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Pauline Marois: Protecting Quebec against the fate of England

Paul Wells on the Quebec Premier’s Festival of Trial Balloons


 

From this morning’s Le Devoir:

Pauline Marois compared the French model of laïcité, which is “not perfect,” to multiculturalism as practiced in the United Kingdom. “In England, they whack each other on the mouth and send bombs because it’s multiculturalism and nobody can find a place for himself anymore in that society.”

No wonder Quebec’s premier has taken as her principle strategic text a book written by one of her senior ministers called “Nous.” She clearly finds “eux” a little disorienting.

Just about everyone could benefit from getting out a little more often. In the ’90s I had a friend at Le Devoir who spent a lot of time in jazz clubs, some of them west of Peel Street. One afternoon Lise Bissonnette, the paper’s regal publisher, dropped by his desk and said, “You talk to the anglophones. What do they think of…” and she named whatever debate of the day. In practice, Bissonnette rarely had any trouble explaining to her readers what the anglos thought, just as English-language papers outside Quebec are reliably full of insights into the francophone soul, gleaned in English over scotch at the previous evening’s Walrus fundraiser.

Marois’s latest interview is part of her summer-long Festival of Trial Balloons over her plan to bring in a Charter of Values that would ban ostentatious religious symbols, a class of object said to include yarmulkes but not to include the freaking huge statue of Christ Our Lord And Saviour in agony on the cross, which has been perched over the Speaker’s chair in the National Assembly ever since Maurice Duplessis put it there in the late 1930s in an earlier Quebec government’s bid to play wedge-issue politics with religion. For the most part, her goal today is to emphasize that any measures will be phased in gently over time. I’m just speculating here, but perhaps in the first six months, headscarves and kirpans will be permitted in the public service; in the second six months, only golf visors and hip-mounted staplers; after a year, nothing more alienating than eye shadow and Fruit Ninja.

But I’m struck by that line about England, land of multicultural assault and pyromania. Of course you don’t need to be a Parti Québécois premier to share Marois’s apocalyptic vision of the old sod: this spring, after two men with machetes beheaded a British soldier in broad daylight, Mark Steyn wrote: “Today, the dar al-Islam begins in Wellington Street, in southeast London.” But I think most observers would agree that daylight machete beheadings, while terrifying, are still rarer in England than lousy sandwiches, cloudy weather, concentrated expertise in high finance and all the other lurid and glorious accoutrements of one of the most successful civilizations under the eye of, you should excuse the expression, God, a place where tens of millions of people have no trouble finding peaceful and rewarding places for themselves without whacking each other on the mouth (excepting the odd football riot) or sending bombs.

As for the generously admitted slight imperfections resulting from (or existing despite) (or completely ignoring) France’s anti-clerical policies, they include a string of subway bombings in the not-too-distant past, the latest annual round of suburban car torchings, and plenty more. Early this year one of France’s more aggressively mediocre politicians claimed there are neighbourhoods where proper French kids are afraid to eat chocolate buns during Ramadan because roving gangs of Muslim thugs will attack. Then he apologized. Then he insisted he hadn’t apologized.

I could spend a day cataloguing Islamist and anti-Islam and anti-Semitic and other insults, attacks and slights in Britain vs. the rest of Europe, but I doubt any of you would be in a better mood by the time I got done. To be fair to Marois, there is always room for plenty of introspection about the proper balance between integration and assimilation. One of the most prominent critics of British multiculturalism has been the country’s prime minister, David Cameron. In the real world, there’s plenty of room for British anti-racism advocates to give interviews to French newspapers discussing the merits and flaws of each country’s approach.

Marois’s approach is less nuanced, but there aren’t a lot of political leaders anywhere who find themselves tempted by nuance when seeking to sell divisive policies that please their voter bases. With Marois there is this bonus: she has less travel experience and less experience working with, and observing, English speakers than any Quebec premier in my lifetime. Much of the world puzzles her. This helps explain why she hurried to what she thought would be a good-news meeting with Scotland’s nationalist leader, never pausing to consider how profoundly Scottish much of “English Canada” is, and how those ties might affect Scottish attitudes towards a Quebec sovereignist.

After the 2006 shooting at Dawson College, Jan Wong wrote in the Globe and Mail that Quebec was uniquely prone to violence because of the “linguistic struggle” there. It was a particularly egregious version of the sort of things people say about places they mostly know only from newspapers. (UPDATE: People who know Jan Wong, who grew up in Montreal, are concerned that this is a cheap shot. I’ll leave it to readers to decide whether it improves or harms their opinion of Wong to know she was reasonably familiar with Quebec, or had been earlier in her life, when she wrote that.) I sometimes have anglophone friends who worry, vaguely, that something unpleasant will happen to them on a visit to Montreal and Quebec City. I’m always happy when I can show them there is no need to worry. Similarly I hope Pauline Marois gets a chance to spend some time, incognito, in England. Perhaps after the next election.

