Amir Khadir, Quebec’s second most popular NMA, once threw a shoe at an effigy of George W. Bush. The Iranian-born doctor is co-leader, with Françoise David, of Québec solidaire, a left-wing party of which he is the sole elected member. He isn’t as divisive as you’d think: Gerald Deltell, leader of the rightist ADQ, once told me that Khadir was one of the MNAs he most respected, ideological differences be damned.
Since the shoe-chucking incident, which he performed in front of the U.S. consulate in Montreal, Khadir has limited himself to subtler forms of advocacy. Apart from his work in exposing the rather cozy relationship between the Quebec Liberal Party and members of some of Quebec’s leading engineering firms, Khadir has taken a shine to the humble internet petition. Since August, he has launched petitions on the National Assembly website calling for, among other things, “an immediate halt to gas exploration in the golf of St. Lawrence, baie des Chaleurs, Anticosti and the Magdalen Islands” (5165 signatures); “adequate funding of community kindergartens” (1257 signatures); “a rebalancing of the powers between city hall and the boroughs” (402 signatures). Khadir is responsible for six of the 11 petitions on the website.
This week, Khadir hit his stride. His petition dated November 15th calls for the resignation of none other than Premier Jean Charest. They list several well-known sore points: the refusal to call a public inquiry into the construction industry; a refusal to put in place a moratorium on shale gas exploration, and a refusal to negotiate, “despite the opposition of the majority of the Quebec population, the orientation of the government and in the measures contained in the 2010 budget.”
Khadir and his petition co-sponsor, 18-year-old a high school student named Anthony Leclerc, hoped to get 100,000 by February 15, 2011. The pair is well on track, to say the least: last night, they had roughly 28,000 signatures; currently they have 81,487. Er, 81,885. Uh, 83,068. (Coincidence or not, the site keeps crashing.)
Poor Charest. Even the internet hates him.