The ego behind the exits at the PQ - Macleans.ca
 

The ego behind the exits at the PQ

Paul Wells on how Jacques Parizeau lives to undermine leaders who don’t share his reckless passion for sovereignty


 
The ego behind the exits

Clement Allard/CP

Consider the curious case of Pauline Marois: intelligent, dedicated, elegant, prone to losing. In 1985, she ran for the Parti Québécois leadership and lost to Pierre-Marc Johnson, who would not last two years in the job. In 2005, she ran again and lost to André Boisclair, who would not last two years in the job. In 2007, she ran again, unopposed this time, and did not lose. She has kept the job for nearly four years. Her leadership even survived an election loss at the end of 2008. So that’s something.

In April, she won the most resounding vote of confidence of any leader in her party’s history, over 93 per cent. By that shaky measure she’s more popular among Péquistes than René Lévesque or Lucien Bouchard ever were. Most polls suggest she’ll beat the desperately unpopular Jean Charest in the next provincial election. And yet Marois’s PQ is falling apart.

On Monday, three members of her caucus resigned to sit as Independents. On Tuesday morning a fourth joined them. Each said she’s a great lady, while admitting she leads a party they can no longer support. Marois scrambled to contain the damage, or indeed simply to comprehend it. Well she might: no wily opponent brought her this low. It was all an accident. She was side-swiped by two of the biggest egos in the history of Quebec politics.

The first culprit is Régis Labeaume, who seemed a clever fellow when he came out of nowhere to become Quebec City’s mayor in 2007. Re-elected in 2009 with nearly 80 per cent of the vote, he has looked increasingly like Captain Ahab in pursuit of a white elephant (these stories always get mangled in translation): a new hockey rink for Quebec City. Labeaume has managed to con Charest’s provincial government into splitting the bill for his project with the Quebec City municipal council. Only Stephen Harper, among federal party leaders, finally decided he would oppose Labeaume’s demands for federal money, although even Harper seemed sorely tempted for a long time. Quebec City has a lot of seats. A popular mayor is a handy friend. For that matter, an increasingly frenzied, single-issue mayor is an annoying enemy.

So when Labeaume finally shook loose a private-sector investor for his scheme, Quebecor honcho Pierre-Karl Péladeau, he added Péladeau to the list of subjects he could use to bully politicians. He called for a new provincial law removing other developers’ right to challenge the Péladeau deal in courts. And if that wasn’t cheeky enough, he demanded that the law be passed tout de suite, before the national assembly rose for the summer. Which would require all-party consent.

Labeaume was proposing a trifecta of lousy government: citizens’ rights and the privileges of parliamentarians would take a back seat to an untendered sweetheart deal with a plutocrat. It made no sense for Marois’s party to introduce the bill Labeaume demanded, except, of course, that she was kind of hoping to win the aforementioned Quebec City seats in the next election. So her caucus would just have to hush up.

It might have stayed hushed, too, if it weren’t for the owner of the other outsized ego in the picture: Jacques Parizeau. The first three defectors from Marois’s caucus were Parizeau surrogates. Lisette Lapointe is his wife. Louise Beaudoin was one of his senior ministers. Pierre Curzi, a movie actor who’s newer to electoral politics, is a Parizeau admirer from way back.

Parizeau was at the national assembly when everything blew up on Monday. He has almost never been far when trouble hit the sovereignist movement. He led a walkout from Lévesque’s government in 1984 that ended Lévesque’s career. He undermined Lévesque’s successor, Pierre-Marc Johnson. Much later he was a constant critic of Lucien Bouchard when Bouchard replaced him. He’s made no secret of his disdain for Marois. He sees her as too weak an advocate of separatism. He talked up Gilles Duceppe for a while earlier this year. Then Duceppe ran into a spot of electoral trouble on May 2, as you may have heard.

What does a hockey rink have to do with the half-century-old separatist project? Not much. Marois just got squeezed, is all. Jumping through Labeaume’s silly hoops made her weak. Being weak made her the latest victim of the Parizeau wing’s orthodoxy. In both cases it was nothing personal.

There was a fitful attempt in some Quebec circles after the May 2 federal election to depict the Bloc Québécois’ disastrous showing as excellent news for the separatist movement. At last, supporters of sovereignty could stop dividing their energy between Ottawa and Quebec City. The re-election of Stephen Harper, and the NDP sweep of francophone Quebec, would throw the different political cultures of Quebec and English Canada into sharp relief.

Perhaps by the weekend some clever theorist will venture to describe Marois’s discomfiture as a similar boon to the sovereignist movement. Don’t buy it. Jacques Parizeau actually has a point: the PQ keeps falling into the hands of leaders who don’t share Parizeau’s reckless, romantic passion for the cause. But that’s simply because Quebecers don’t, either. How does Jean Charest, the least popular premier in the country, a bigger supporter of Labeaume’s dumb schemes than Marois is, survive while she flounders? Partly it’s skill, to be sure. But mostly it’s because he doesn’t have to spend half his time chasing fantasies.


 

The ego behind the exits at the PQ

  1. Quebec separatism died some time ago. It’s only now though, that some are beginning to notice the stench of its rotting corpse.

    • Quebec separatism gained points in the last few years. The PQ is dying, not the mouvement. Big nuance.

  2. I am glad to hear that enthusiasm for proper separatism movement is dying out.

    And even tho I know very little about Quebec politics, it is always delightful to watch the separatists fight amongst themselves. 

    I think left wing types are idealists and are convinced they all know how to save world. Utopians act out when things are going wrong. 

    Interesting story today from UK looking at transfer of power between Blair and Brown. Left wing types can be vicious towards one another, always seem to put their own narrow utopian view ahead of party’s interests. 

    “Michael Gove, the education secretary, is confident his office will be cleared of leaking the documents that implicate Ed Balls in a plot to remove Tony Blair after Whitehall sources indicated that an internal Labour feud is behind the breach of security.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jun/10/michael-gove-ed-balls-plot-papers

    • TonyAdams,

      Not just leftists are idealists – all politicians are idealists – that’s why they go into politics. The unfortunate thing is that when they get elected they soon realize the world is not ideal. Stephen Harper thought he was the answer to save Canada – not sure from what, but that’s not the point right now – he quickly found out it’s not that easy. 