 


 

Pauline Marois: Protecting Quebec against the fate of England

  1. If only the French played cricket, they might get a glimpse into the English soul. They play a nifty brand of soccer[football] and a mean game of rugby. But if you want to know why multiculturalism took root in the UK [apart maybe from lingering guilt over the empire] you have to get cricket.[ which is probably not the same as liking it – which explains the Americans]
    Cricket is the ultimate meritocracy – doesn’t matter if you’re a lord or the plumber. Can you play an elegant cover drive or bowl a decent googlie, that’s what really matters. That and a good set of whites and the tea break.Probably the original intent was to teach the fuzzy wuzzies some culture and fair play. But now look how far it’s gone?People from all over the world play the game, most now better than England, but we still have the most trusted umpires, which is a comfort; they’re still ensuring fair play…which is their forte really in the end…British justice and that good stuff.
    Multiculturalisim on balance, nastiness aside, has been a great boon to English/UK culture and society in general. You preserve the best of what you are and attempt to lose the rest…and there was lots worth losing.Marois should learn to play cricket. What can the English do in return…learn to make good sarnies?

  2. What Quebecois culture needs, in order to get past the hillbilly + opera + slavish-deference-to-Paris phase, is . . . immigration.

    • What a racist comment! I am honnestly offended. How comes Maclean’s let such comment be on their website?

      • Because Maclean’s has a very strong acceptance of freedom of speech. There is absolutely nothing racist in this comment, IMO.

        However, as an opera lover I am deeply offended. Especially since it was announced yesterday that Radio-Canada will no longer broadcast l’Opéra du samedi, as it did since the 1930s. Francophone opera lovers will have to listen to CBC who will have Ben Heppner as a special host starting this season.

        So who are the opera lovers?

        • Yeah, I wasn’t being racist. It’s a fact that Quebecois culture needs a boost. But it’s in far better shape than the ROC’s culture, FWIW. E.g. SRC only now gutting opera; CBC gutted it ages ago!

          I don’t know who the opera-lovers are, but Place des Arts keeps putting it on, no? In fairness there are opera-lovers in Toronto too, paying top dollar, but they haven’t got the cultural clout of the Montreal elites (or at least not outside Toronto).

          • As a season ticket holder to the Canadian Opera Company I strongly disagree. Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre is an opera house, not a multi-purpose hall like Place des Arts. There will be 7 productions in Toronto this year, 5 in Montreal.

            The acoustics in Toronto are most excellent. I have heard operas in the last row of the 5th ring and it still sounded excellent. The architect of the Four Seasons was hired for the new Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg:

            http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/2013/05/10/behind_the_scenes_at_st_petersburgs_canadiandesigned_opera_house.html

            The CBC will continue broadcasting live opera this season on Saturday afternoons; RadCan has withdrawn it in favour of pop.
            In fact, opera lovers in QC watch TFO (the French Ontario broadcaster) as it presents operas on tv on Sunday evenings, mostly European productions.

          • I stand corrected and somewhat in awe.

      • Immigration of who from where? it is a racist comment…

  3. French Quebeckers look up to France but if they only new what the french from France think about the french Quebeckers.
    the French from France think of the Quebeckers as racist and backward people.
    I over heard a conversation between two french from France on a flight from Paris to Montreal…LOL

    • You are correct, the French despise their N American cousins with a vengeance that I thought would be reserved for the English. They are looked upon as uncivilised bumpkins on the whole and are only entertained when the French think they can annoy the English speaking world.

      • Ironically this prejudice, like most national prejudices in France, comes from precisely the same source of idiotic chauvinism that inspires P. Marois.

        • This comment was deleted.

          • The accent is no more atrocious than that of the US South, which it resembles in sound and in medieval origin. People from northern and western France used to sound like that too, before the bourgeoisie grabbed power & prestige in the 19th C. Kind of like in England with its very modern Received Pronunciation (unknown before 1840, only took modern shape in 1910’s) displacing regional accents — though the process went a lot further in France. Is there something inherently more pleasant about rounded Paris vowels than open Montreal vowels?

          • They use more English words in France than in Canada by now. It has more to do with the structure of the sentences.

            By the way, Canadians don’t speak the Queen’s English, you know. Very few people do, even in the UK. I found that Australians speak a whining, nasal, barbaric English.

          • Australian is not nasal or whining, it’s almost too manly.

