwise you’ll wear yourselves out!

  5. Martin

    Has there been any reaction yet to Parizeau and his statement that Coalition is great? I am curious to see how people react to Parizeau and Dion becoming comrades.

    And agree with Jack M. Very helpful for us Anglos to have a guide on what to read.

  6. He notes how the Conservatives, who broke out into a (spontaneous, I’m sure) rendition of O Canada in the hallway of the communes yesterday

    Susan Bonner of the CBC also reports that it was spontaneous. Just as the Tory staffers (a hundred of them) spontaneously assembled in the government lobby. And just as those same staffers had spontaneously come down from the galleries above, where they had spontaneously applauded and cheered Harper during Question Period even though that’s totally against the rules of conduct in the gallery.

    All very spontaneous.

  7. Yeah, I would question whether journalists should describe anything that happens in Parliament as spontaneous. So much of it is theatre…

  8. Lets get on with things:
    The Tories are just wasting our time, our tax dollars.
    They are distracting proper government with their chants and whines about the SS: Separatists and Socialists.
    Let us remember that there is a new term in our lanquage> Corporate welfare. Socialism for the wealthy. Supported by the Conservatives and the republicans.
    I have longed for a Coalition of Progressive thinkers to take us out of old world politics,
    It is my deep hope that this Coalition could do it.
    Give them a chance.
    I am excited to see in Cabinet, extremely respected people from the NDP.
    Remember that the Greens too get many votes.,too.
    Quebecers themselves are divided about the separation issue. They need to work that out.
    For me, I am a Western Canadian, I see Alberta as a greater threat. Tar Sands and Reformists.

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