      Also, politics in Quebec are not based on left/right so it would be incorrect to frame it that way. Politics in Quebec are based purely on the “national question.” Many PQ members are right-leaning (Lucien Bouchard is a case in point) while others are left-leaning..same thing with the Charest Liberals. Charest is more to the right but has a caucus with many who are to the left. 

      So, to try to explain this in terms of left-wing politics and idealism is, in itself, not ideal. 

    • . Left wing types can be vicious towards one another, always seem to put their own narrow utopian view ahead of party’s interests

      And what exactly was going on when the cons pulled down Thatcher like an old and toothless Lion? Biggest bit of back stabbing since Brutus did for Caesar. Lefty politicians are no different from righties…they all know where their best interests lie where loyalty is concerned. Give it up brother…conservatives are no more guaranteed a free passage into heaven then the rest of us.

      • “Lefty politicians are no different from righties.”

        I didn’t claim the right wing were not vicious but left wing much more so. Read your history and you will see.

        Left wing are utopians, not realists.

        “The SD congress was evenly divided between the two men. Lenin claimed that he represented the majority and his group became known as the Bolsheviks …. They split and by 1912 they were separate Marxist parties …. The Mensheviks believed that Russia was not yet ready for the Revolution.”

        “The Labour party was thrown yesterday into turmoil by the open letter written by three of its leading moderates about what they termed the gravest crisis in its history ….. Many supporters of the so-called “Gang of Three” believed their actions would increase the chances of splitting the party and making its problems worse.”

        “Liberals were doing a poor job of disguising their leadership tensions to U.S. embassy officials, according to a newly released wave of diplomatic cables on Wikileaks.

        In fact, Bob Rae, the newly named interim leader of the Liberals, appeared to be a particularly obvious challenge to past leader Michael Ignatieff, the cables show.”

        • Nice rhetorical device.  Make a point about the “left wing,” then use Liberals, Labour and some of the worst mass murderers of the 20th century as examples, thus equating current democratic political parties with some of history’s greatest monsters.

          • Steve Pinker: But the newest research is showing that many properties of the brain are genetically organized, and don’t depend on information coming in from the senses.

            Most intellectuals today have a phobia of any explanation of the mind that invokes genetics.

        • “Left wing are utopians, not realists”

          The National Socialist Party refutes you; the Holocaust refutes you…Iraq refutes you…some realists alright!

          I know, i know…there was Stalin and Mao – even bigger murders if possible. But it’s a bizarre distinction that fools like Goldberg like to mess with…i’ll pass if you don’t mind. Besides it only makes my point; both the left and the right are equally capable of horrors. It shouldn’t be such a suprise or point of contention – it’s a very dark part of being human. 

          • “The National Socialist Party refutes you …. ”

            A Socialist party murdering millions refutes my assertion that left wing are utopians? If you say so. 

            I think you and Adorno are an awful a lot alike. 

            Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany rejected all liberal ideas. 

            They tried to subordinate everything to the State. Basic human rights were subjected to brutality and to terror. 

            Whereas Stalin, however, was content to extend his control over the Soviet Union, it was Hitler who aimed at unlimited territorial and racial aggression of a master race.

            http://www.historyguide.org/europe/lecture10.html

            Ever since Theodor Adorno came out with his scandalously flawed Authoritarian Personality in 1950 …. According to this school, sympathy for communism was an indication of openness and healthy idealism. Opposition to communism was a symptom of your more deep-seated pathologies and fascist tendencies.
             
            According to Adorno, subjects who saw Nazism and Stalinism as similar phenomena were demonstrating their “idiocy” and “irrationality.”

            http://old.nationalreview.com/goldberg/goldberg200603220735.asp

          • Where on earth do you get from my comment [ in which i acknowledge Stalin and Mao were worse, if it all possible, then Hitler] that i’m a communist sympathizer? What i did point out was that the Holocaust and Hitler were largely a symtom of deluded right wing nationalistism; but no matter, it didn’t stop Stalin from being a anti-semite and a mass murderer either. Furthermore Orwell is one of my great heroes, and he wasn’t shy about railing against the idiocies of the left as well as the right.
            There are times when i wonder if you aren’t so self absorbed in your desire to put the right on some kind of virtuous pedestal, that you don’t even bother to read anyhting, let alone ponder anything, that doesn’t support that neurotic view of humanity.

    • I`d like to reply to RobertMcClelland, TonyAdams and Mike514. By the way, I always enjoy reading your comments, thanks for your input!

      Mike514, you say Harper`s the big winner here…because he has not beeing dragged into the mess…(!)l, he didn`t have any icetime, so how could he score points? You can`t give credit to Harper for beeing vague…He`d have too much by now. He`s just not in the game.

      RobertMcClelland, maybe you should read more about Quebec, I presume you wouldn`t assume the separatism mouvement is dead. We are talking about the PQ here, and yes I agree that they just started smelling the rotting corps. It started has a revolutionary party and got caught up by time, a whole generation has not seen any action from it, and revolutions, as we know, arestarted by the younger portion of the population. There is 3 souverainism parties to vote for in Quebec, or the Liberals, which gets blindly 80% of the english`s vote. A reorientation of the political map is very possible, as we have seen on May 2. The PQ is dying, not the souverainism mouvement, which is actually 12 points stronger then in 1994, reaching an incredible peak in 2005 (17 points more then in 94) with the sponsorships scandals. ( 50 years ago it was 4 guys in a living room, not bad.)
      The greeks took 500 years…
       
      Tony Adams, your comments are always a pleasure to read and it`s reassuring to know there is such commentators on the internet scene. Your enthousiam for the disparition of a nation, with the little knowledge you have of Quebec`s politics you said, is then really, a xenophobic comment. The independantists are not evil, they are spread out over a tiny portion of their original territory, and live their lives just as you and I. A small fisherman`s village, 99% french, 95% independantists, won`t change their mind over anything possible that could happen. It is not because their fishing boat fly the Quebec flag, that they are not your friends, American as we all are. Threat them respect, as you would do in a store, you are not helping your cause there,ifyou have any but the old classic Quebec bashing.