            The English spoken in Canada is actually historically older than the Queen’s English, as Quebec French is older than Paris French; it’s a sort of generalised amalgam of 17th and 18th C British regional accents with a strong Scottish and Northern Irish infusion from mid-20th C immigration, though the latter element is now being leveled out. There were many more changes in speech in England in the 19th century than in North America.

    • what a load of cotswollop. Montreal harbours the largest French immigrant community outside of France and it is growing rapidly, there is a significant wait for French people immigrating to Quebec.

      So you overheard A conversation, thats a pretty convincing sample size to back up your sweeping generalization. I guess the tens of thousands of Frenchmen who immigrate to Quebec every year form too small a sample to conclude anything !

      • harebell #owned hah, ooofff…

  4. I wonder if Marois realizes the absolute hypocrisy of what she is proposing. Quebec exists today as a french province because the English allowed it after the territory was conquered. There were serious debates about the benefits of assimulating the french into the prodiminently english colonies at that time but the final decision was to allow Quebec to continue to have it’s own culture. To sum it up, Quebec kind of exists because the English decided to allow a multi-cultural colony.
    It’s somewhat similar to the hypocrisy to forbidding English in Quebec but insisting that the rest of Canada be bilingual. This is completely hypothetical (Please don’t think I’m proposing such a thing) but I wonder what Marois’s response would be to a Federal policy that focused on an English only society where all French was forbidden in Government offices, signs, etc… I would guarantee she would be the first one to protest.
    To me true multiculturalism is not just tolerance of someone’s differences but loving a person because of their differences.

    • How come you despite Québec so much then? You’re such a tolerant person.

      • I like Quebec. I was merely pointing out the hypocrisy of Marois’s position.

    • At the time of the Treaty of Paris 1763 the country was a wild place, barely established, but explored and mapped by the French who had established trade routes. To make it a success, the British decided that cooperating with the Catholic Canadiens was a sound business decision. It had a lot to do with strengthening their foothold on this continent. and the troubles that were brewing in their colonies to the south.

      ‘The rest of Canada be bilingual…’ So, how’s your French?

      • I totally agree with you. I’m not saying that the British were some idealist multiculturalism crusaders. Actually, you could definitely argue against that very easily. I’m just saying that there was irony in Marois showing disdain towards the English multiculturalism when the province she now heads is the direct result of an English decision to have Quebec remain French. I find it funny that european style multiculturalism is even brought into the debate. I like Canada’s form of multiculturalism far more than the europeans.

        I would never argue that Canadian’s in general are bilingual but the government definitely is. Every report, memo etc… is translated into French. It is a prerequisite for managerial positions within the bureaucracy to be bilingual. My point was that Marois’s policy would be similar to a proposal to outlaw French within the federal bureaucracy. I believe a proposal like that would have Marois up in arms. Hence, her profound hypocrisy.

        By the way, my french is not that great but it is getting better by the day. (I’m taking classes).

  5. First off, Paul, very good article. As an American living in Montreal for the past 8 years I find it sad how the ROC views Quebec as a place to avoid rather than explore. This is a wonderful province filled with wonderful people. Unfortunately anyone even remotely associated with the PQ are not among them. I’ll disagree with Paul in that I don’t think Marois is puzzled by Anglophones at all. By her “trial balloons” and her cartoonish deputies she flat out despises them. Nevermind the fact Quebec is surrounded by 350 million English speakers Mommy Marois would rather live in a (fantasy) world where there would be no anglos at all. Then again, reality has never been a strong suit for the separatists anyway.

    • Perfectly said

    • “As an American living in Montreal for the past 8 years I find it sad how the ROC views Quebec as a place to avoid rather than explore.”

      As an Atlantic Canadian who has lived both in and outside of Quebec, I find it puzzling where this opinion comes from. Internet comments? Not only was about half of my peer-group made up of Canadians from the ROC*, but I found out that a number of people I had gone to highschool with had moved to Montreal (10-15 people).

      Are you citing an actual stat? My lived experience is just anecdotal, but it’s strongly at odds with the beliefs that you’re proposing.

      *It’s fascinating that a province which cherishes its own identity chooses to use a term – ROC – which strips every other Canadian of their provincial identity as if we don’t even have them. Its not as if data on the nation-wide importance of regional identities isn’t available in Quebec.

  6. ” I sometimes have anglophone friends who worry, vaguely, that something unpleasant will happen to them on a visit to Montreal and Quebec City. I’m always happy when I can show them there is no need to worry.”

    Too funny – white guy assures his white friends that they can pass for french for a weekend so they likely not to be harassed. Does Wells have any non-white friends and what advice does he give them about visiting Montreal or Quebec City?

    Canada’s msm is one of least diverse professions in Canada. It is shocking all the white journos not saying much about the Quebec hillbillies that dominate their society. I would be much more interested in hearing from ethnic minorities and what their experience is like in Que and what they tell their friends about visiting.

    Also, have you driven in Montreal in recently? You are risking your life when you pass under a few of those bridges, there is plenty to worry about if you are driving. I was shocked at state of roads last time we were in Montreal. Quebecers are profoundly conservative people trying to close themselves off from modern world.

    • Too funny – white guy assures his white friends that they can pass for french for a weekend so they likely not to be harassed.

      There is no indication whatsoever in that quote from Wells that the friends he’s speaking of are white, nor that the reason that he feels that they have no need to worry is that they can “pass for French”.

      • Also Canadian anglophones, for reasons obscure to me, are absolutely unable to pass as francophones in Montreal. Strange but true.

        • It’s true! I have a French last name, grandfather born and raised in Quebec and I was told as I was sitting in a cafe in Montreal that I have an English face. Of course the guy was bumming a smoke off me and had to guess which language to speak. Ya…I gave him the cigarette

    • You mean like Montreal’s considerable haitian population?

    • What about Dufferin in Toronto? And the bridge that fell in the US? Shrinking government and “starving the beast” have become public management gospel. Never mind if people die. Quebec is not alone in this.

    • I’m an anglophone ethnic minority living in Montreal from Calgary and at least from my anecdotal personal experience I felt far more racism in Calgary. Jon Stewart said something that I really found interesting once, “just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I think you’re Hitler”. Please stop making sweeping absurd arguments unfounded in facts and personal experience, driven completely by rhetoric and emotion. People like you destroy public discourse, stop hurting Canada. – Akaash

  7. Jan Wong was born and raised in Montreal (daughter of the famous Montreal restaurateur
    Bill Wong).
    She certainly has a better idea of what is means to be a non-white, non-catholic minority in Quebec that Sarnia’s-own Paul Wells.

    • It’s true. My dad was never a famous Montreal restaurateur, so I don’t know true oppression.

      • But you identify as a non-white Montrealer!?
        Seriously, Wong has a better background than any other Canadian Anglo-MSM pundit to write about being a visible minority in Quebec. Next best is ??. Paul Wells is far down the list.
        It’s not that big a deal to get it wrong. It’s worse that you’Ve never been to Bill Wong’s on Decarie. I think its gone now.

        • Whether or not Jan Wong has a better idea than any other person, or group of persons, about what it’s like to be a visible minority in Quebec has, imho, almost NOTHING to do with the inanity of her comments on the Dawson College shooting.

          Even if she’s universally acknowledged as the universe’s foremost expert on the experiences of visible minorities in Quebec, how would that fact possibly lend credence to her assertion that Quebec is uniquely prone to violence because of the language struggles there?

          • The shooter was an anglophone member of a visible minority, FWIW.

            Of course Jan Wong’s claim about violence is bullsh*t.

          • Well, Marc Lepine was a white francophone, but Wong used his as an example of Quebec’s propensity for supposedly linguistic based violence too.

          • Also the Dawson shooter was targeting fellow anglophones, so unless all neurosis stems from the neverendum . . .

            I lived in Montreal for many years and it’s about the least violent major city on the planet.

            In fairness, Wong was out to lunch generally.

          • Lépine was born Gamil Gharbi, son of a Algerian businessman and white francophone nurse. Marc Steyn loves to point that out.

    • too bad for her she never learned French, it kinda showed in her writings

  8. Mr. Wells, in his declining years, clad in his mac and wellies,
    sitting in a rent-a-chair on the pier in Weston-super-Mare
    watching the waves lap the shores of a green and pleasant
    land. Oh,and …The City.

  9. It kind of annoys me when people conflate the UK with England. It is a common thing to do but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. Also who the hell whacks each other on the mouth and send bombs to each other. I lived in Scotland and never saw any of that.
    Marois is just another ignorant reactionary klutz who is trying to dress up her ugliness of mind in some pious motives.
    The fact that the crucifix stays and the rest are banned shows only too well that this is not about keeping issues apart, its about attacking minorities and getting the state to say it’s okay.

    • Plus, whacking each other on the mouth was a long & glorious tradition in the British Isles long before the 20th C immigration. Like about 3000 years.

      • I think that long before they codified Rugby it was a tradition in most locales around the world.

  10. I think we should protect ourselves from ethnic cleansing and fascist ideology and No freedom in Quebec.

  11. It’s kind of amazing how similar the Québec left and the American right sound when they start talking about multiculturalism.

    • Today’s Quebec left would not be on the left for long if there were a working-class minority available to define itself against, as in the USA.