      And by the way, Paul Wells got trapped in Parizeau`s game, by talking more than he did. The guy`s doing a symbolic move, he`s 80 and getting bored at home. Lévesque, perfectly bilingual, Parizeau studied at the London School of economics ( bilingual-british), the one before Marois, Boisclair, studied at Harvard (bilingual)….With Pauline`s english, how can she dare pretend to be the ultimate candidate to represent Quebec`s interest accross the world? Easy target.

      • John Burroughs  
        Thanks for thoughtful reply. Don’t get much of those around here.

        Maybe I am xenophobic, maybe I am not. I think all humans are xenophobic in one way or another. We are very tribal.

        I am live and let live kind of person – I have no problem with Quebecers. I have been to Montreal many times for lost weekends of partying and have had nothing but good experiences with locals.

        My problem with Quebec is more philosophical:

        “….. the fundamental difference, the difference that defines the difference between American, Anglo-American conservatives and European welfare states, leftists or liberals, is Locke versus Rousseau. 

        Rousseau says the government is there, that our rights come from the government, that come from the collective. Locke says our rights come from God, and that we only create a government to protect our interests.” Jonah Goldberg

        Quebec fans of Rousseau and I am not. Much prefer Locke. I would be happy for Quebecers to stay in Canada if they would change their political beliefs to Locke. Also, I am fan of small states and Quebec separating would probably improve their way of life because Anglos would not occasionally interfere. 

        I also would not have problem if Canada broke up and each Prov became its own country. I would prefer many small countries rather than one large one.

        • Hey quick response! you seem a bit more moderate now. It is interesting the way you bring up Locke and Rousseau…Yes there are fondamental differences, that have evolve with time, making it way too simple to bring it back to 2 lines of toughts. Interventionism is the way Quebec had to go to get out of religious and corporate (english) control. Once again it is way too simplistic to bring it back to these 2. Francophones split their vote between left, center or right parties, all souverainists. The only federalist party in Quebec has most of the english’s votes, not enough to get elected, so Charest has to play the nationalism card if he wants to be elected, and Harper has to step on the same card to get elected in Canada.

          The real problem, Tony, is right under your nose when you come to Montréal. Because of the mondialisation and that Montréal is so hot right now, it attracts a lot of new comers, like most places in Canada. The thing is, according to polls, canadians don’t care if the immigrants speak french or english when they arrive to Canada. It is NOT a problem in Canada but in Quebec, the thing is they might go for english. There is more than 250 000 people that have lived in Quebec for more than 10 years and don’t speak french at all. How insulting is that, even to norvegians on holidays? All of our banks, airports, ports, federal institutions…run in english. How contradictory is that in a french province (N-Brunswick is the only bilingual one) 

          Check this stat and then think again.

          % of french speaking in Quebec 2001….81.1%
                                                         2006….79.1%

          The most optimistic projections are 72% in 2050.

          % of french speaking in Montreal…54% and going down…

          Although there is a baby-boom…

          The thing is as soon as something is done, or get talked about, anglos are spitting on it, fearing for their rights and overfinanced universities and hospitals, I am not saying that the`re bad. (THE best treated minority in the world) The insecurity of the french in Montreal has a reason to exist.

          Quebecers are now only 23% of the population and time has come for the west and Ontario to get more seats in Ottawa, which they deserve.

          I hope that you understand, in these condition, Quebec is dying. It is not about Rousseau or Locke, but about the survival of a nation. Can Quebec really assimilate its immigrants? It takes time. And time we don`t have when our original constitutionnal powers get walk on all the time, like canadians love.

          And after all interventionism wasn`t that bad, excluding the 1% of the super rich americans, 99% of quebecers are richer than 99% of the americans…We have less poors per capita and they are the richest in Canada. Maybe read Rousseau again. ( I am more for Locke:-)

          I hope that when you come to Montréal next time, you’ll have a tough for what your grand childrens might never experience. Don’t forget to come visit the new Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant! Woop Toronto!

          http://www2.lactualite.com/jean-francois-lisee/la-fin-des-deux-solitudes-voir-cest-savoir/9061/

        • Thanks for restaurant tip, good timing. I go to Montreal for weekend of enjoyment every 2-3 years and my missus and I are just now planning our Mont weekend we take soon. I speak barely coherent French but I always try. I often find French people will take mercy on me and switch to English after I try to speak in French and mangle the language.  

          Your description of people living in Quebec who don’t speak French is exactly what I am talking about Locke v Rousseau. I think people get to decide what language they speak. It is not illegal to speak English in Quebec so the English speakers speak English. 

          However, the local french population, the majority of people in Que, do not like individuals within their community/Prov. To me it is classic battle of individual rights v collective rights. 

          I believe people have right to speak whatever language they like. Language is all about identity and taking someone’s identity away to fit into collective is not something I support. 

          However, I also understand why local people go crazy when people aren’t speaking local language. I lived in South Korea for over a year and I learned local language, I didn’t expect all Koreans to accommodate me. 

          I also don’t understand why non-French speaking people move to Quebec.  Why emigrate to place where you don’t speak language but a few hours east or west, people will understand you much better. Makes no sense to me.

          “Rousseau says the government is there, that our rights come from the government, that come from the collective. Locke says our rights come from God, and that we only create a government to protect our interests…”

          “There is more than 250 000 people that have lived in Quebec for more than 10 years and don’t speak french at all. How insulting is that….. ”

          Locke: Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.

          Rousseau: Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains

          • Hey Tony, yes it is very interesting to compare Locke and Rousseau, and has I said, I agree more with Locke, like you apparently. Yes there are significative philosophical differences, but the debate is way beyond that. I am not for the goverment to impose its views on the minority, ”Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself” I love that. Rousseau or Locke, is a very legitimate debate, that we leave in our subconsious.. One of the main problem in Quebec is express through Minaka2 toughs, a few comments bellow. I`d be surprise if you have never experienced it, but there is definitly a francophobia hanging in the air. Listen to that teen from Ottawa who made the news for racists comments on youtube, or Minaka2 way more subtil…They are just posting opinions like we do, but there are thousands thinking the same way. You would surprise me if you`d deny that fact. The way the english walk on collective rights of the french majority, in a list too long to write here, is a FACT that most likely you don`t dig deep enough when you come to Montreal (completly different reality from the counrtyside, we`ll talk about it another time. Just last week I was in a restaurant, there was a table of 4 apparently hard-cored english (westguetto) who refuse to be served by a charming french waitress…The manager had to come…or english extremist boycotting products from France (YES!! its true!!) …the reality on the terrain deserves way more consideration from anglos in Canada, and especially in Quebec.