  12. I’m from Québec city, i’m french-canadian roots, i’m proud to speak french and english. I like my country…i traveled from coast to coast… i must tell right away i’m sick of that Marois beotch, i dont give a s$&t about religious sign…i dont want her to say some stupid things about UK, the PQ fans, are 33% of the province… So as i can see, those ”no culture french peoples” are near from extinction! But they manage to have power…unbeliveble! I pay to send my child to english school to make sure he have the choice one day to décide to go live in a normal society…Québec is rotten by 33% of the province who like to complaint on everything canada has to offer or the language disavantage… Sometime i wish that those extrémistes all die in the same plane coming back from Paris!!!

    • LIBARTÉ!

    • Your English is impossible à comprendre mon cher.

  13. Je suis Québécoise. I spent almost a month in the UK in 2003 and felt just as safe as in Montreal. Even in (gasp!) Bristol! I think the fact that Ms. Marois barely understands and speaks English (though most of her MBA textbooks were certainly in English! those were the days) is a symptom of the fact that she is not interested in English culture, institutions and people. If you are not interested, you cannot get to know them properly.

    Frankly I have never seen such an inept government, with half-baked policies or even outright neocon (cutting welfare! the kind of thing the Republicans do). They are catering to the dwindling group of bluenecks, who are old, homophobic (just ask Boisclair…), not very much educated, Catholic and fearful of anything else, and who have never seen an anglophone person or a minority person (they still call them “immigrants”, as a matter of fact – even those who were born here). And frankly calling anglophones “les Anglais” reeks of 1759.

    Mind you, this from a person who voted PQ for years. I stopped 10 years ago. But now they are just as right-wing and corrupt as the other parties. They are basically giving away our natural resources to foreigners, just like Duplessis did. Being ripped off in French instead of in English, in a much smaller and vulnerable country (but it will never happen) is not a very tempting proposition.

  14. PQ stopped being a social-democrat party under Lucien Bouchard (a Conservative).

    • Quebec’s taxes are the highest in Canada, in fact they are the highest in North America. How much higher do they need to go before Quebecers become social democrats again?

      • One, your comment makes no sense because social democrats are in favour of higher taxes.

        Two, you have to get into your head that PQ and Québécois are two different things.

        Three, it is those taxes that are paying for our daycare system, not alberta. And that daycare system has proven to be one of the most efficient poverty reduction tools in North America. D’oh!

        • Um yeah. You did not understand. You claimed there are no social democrat parties in Quebec anymore. Yet by some strange accident, taxes in Quebec remain the highest in North America, even though there are no social democrat parties anymore. So my question remains: how much higher do they need to raise taxes before you will call them social democrats again?
          And one other thing, if the poverty reduction in Quebec is so wonderful, why do they have so much more poverty than the rest of Canada?

          • ” You claimed there are no social democrat parties in Quebec anymore.” I said PQ is no longer one. Do you know there are more than 3 parties in Québec?

            The choices we make as a society outlive the political parties. Duh. Your reasoning still makes no sense.

          • Even the Liberals (headed by a Conservative, so Libs in name only) have not dared to change that and have not abolished the daycares. All they did is make sure corporations pay next to nothing for the services they use, like the roads (corporations tax in Québec is lower than in the States! Ditto at the federal level. No wonder we citizens get to pay so much and the roads are falling apart. But that of course you will not take into account.)

          • Fine, so which parties in Quebec are social democrat parties? And if the PQ is not a social democrat party, then why aren’t they proposing to lower taxes from being the highest in North America?

          • Québec solidaire. And why the obsession with taxes? You have no other interest? PQ cannot lower taxes even if they wanted to.

            You still make no sense.

          • Social democratic by definition means socialism within a democracy. Socialism requires state intervention and redistribution of wealth, and this in turn requires big government. For instance, Canada has a socialist health care system, and therefore the system is financed entirely through taxes. Therefore social democratic governments require high taxation.
            Therefore, since you claim the parties that achieved power in Quebec’s government are not social democratic, then that suggests to me you think that Quebec taxes are not high enough, even though Quebec has the highest taxes in North America. Therefore I continue to ask a question that you refuse to answer: how much higher do they need to raise taxes before you will call them social democrats again?
            Why do you refuse to answer the question?

  15. Great piece Paul, and I think it’s reasonable to examine this whole thing on its merits (few as they may be)… but I really think this is only like 20% about promoting the merits of “laicité” and 80% about some cynical pipe dream the PQ has of getting a law on the books that the Supreme Court of Canada can reject. “Look,” they think they’ll be able to say, “Canada rejects Quebec Values!!” That’s the only real end-game that fits in any way at all – though the reality on the ground in QC really argues against it making any actual sense.