            And that you don`t care if new immigrants speak french or english, is very admirable, I would prone the same in an Independant Quebec, the thing is you guys don`t feel the pressure of a ocean of 320 million french around you, and it is ok because the immigrants will eventually learn english…or even second generation. Do you really fear they`ll go for french or spanish?? I agree with Locke`s philosophy but for NOW, Quebec as a province cannnot assimilate its immigrants. Look at the numbers and call me seclusive if you`d like, but we know now who are the most racist.

            Sincelery,

  3. wish I could see the article, but that “Related Content” window is in the way.

  4. A bunch of nut cases,.

  5. So is Duceppe going to replace her? You didn’t say; and will it make any difference? If Marois is the perpetual loser, better for Canada she keep her job,

  6. Harper’s looking like the big winner here. His decision not to get involved in the arena funding seems to be paying off, as he’s not being dragged into this ridiculous mess.

  7. Digression: Is there a way to contact the Macleans tech department? Comments cannot be viewed on an iPhone.

    I hope I can’t only properly access the Macleans website on a desktop computer.

  8. The French “by hook or by crook” separatists are fanatics and/or stupid.  Here’s the proof.  Would you try to start your new country with a vote of 50% plus 1, especially when there have been several failed attempts before with a much larger vote difference?  Not only that, but you fooled many of your own voters with an unclear question.  When they discover they can’t keep their billions of dollars worth of goodies and rights as Canadian citizens and must live at a much lower standard of living, that’s the recipe for civil war in which the lying separatists will be in the minority.  Parizeau is a megalomaniac fool who should stay in France where he has a second home and go down with that socialist ship if he wants to live in an independent French speaking country.

    • Hi Minaka2, I am so disapointed you answered like that with a bunch of xenophobic terms. I am very moderate, but I will make it a duty to completly destroy and deconstruct your STUPID, RETARDED, RACIST arguments. So hold on tight, here we go darling, point by point.
       
       
       1- ”The french…” – It is a gross generalisation of the real situation on the terrain, to the limit racist. Independantists are from Québec, yes, France, all right, but also anglos in Quebec, americans in Quebec, british, italians, greeks, acadians, canadians, natives, mexicans, germans, portuguese…do I have to keep going? You don`t have to insult everybody, altough your gratuitous racist hatred seem to go towards the french only.
       
      2- ”…by hook or by crook..” – Is to be determined not a quality? By crook – there is way more exemples compromising the federal goverment than the provincial…It is hard to deny that all the politicians at every level, always worked hard at serving their voters best interests. The crook is Ottawa, which was judged and judge in court. The hook – that`s what about anglo-republicain talked about, the reality is there`s no hook, only right-wing english fear propaganda programs.(Anglos in Quebec are by far the best treated minority in the world, I will always defend that.)
       
      3-”…separatists..” – is a pejorative term, it would be more appropriate to say independantists or souverainists…well, in geopolitics. Canadian journalists very much like that term though.

      4-”…are fanatics and or stupids.” Pure insult. You are fanatic and stupid. I am still on the first phrase, you know that.

      5- ”Here`s the proof:…” Read yourself again, it is clearly an opinion.

      6- ”the whole thrid phrase” – 50+1 is an untouchable fact. Agreed and used by the United Nation, if Quebec only had to get a party elected to get into Canada in 1867(under suspicious conditions), it`s already nice enough to make a referendum. And why try again? Because the option is immensly strong with the population born after 1978, 2.2 million, who didn`t have a chance to vote in 95, and there`s enough litterature on how Ottawa stole and cheated in 95. It will never stop.

      7-”…the question was unclear..” hahahahah. People knew what they were voting for.

      8-” The whole phrase is about money and rights and standard of living…” Billion dollar goddies I am not sure what you talk about. I invite you to check out this video in which Francois Legault, 100x millionnaire for his aviation company, explain how Quebec has minimum 5 billion surplus in its pockets the first year, assuming all of its depts (as well as 23% of the canadian one) and a smooth transition.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHtK0XHPgmA
       And about human rights I am not too concern in America you know, besides crazy extremist people like you. For standard of life, it is in your head, or in federalist stats, but the FACTS are that 99% of quebecers are richer than 99% of the americans*, take off the 1% of the super-rich. (USA is the world`s leader.) So socialism hasn`t work that bad. I don`t have room to list all the benefits that the anglos in Quebec take a pleasure to ignore or criticize heavily.

      9-”…civil war in which the lying separatists will be in minority….” Civil war on this modern continent is alarmist and paranoiac. Although a civil war within Quebec`s borders would be won easily, at is has been done many times in history pre-1900, and the british came to calm the game. Lovely.

      10-” Parizeau megalomaniac, should go live in France to live in a french country…” Megalomania would be an overestimation of its powers, which is more what the federal did and is still doing…everything is relative. And to go live in France hahahahhaha….incredible…we are millions to live a fullfiling life in french and we keep attracting more and more brilliant people. You are in complete denial. Incredible. And why Parizeau`s image is attached to France is because of his numerous official visits, he`s probably as much british as french, but only if you can objectively read a book about it. The thing is that he fancied having France reconising quikcly, in a matter of hours. He wanted to put pressure on the USA so it becomes the first country to reconise it, for the obvious matter that it is on its own continent. The states would have talked first.

      It took a while but I hope I can get some well-spoken canadians to calm their friends down.
      Minaka2`s arguments = RACISM!

      It is Umberto Eco, italian writer who says: ”Racism is a mental disease”
      Now that there`s a diagnostic, you can go get treated instead of reading and commenting on adult stuff.

      ***http://www2.lactualite.com/jean-francois-lisee/niveau-de-vie-think-big-quebec-vs-usa/7282/

      • Sorry John,

        Not saying I agree with @minaka2:disqus , but I think you weren’t being fair with your some of your reply.

        You quote ‘the French’, and go on to make the comments that look like it was racist or something. The original post said The French (by hook or by cook) SEPARATISTS are fanatics and/or stupid.’ They weren’t talking about a group of people, identified only by which language they speak. They were talking about a group who can be identified by their beliefs. That being the case, they are certainly within their rights to explain why they think those beliefs are wrong. Minaka2’s comment leads me to believe that there are French speaking people in Quebec who are not separatist, and therefore they would agree with minaka2’s post.

        I like how you say the crooks are in Ottawa (we all know that they are everywhere), yet Maclean’s just ran a cover story saying that Quebec was the most corrupt province in the country.

        People who want to separate from a country can, without being offended,be called separatists. Not an insult, but an appropriate term.

        Most of what minaka2, you, and I write is opinion. That doesn’t make it wrong. A verifiable fact that disproves it makes it wrong.

        If you are not sure what they were talking about with the ‘billion dollar goodies’, you have been living in a cave. Quebec is the biggest ‘have not’ province in Canada. What that means is that it is the biggest recipient of equalization payments, ie. money from the rest of Canada. If you have no idea that Quebec gets billions of dollars from the rest of Canada, every year, then you would be one of the people who minaka2 believes was lied to by the people running the seperatist movement. Also, it would prove the the ‘question’ about how to seperate wasn’t very clear, as the moment Quebec left Canada, it would be running at a huge defecit. Financially, Quebec is the biggest winner when it comes to being a part of Canada.

        That being said, was your millionair friend in the video taking into account Quebec’s share of the national debt. (I feel it would be most fair that Quebec take a share, based on their % of total population.) Or, was the video produced assuming that Quebec leave, and leave their share of the debt for the rest of Canada to repay? Heck, if that was the case, and I lived in Quebec, I would vote to seperate as well. What a great deal. (Not for the rest of Canada, but sure would be for Quebec).

        What does the US have to do with minaka2? That was out of left field.

        Please provide me with a link that can prove 99% of Quebecois are richer than 99% of Americans. That to me is just a silly statement to make, and I submit it will not be proved.

        Socialism does work bad, and without Canada’s extra money, Quebec would find that out very quickly. Europe is proving it now.

        I find it amazing that you discount so easily the idea of civil war. (I don’t think it would happen, but I wouldn’t laugh about it.)

        “(Anglos in Quebec are by far the best treated minority in the world, I will always defend that.)” First of all, I would submit that minorities in the rest of Canada have more rights than Anglos in Quebec. (First of all, we don’t perpetually see them as ‘minorities’) Also, seeing as how you like to ‘divide’ Quebec by how people speak would paint you as a racist. I personally see everyone as a person, and what they speak is irrelevant. They say in the future that we will all have devices that can translate for us, so we will be able to speak whatever language we want. The fight to ‘defend’ a language, anywhere in the world, will soon be moot.

        Your paragraph about Parizeau totally was out in left field. All minaka2 said was that Parizeau was not representing the majority of Quebecers, if they had accurate information, and therefore should get out and leave Quebec alone. That he has a house in France makes it a great place to suggest that he go. You spun that into so much more.

        Last time I checked, Sarkozy doesn’t even pay lip service to the Quebec sovereignty movement. Don’t see why the US would.

        All in all, you didn’t hit your target. You said that you would prove that all of what minaka2 posted was untrue. You put in a lot of opinion, stuff that on it’s face isn’t true, showed that you were ignorant about things that average Canadians know, and showed that it is quite possible that you are racist. I was actually hoping for some good information, because as a regular Canadian, I would love to know the facts that support the sovereignty movement. You disappointed me.

        • Hey finally some thoughfull answers. I am very flattered you answered like that with elaborate dilemmas…This blog has already taken an hour of my precious time, but what the heck, I am deep to the neck, and after all, if I can change 1 person opinion, it would have been worth it. So are you ready guys, put your reading glasses on.

          I will first answer to Modster99 and then to Minaka2.

          Modster99, just as I did with Minaka2, I am very sorry but I will have to completly destroy and deconstruct your arguments.

          1- Lets start with the quote “French“ in the first phrase: ”The French “by hook or by crook” separatists are fanatics and/or stupid.”   It is racism, open your eyes. I know you don`t agree completly with Minaka2 and that should be of it. It should have been separatists, that`s it. Read again, closely. The same phrase without french would have been the same. Independantists ”by hook or by crook” are far from beeing all french, origin or language,

          2- About the Maclean`s cover, it has been extensively proven that it was a xenophobic article. Even the liberals asked for apologies. The thing is I am not saying Quebec is not the most corrupted province, or a province where corruption is more detected, the thing is who is the second province, the third, the tenth..you know what I mean. For an intellectual magazine like Maclean`s it was suprising to see PURE sensationalism,  on top of it in the form of the much loved, old classic, Quebec bashing.

          3- About ”separatists” I did not say it`s an insult or that it is not appropriate, I said it would be MORE appropriate to say independantists or souverainists. I did`nt even know I was that subtil.

          4- It`s a blog and to make it short OF COURSE I know about equalization payments. No time now for a book, but it would all be air in an independant Quebec…we use to pay some as well. Quebec`s money actually helped developped a lot of english cities when you think about it. Also we are excellent negociators. The “socialist“ system (which is not really one actually..) makes us ask for more cash that we don`t really need, makes it look like we need it. It should be tax points instead…federal tax, that is BS…

          5-yes my “millionaire friend“ considered 23% of the canadian dept, our portion of the population.

          6- Civil war, you go to far, I did not laugh about it, it is very untrue.

          7- Make more non-federalist research, about the french-canadians (the french in Canada, not Quebecers) I have lived more than half my adult life in ”english” Canada, as a minority. My uncle is english in Quebec as minority, and man life is english in profusion. I could never be served in french at a hospital, clinics, restaurants, shops, post office(well..)  Don`t fall for the old Trudeau`s roadsigns, that is real BS. Do I have to (maybe) remind you that french school were closed for over 100 years in canada, diluted, like the natives, so was the plan.

          8- I know in peace with myself, that I am not a racist. My family is mostly in Ontario and BC, my dog is from Yukon and my hatred from Ottawa. I love every canadians from VERY deep in my heart, it is about the federation that I have a problem. By the way I`ve lived in Mexico for a couple years as well, and always introduced myself as a quebecer, not a canadian, most of the time they would not know about it. Then I explain it to them. Having an identity,and wanting to preserve it, is not what racism would be. These are grave accusations you make there.