    It’s kind of like the underpants gnomes from South Park. Phase 1: Collect underpants. Phase 2: ?? Phase 3: Profit!

    All anyone has to do is walk down rue Ste-Catherine on a Saturday afternoon – or go to any mall, home improvement store, or any other middle-class haunt in Montreal to see how divorced from reality is this proposal. Montreal – like the rest of Canada – is an incredibly diverse place and the reality is that everything works extremely well.

    Quebec (and not even just Montreal) passed the point of no return on multiculturalism a long time ago, and I think Marois and her cronies know it. And it’s 100% true that we’re all the better for it.

    They may hope to turn things around somehow – but it’s far more likely that this is nothing more than a cynical political ploy whose Phase 2 is as unknown as the gnomes’.

    • “Quebec (and not even just Montreal) passed the point of no return on multiculturalism a long time ago”

      Well, the English language school system is dying, and last time I looked the signs were all in French, which is quite a change from the 70s. I’d have to say the PQ has gotten a lot of what they wanted (so now they want even more, of course).

  16. A comprehensive list compiled by a NoDogsOrAnglophones contributor named “that guy”.
    http://nodogsoranglophones.blogspot.ca/2013/09/quebecs-charter-of-values-highlights.html

    And so on the anniversary of the PQ winning the provincial election let us look back on the “achievements” of the PQ during the past year:

    1. The PQ finance minister proposes retroactive taxes, needs to retract when it dawns on the party how insane that is.
    2. The PQ backtracks on its’ election promise to get rid of the Liberals’ $200 healthcare fee.
    3. Pauline’s Red square gets lost in the washing and her pots and pans get stolen.
    4. 40,000 jobs lost in Quebec since January 2013, raising the unemployment rate to 8.2% a whole percent higher than the national average.
    5. Pastagate.
    6. Daniel Breton resigns as environment minister due to intimidation allegations, 8,000 due in unpaid rent, employment insurance fraud and driving offenses including driving at 275 Km/h and driving without a license. Stays as a minister, is caught sleeping and blames it on undiagnosed sleep apnea.
    7. Huge budget cuts to universities midway through the academic year where there are very few variable costs, inevitably leading to universities taking on additional debt. At the same time they reverse the tuition hikes, further removing funding for universities, and giving them no way to make up the shortfall.
    8. Huge cuts to the healthcare sector as well.
    9. Appropriates a savings fund worth millions that daycares had saved up to pay for large cost repair projects for existing facilities. Plans to build and open many new public daycares instead of subsidizing existing private daycares at a lower cost, while also cutting the daycare budget.
    10. Blows deal with pharmacists that would see them complete simple tests to take some of the burden off the healthcare system because the PQ refuses to pay for the tests, wants the pharmacists to charge individual clients for the tests instead (so much for public healthcare).
    11. Projects corporate tax revenue to increase by 8 percent, it actually drops by 12 percent, leaving a 20% corporate tax revenue shortfall in their budget.
    12. Introduces Bill 14 which seeks to strengthen already restrictive draconian language laws. The bill would extend the language police’s prevue to middle sized businesses (26 or more employees), inevitably drastically expanding the OQLF and its’ budget; provincial politicians would have the power to remove a cities bilingual status meaning any municipal correspondences could only be in French; military families would no longer be able to decide which school to send their children to; English Cegeps would only be able to admit French students after accepting all English applicants regardless of grades; the language police would be able to seize anything from businesses they believe to be against language laws, they can also lay charges without informing business owners or giving them a chance to comply, they can demand to be shown a business at any time even outside of business hours.
    13. Introduces a discriminatory secular charter that is meant to remove religious symbols from the provincial government, gives exemptions to crucifixes worn by Christian employees as well as Christian religious symbols in and on government buildings, citing historical importance even though some of them are only 60 years old, while the Jewish community in Quebec has been living and wearing Kippas for over 200 years. That aside it tramples on the charter of rights and freedoms, because some people don’t like to see diversity, the PQ knows its’ illegal, only introduces it to start a fight with the federal government.
    14. Plans to add a Cegep provincial history course, even though there is a mandatory Quebec history course at the end of high school, calls it a national history course. No steps are taken to address the almost 40% drop out rate for male high school students in Quebec, one of the highest in the western world.
    15. The PQ pushes back the introduction of English classes in grade 1 in French schools, saying it is too difficult for children to learn multiple languages at younger ages, flying in the face of decades of developmental psychology evidence. The PQ must believe there is a difference between French and English children because the English system has had French classes starting in grade 1 since the 70’s.
    16. Marie Malavoy is selected to be the minister of education, even though she had to resign in disgrace from the 1994 PQ government when it was discovered she fraudulently voted in elections and the referendum as she wasn’t even a citizen.
    17. Cuts the education department budget by $200 million, in order to make up the shortfall the school boards have no option other than to raise school taxes (up by 60% in some regions), but this at least keeps the increase out of the provincial budget making it look better than it actually is.
    18. With an energy surplus that cannot be sold or used the PQ government goes ahead with a wind turbine project, which is less efficient than hydro power, and forces HydroQuebec to raise rates by at least 3.4% to pay for it. This means that there will be an additional surplus of unused power from the wind turbines, but the increase in price will decrease consumption adding even more to the surplus. (again keeps this increase out of the provincial budget).
    19. Considers regulating book prices so that business cannot put books on sale below a certain price. Again the same economic logic, they hope to save book sellers by increasing prices, because everyone knows people will buy more books if they cost more.
    20. Floats idea of enforcing language laws in daycares (not allowing immigrants or francophone children into English daycares) before quickly retreats.
    21. The PQ health minister wants to remove the Lachine hospital from the MUHC and place it under the CSSS, because he thinks the MUHC isn’t French enough. Even though the community fought to get the hospital into the MUHC because the CSSS planed to close most of the hospital, according to patrons of the hospital language is never an issue and everything can be received in French.
    22. Following years of the PQ complaining about cronyism by the Liberals, the PQ appoints Nicolas Girard, a MNA that lost his seat in the election, as the head of the AMT. This, even though he has no experience required for the job. The AMT needs to keep the former head of the AMT on as an “adviser” because Girand is unable to actually do the job, but is able to collect the paycheque which is about $170,000 including expenses.
    23. The PQ appoints Andre Boisclair, the former leader of the PQ to, not one, but two positions he would draw a salary from both worth 170,000 each. The PQ quickly rescinds one job offer when the appointments are discovered by journalists.
    24. The PQ minister of national resources doesn’t understand the difference between a loan guarantee and a loan, she complains that Ottawa is taking 900 million out of the pockets of Quebecers by co-signing on a 900 million dollar loan for Newfoundland so it can get a lower interest rate.
    25. Makes election promise to take over employment insurance from the federal government, even though Quebec takes out 700 million dollars more than it contributes, meaning this would have cost Quebec at least 700 million annually.
    26. December 2nd 2012: The PQ votes against itself by voting in favour of an opposition motion condemning it’s own cuts to university budgets.
    27. February 15th 2013: The PQ launches a youtube series about sovereignty, to date the videos have views of between 576 to 2,912 views.
    28. Something about a flag.