          9- And Parizeau, about his house in France, is as well to preserve diplomatic link for the future. What I was referring to was Parizeau`s general image, because he worked at lot with France yes. The guy could probably defend England with more passion and knowledge that we do, you and I. The men is very british actually. He has ALL RIGHTS, BY LAW to want to live in a independant french country in north america.

          10- Sarkozy is doing extremely bad in the polls, all the other parties ”promote” Quebec souverainety. I would actually suspect that he is in collusion with the billionnaire federalist family/company Desmarais. Some big corporate money at stake here.(Parizeau had 17 billions ready for these delinquant companies)

          11- I did not say the US interfered or will, they actually have a political, historical, democratic duty to be completly silent. As they did in 95 although, trust me, the pressure was immense.

          12- 99% of quebecers richer than 99% of americans? The link was there. Check again because I post WAY more facts than opinions.

          13- I feel pretty confident that I showed you, sadly apparently it did not do it last time, that I am a well informed citizen, that I am not racist, and that I am a pretty cool guy to go have a beer with.

          Thanks again for your reply, although it was shoking.

          • John,

            First of all, I am not trying to argue, just to point out differences in opinion, and where others might ‘read in’ things that are not there.

            Don’t apologize for arguing with anyone, but try to keep it civil, and stick to facts.

            @minaka2:disqus made it very clear that he wasn’t talking about all French people, or even all French people in Quebec. He was talking about French people, in Quebec, who have separatist leanings. That means that he wasn’t talking about French people in Quebec who did not have separatist leanings. I agree that he could have just said seperatists, and left it at that, but he, like I and many others probably assumed that all separatists are french speaking. This is about Quebec separating from the rest of Canada, and becoming a French only speaking country, is it not? I guess the the rest of us just assume that an anglophone in Quebec would probably not support that, as it would give them no benefit whatsoever. If this is incorrect, why do we never hear about the vast amount of anglophones that support separation? Just because he assumed that all separatists are French speaking doesn not mean he is racist. Please don’t throw that word around so much, as it tends to lose it’s meaning when abused. Just because someone opposes a groups ideas, does not mean that they think any less of the group, they just don’t like the idea.

            Did you read the Maclean’s article? While there was a huge uproar in Quebec over it, it was hardly xenophobic. Again, please don’t misuse terms, as they get watered down. The article didn’t say that the corruption in Quebec was tied to any language or culture. It only said that corruption was the worst in Quebec. I would submit that the people of Quebec would be better suited by finding and stamping out the corruption, rather than blaming the magazine that brought it to light. This is one of the problems the rest of Canada has, when dealing with Quebec. Any criticism that is given can be dismissed as ‘racist’ or and ‘xenophobic’. No other province does that when faced with criticism – they just look at the facts and decide if it is true. If that story had been written about the province I live in, politician’s heads would have rolled. In Quebec, Charest demands an apology. It boggles my mind. Feel free to say that the story was discredited, and if so, provide proof. I read it and did not see it as Quebec bashing, I just felt sorry for the Quebec taxpayers who were getting ripped off.

            You were correct about the separatist comment – you never did allude to it being an insult. Sorry.

            You have more faith in the Quebec people’s ability to reduce the spending of the gov’t than I do. Please look at how much money the Quebec province gets in equalization every year, as well as other benefits, and calculate how much the gov’t would have to reduce spending in order to compensate for that. Do you think Quebecers are ready to tighten the belt that much?

            I tried watching the video that you posted, but it was in French. Sorry to break this to you, but if you want to influence the rest of Canada, you have to do it in English. :) Sad, as I really wanted to hear an economic argument for Quebec separating. I can only see it as hurting Quebec. Just for one example, once Quebec separates, the rest of Canada can go straight English. That would mean that we can have all of the American companies shipping us products, without having to adjust the packaging to accommodate French. They will save money, and we will save money. The question will then be, how many companies will bother to produce a French package, for a much smaller market? Some will, and it will drive the price up a lot. That is just one idea; the list goes on. Cost of an embassy in each country, diplomatic relations, army, defense, etc. Sorry, but I see it costing Quebec a lot.

            You didn’t laugh about civil war, you made light of it.

            Nothing in the next comment proves that English speaking people in Quebec are the best treated minority in the world.

            I will assume that all three of us are not racist, but you were the one throwing the word around first. Again, I am really curious to hear a Quebecers side of this. What problem do you have with the federation? All provinces have little problems here and there, but what, exactly is separatist’s biggest beef with it?

            You talk about Parizeau, and his ‘wanting’ to live in an ‘independent French country in North America’. That leads me to believe that he has a single focus, and could care less about what others want, or how it hurts others. Could he be willing to mislead people to get his desired result? Could he be willing to do other things to get his desired result. That makes me think that others who claim that Quebec will be financially great, if only they separate, might no be telling the truth. If their main goal, if what they have given their life to strive for, is a separate French country in North America, would they do anything to get it, to hell with any negatives? It does make me ask the question, not saying I have any of the answers.

            Sarkozy is doing bad in the polls, but I was just mentioning him, as there isn’t universal support for Quebec separatism in France. Don’t throw out suspicions, unless you have some basis for them.

            You did say that US confirmation of Quebec as a separate country was an important step. I would submit that Quebec should make sure that it would be forthcoming, before making the leap. (Granted, if the ballot question is clear, and Canada agrees to it, the US should have no problem separating. If Canada does not agree to it, I would submit that the US wouldn’t either).

            I haven’t seen any link that suggests that 99% of Quebecers are richer than 99% of Americans. Until proven, I will not believe it.

            I am sure you are a good guy, but I don’t feel all that more informed.

            Thanks,

          • Ok very quickly modster99

            1- Only half the people in France knows that Quebec exist. Imagine elsewhere around the globe.
             
            2- About the army and stuff, Quebec already have the largest provincial police force. That`s good for a while.

            3- About embassies, there are already 26 offices in place in 26 different countries, The rest would be negociation, as for temporary solutions. By the way Charest just opened one in Bombay and another one in Sao Paulo. Sounds like there`s a need…

            4- Beeing a patriot, caring for your country, your people`s identity, is what Parizeau is doing. Did you think twice before saying he does not want the best interest of his people. The luggage is a thing, but the content something else.