    Of course this isn’t a complete list, I’m just one man, feel free to add your favorite “achievements”. In the interest of fairness I’ll list the things the PQ actually got right:

    1. Stopped funding the asbestos industry.

    That is all.

    • Wow. You remind me why I’m glad I don’t live there anymore.

    • I would love to reprint this in The Sage News (sagenews dot see eh). Would you mind?

  17. Memo to Madame Marois : ‘le multiculturalisme à la Trudeau’ as it exists in Canada, of which Québec is a province, has not given the same results as in the UK. I live in one of the, if not the, most multicultural cities in the world and people mostly get along very well, thank you.

    Could it be that in both of the former colonial empires of France and the UK something else is at play?

  18. Good article and comments. Drinking one’s own Kool-aid is never helpful in any situation.

  19. Paul, I appreciate that your cynicism is laced with good humour. Moved to Montreal from St. John’s, Nfld. in ’72. Observed dramatic changes in Quebec during the 70s and early ’80s. Coming from another distinct culture, I empathized with the Quebecers’ frustration with the ignorance of

  20. other Canadians. But the Marois government’s policies, and perhaps the corruption scandal in Montreal, are damaging the society and culture which so many Canadians admire and love. Cirque du Soleil could only have come from a place with so much creative energy.

  21. If Pauline Marois; an evidently intolerant bigot, does not like how we do things in Canada, and loves how the French (from France) do things, perhaps she should move back to France…It is her ancestral homeland after all

  22. when the freedom of multiculturalism impact the freedom of the majority as we always seeing by accommodating muslims for everything, It is time to take action and put everyone at the same level

  23. Okay,
    that was fun, reading all the Quebec bashing. (NOT) As an English speaker
    promoting and standing up for bilingualism in Quebec, I don’t like the PQ,
    their Separatist project, Bill 14, and lots more. I had to read to the very end
    of these comments to find somebody who intuitively understood the real issue in
    Marois’s push for a Quebec Charter of values. She is a woman and women’s rights
    issues interest her. It is not PC to speak directly to the aggressive nature of Islam so she couches her Charter as an egalitarian one, against all ostentatious religious symbols, of all faiths.