            5- You are beeing MEGALOMANIAC by saying Canada has to agree for Quebec to separate…ho boy…that is such BS. A law passed by Dion and Layton, that Layton just disaproved. hahahaha. Real intense, heavy BS. You have no right. Or there they stop.

            6- The link was there since the beginning.

            7-Maclean`s cover page was shocking, with flashy examples, no facts, no studies, no nothing…PURE sensationalism. They do it again and it would hurt them very much, as they made a lot of new subscribers in Quebec, watchdogs we could call them.

            8- You are right, I am a good guy, and that you don`t feel more informed, well, don`t ask for too much. I think you had pretty elaborate answers for a blog-style conversation. Get a book instead of counting on me to inform you.

            9- I NEVER said Minaka2 was racist, her arguments were, although they got more sofisticated after realising the importance of her message.

            Sincerely,

            http://www2.lactualite.com/jean-francois-lisee/niveau-de-vie-think-big-quebec-vs-usa/7282/

      • Thank you to modster99 for doing the spade work tilling the pile of manure written by the very excitable and poorly informed Mr. Burroughs.  I wouldn’t give such a person the time of day because he would twist it into another hysterical accusation. There has been a suggestion that people who make unjustified ad hominem accusations of racism because they lack substantive arguments should be called “racers”. I hope it catches on.

        I would only add that the Anglo minority in Quebec have put the lie to Mr. Burrough’s foolish claim that they are the “best treated minority in the world” by voting with their feet and leaving Quebec in large numbers.  However, there is little doubt that French Quebecois in Canada are one of the best treated minorities in the world with privileges disproportionate to their percentage of the total population including over-representation in government and the Supreme Court.  Conversely, what examples of such favored treatment can Mr. Burroughs give for Anglos in Quebec?

        The claim that 99% of Quebeckers are financially better off than 99% of Americans (even eliminating the top 1%) is a ludicrous socialist fantasy. See Montreal Economic Institute MEI Economic note May 2006 by Norma Kozhaya, economist and Univ. of Montreal lecturer on “Quebec’s Relative Poverty”.  She writes: “Things look even worse when Quebec is compared to North America as a whole.  In 2004, Quebec’s GDP per
        inhabitant ranked 53rd among the 60 states and provinces, exceeding only three U.S. states (Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi, the poorest U.S. state)  Similar results emerged from a study by Industry Canada which put Quebec in 52nd place for the period from 1995 to 1997”
        Also see http://www.iedm.org/1805-la-pauvrete-relative-des-quebecois-est-indeniable
        Someone who either doesn’t know even the most basic fact about Quebec or lies about it is hardly a credible commenter.

        • No problem. Not saying I know tonnes about Quebec, or the separatist movement, but I know BS when I see it.

          • I know BS when I see it as well.

        • Hi Minaka,
          As I said before, I will make it a duty to completly destroy and deconstruct your STUPID, RETARDED, RACISTS arguments. I told you to go get treated or something, you seem more civilized now, you took your pills or something, but I still worry for you.

          1- That ”racers” thing is completly retarded. Do I look out of arguments? Come on! I would use the good old tactic of projection, by saying you are out of arguments, like you should do.

          2- Over representation is a very relative point. The constitution was made to accomodate the founding fathers, and I would agree with you, is obselete. The irony is although I am totally for the best interest of the english, I don`t want to underestimate the significance of the representation you talked about. Constitutionalists either.

          3- 99% of Quebecers richer than 99% of american, the link was there.

          4- You must not know the U.S states you talked about and Quebec either. You probably can`t analyze deep complex stats objectively so just take a drive there and around Quebec, and tell me again we are in this class of states. BS. You are miles from the reality.

          5- The stats you gave, and the link, is a knowingly, aledge alarmist document in order to wake up the people, as any speacher would do. Norma Kozhaya nuances A LOT, she is a very remarquable economist, doing a lot for the society. There is NOTHING official to take from these numbers pre-economic crash-down, which Quebec did better than all the rest…Things change quickly you know, stuck in your old outdated beliefs.

          You really got caught with your francophobia haven`t you? You were not even thinking that about yourself weren`t you?

          « C’est à notre existence même qu’on en veut et nous serons d’autant plus attaqués que nous serons plus dignes de vivre. » — Olivar Asselin

          « L’Indien raconte qu’il est là depuis dix mille ans. Je lui demande alors son âge. “Trente-six ans”, répond-il. “Et moi soixante”. Personne n’est là depuis dix mille ans. » — Pierre Bourgault

        • Hi Minaka,
          As I said before, I will make it a duty to completly destroy and deconstruct your STUPID, RETARDED, RACISTS arguments. I told you to go get treated or something, you seem more civilized now, you took your pills or something, but I still worry for you.

          1- That ”racers” thing is completly retarded. Do I look out of arguments? Come on! I would use the good old tactic of projection, by saying you are out of arguments, like you should do.

          2- Over representation is a very relative point. The constitution was made to accomodate the founding fathers, and I would agree with you, is obselete. The irony is although I am totally for the best interest of the english, I don`t want to underestimate the significance of the representation you talked about. Constitutionalists either.

          3- 99% of Quebecers richer than 99% of american, the link was there.

          4- You must not know the U.S states you talked about and Quebec either. You probably can`t analyze deep complex stats objectively so just take a drive there and around Quebec, and tell me again we are in this class of states. BS. You are miles from the reality.

          5- The stats you gave, and the link, is a knowingly, aledge alarmist document in order to wake up the people, as any speacher would do. Norma Kozhaya nuances A LOT, she is a very remarquable economist, doing a lot for the society. There is NOTHING official to take from these numbers pre-economic crash-down, which Quebec did better than all the rest…Things change quickly you know, stuck in your old outdated beliefs.

          You really got caught with your francophobia haven`t you? You were not even thinking that about yourself weren`t you?