    Firstly, Quebec needs Canada and Canada needs Quebec. Let’s work together.
    Quebec and Montreal are the best places in the world. I’ve seen 22 countries
    and lived overseas. There is a bigger issue surfacing. There’s so much
    misinformation in the comments here. I’ll just say that you are all off on
    tangents, are fiddling while Rome burns, not that Rome was a good model.

    The British had to offer Quebec concessions to keep her on side. Those
    concessions were contained in the Quebec Act of 1774 which guaranteed language,
    religious practice and legal system control. Have you noticed that the U.S. was
    born in 1776, two years after the Quebec Act? The U.S. had solicited the
    participation of Quebec in the fight against the English imperial power.
    Wisely, Quebec chose to play coy and let the two English speaking groups fight
    it out, obtaining linguistic and religious rights in the process. England gave
    nothing for free. Quebec had this bargaining chip, and that’s how French
    survived here, not because the British were promoting multiculturalism.

    Now, the main issue. Although ‘Freedom’s English is not great, he hits the nail
    on the head, IMO, with:

    “Freedom

    • 19 days ago−

    when the freedom of multiculturalism impact the freedom of the majority as we
    always seeing by accommodating Muslims for everything, It is time to take
    action and put everyone at the same level”

    The up-and-coming issue is that Canada is not able to assimilate or even integrate
    Muslim peoples under our multicultural umbrella. I have been a big proponent of
    multiculturalism, but seeing what is happening to Europe, I have re-evaluated, and begun tempering, my bubbly idealistic naïvety, something which determined religious opportunists can easily exploit.

    I do not want to see Sharia Law in Canada. But, that’s where we’re heading. It has been demanded once already in Ontario, and only women’s protests stopped it. Quebec said no, fortunately. If we are honest, we need to admit that we are at war with Islam in Afghanistan, and with Iraq and world terrorism via our alliance with the U.S. The Islamic penetration of our country is now 3.2%. That’s when the first signs of non-assimilation start. Islam is a violent religion even if many of the people following it have cherry-picked and are trying to stay peaceful and find some peace in it. Just read the Koran, the equivalent of our old-testament. Christians are currently being massacred around the world, i.e. Egyptian Copts…

    Sharia Law provides for stoning of adulterous women, chopping off of
    hands and feet as punishments, death for apostacy, domestic spousal abuse, denial
    of education to girls, honor killings and more. Islam is a world supremacist ideology
    with religious, political and militaristic components. We have already been
    fighting it for 1400 years. I would welcome anybody’s comments on the history
    of Islam. Colonization of western democracies is the current Islamic approach,
    defeat the ‘infidel’ by using his own democratic generosity, then bite the naïve hand that feeds.

    Turkey’s President plans to build a $100 million mosque near Washington, D.C.
    .
    For now, our Islamic population is playing possum. Wait till the birthrate
    difference begins to increase Islam’s percentages. Harper, like him or not has
    said, “’Islamicism’ is the biggest threat to Canada.”

    Although I love multiculturalism, it is a flawed system. The Canadian birthrate at 1.6,
    suicide level for our culture, is far below Islamic immigrants’ rate of 2.2+. We
    can be out-reproduced unless we are careful and Sharia Law brought in by the
    new democratic majority. It’s happening in Holland, Belgium, Brussels, London,
    Paris… Islam in the Koran specifically stipulates no contact with infidels,
    and no quarter given to other religions. It’s winner take all. Pauline can see
    the writing on the wall, can the rest of us?

    Il n’est pas du racisme de se défendre contre une idéologie envahissante destructrice.

    It is not racism to defend oneself from an invading destructive ideology.

    • Wasn’t Islam a pre-renaissance centre for inquiry which helped end backwards thinking in medieval Europe? “…to wear a burqa, hijab or headscarf during daily life is not prescribed specifically anywhere in the Koran”
      [http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/the-truth-behind-the-burqa/]. It
      seems the Bible and the Koran are remarkably similar, advising women to
      be moderate, and promoting male dominance. Could it be that Islamacism
      is not a problem, but fundamentalist Islamacism is a problem? Just as
      fundamentalist Christians can be a problem (talk about a threat to
      women’s rights! Don’t see Harper helping there much – he just stopped
      funding for abortions in cases of war-rape.). The biggest threat to
      Canada, and everywhere else, is dwindling resources on a finite planet,
      and a controlling “One Percent” with a very mediocre imagination. If resource is the end game (it always is), Canada is very rich, and the meanest of the wealthiest may very well wish to try to divide her. Marois is just playing the game, Maybe Harper is helping her.

    • BTW I love Quebec, and I love Canada. We are all very lucky. For now.

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