          « C’est à notre existence même qu’on en veut et nous serons d’autant plus attaqués que nous serons plus dignes de vivre. » — Olivar Asselin

          « L’Indien raconte qu’il est là depuis dix mille ans. Je lui demande alors son âge. “Trente-six ans”, répond-il. “Et moi soixante”. Personne n’est là depuis dix mille ans. » — Pierre Bourgault

          • A screeching ad hominem attack by someone projecting his own racism onto others while dismissing actual evidence from credible sources about Quebec’s relative poverty and substituting his fevered fantasies is unworthy of reply.  (The full title of the second reference above from the Montreal Economic Institute is:

            “La pauvreté relative des Québécois est indéniable”

            http://www.lesaffaires.com/pointdevue, p. Web by Norma Kozhaya)

            John Burroughs apparently is unaware that “retarded” is not an appropriate word to be flinging around at anyone.  No class.

          • Hi Minaka2, I know I did not take it easy on you. I hope that you understand there is nothing personnal here, I am just trying to put in relief (and perspective) real FACTS that I know you usually like to turn the page on. As I said in another comment, there are thousands thinking the same way.

            Yes, I may have been rude, but you were first. I am a very civilized person but I hate when I hold the door for someone that does not say thanks. You have been hainous and I wasn`t gonna put my white gloves on for someone that does not have any decency, social respect, historical pride, or even historical knowledge towards what the real Canada is about. Once again, I was just pointing that out in relief, see this as a whole part of the population point of views, from both sides.

            By the way, you are getting on my nerves, you called me a racist again. Isn`t that your ”racers” argument was all about. I really think you should stop now, you are not going anywhere. According to your own twisted belief you would be out of arguments. So stop now.

            And once again, the economist paper you bring up is actually a compliment when you read it all, swicth the stats to 2011 reality, and she did really helped the EIM with a her aledged alarmist speach. Can I point out ”relative” in the phrase you wrote there, which seems to be your last substancial argument, is exactly what I talked about federalist stats, looking at half-realities, using advantaging methods of comptability. Your link is from the paper La Presse, with belongs to the Desmarais family, has been proven many times the be over-federalists, but sure less then the english papers… This document was a a call from the heart for a better Montreal, what is wrong with that? Now put in new datas from today, not that pre-economic crash BS helping your illusionnary federalist cause, comparing the Quebec of 5 years ago.

            Hooo I am aware that retarded is an inappropriate term, although I really do think you live in denial really, to show economist stuff without even understanding it. And I am subtil, again I said your comments were retarded, no you, I am not that kind of person. I am very subtil.

            And by the way, I am very classy. Just to destroy and deconstruct it all again….

            Now and for a while, go read some books, travel, meet some people, learn some languages and their litteratures and develop your provincial pride and  history instead of commenting on adult stuff. Is that nicer then go get treated? Happy now? I don`t picture you happy actually.

            Special thanks to Macleans for respecting freedom of speech in their blogs, unlike Montreal’s paper, The Gazette.

      • Hi John,

        I watched the video (both parts). The main problem with the video (there are a few, but the big one in my opinion) is that it’s François Legault who’s giving the presentation.

        There is a difference between what 2005 Legault believed, and what 2011 Legault believes.

        2005 Legault believed that we need sovereignty a.s.a.p., and that it’ll give us billions more $$ to spend on services, etc., because we currently give Ottawa a lot more than we get back.

        2011 Legault proposes postponing a referendum until at least 2025 (and even then, there’s no guarantee that he would support sovereignty in 2025 or later), because (among other things) Quebec needs to get its financial house in order (reduce the debt, control spending, etc).

        Does it bother you that 2011 Legault is now going against what 2005/06 Legault previously believed? If sovereignty today could give us billions more $$, then why postpone it until 2025 or later? Why do we suddenly have to get our fiscal affairs in order, when in 2005/06 they seemed fine?

        It seems like even Legault doesn’t believe his own presentation from 2005. So why should anyone else? Why do you believe 2005 Legault and not (I presume) 2011 Legault?

        In my opinion, either Legault never really believed what he said back in 2006, or he realized that his opinions weren’t quite right back in 2006. For example, 2006 Legault doesn’t take into account any consequences with sovereignty (more people moving to Ontario after sovereignty is declared, more businesses moving to Toronto, foreign investors possibly thinking “let’s wait until Quebec’s political situation becomes more stable before investing there,” etc etc… These are all real risks that should be considered. And the inability to set interest rates/currency valuation, because we’ll be stuck using Canadian money controlled by the Bank of Canada, and we’ll have no say/input anymore).

        So why did Legault have a change of heart? And why should I believe 2005 Legault over 2011 Legault?

        (As an aside, I like 2011 Legault. I find him more realistic than 2005 Legault, and I plan on voting for him. I’m not a sovereignist in the least, but I definitely like what I see in the Coalition pour l’avenir du Qc, and I will support them.)

  9. There’s a four letter English word that starts with an S, and Jacques Parizeau is full of it. The trouble with Quebec is that we have these old time political oligarchs from the bloody mid-90’s when sovereignty was a crucial issue, and who this mindset that their message still is viable today (An absurdity to any intelligent person). For whatever reason with Pauline Marois, be it her hair, her charisma, or sharp wit, IN REALITY her party’s lost touch with people (that’s undeniable this article points that out), this is simply because the pro-Sovereignty movement in Quebec is at its lowest peak (however it is important to point out that any minute it can be flared up, hence it should not be overlooked or underestimated or we could find ourselves back in the hot seat of 95.) So now slime balls, literally I’m sorry I can not find a more politically correct word- a piece of Scum Parizeau- a guy who has an abysmal view of the 21st century economy, a concept  dead since the 70’s- is yet still capable of stirring up trouble and promoting a luny concept of separation. I think this is a case in point of the problem at the provincial level of federalism in QUebec politics. THere is fresh political ground in QUebec and I think an ample opportunity for a new party to emerge on the scene- instead as a consequence of a lack of options- some Quebecers have come to support what little of the charismatic Old guar QUebecers had left- Parizeau. In so many words Im saying this guys popularity is not sincere, it’s just a lack of options Quebecers are faced with. Serioulsy get all these shister looking Laurentian elites out of the political scene in Quebec, and watch this sovereignty movement die. We know these sick SICK people are only agitating sovereignty for the huge stakes they would have in a autonomous Quebec economy- especially a state interventionist Montreal Oligarch- who has strong influence and workings with the monopoly of Hydro Quebec. These individuals are literally exploiting Quebec’s passons for nationhood for their own cynical benefits, it’s just pathetic to see this guy still have a political career, and i stress that word PATHETIC!