Along with ‘La Belle Province’ and ‘langue de Molière’, ‘Plus ça change’ is one of my least favourite Quebec clichés. Like all clichés, I’ve used them on more than one occasion. They’re easy and everyone understands them, even English people. To this end, I use ‘Plus ça change’ in this case with deliberate intent, because it really and truly denotes the repetitive dry heave that is Quebec political scene. It’s a cliché that best describes a cliché.
Me and Phil haven’t said squat on this blog for a few weeks. Phil has a new, busy job at the website and me, I’ve been busy dodging the Bonhomme
Carnival Carnaval for the last month to get anything done. Well, almost nothing: I got a haircut, went to Toronto, nearly killed myself at Burke Mountain, Vermont, and attended what amounted to a softcore porn shoot (for a good reason, I swear), where the cameraman recognized me from the telly. Bizarre times.
All is to say that we’ve done our damndest to avoid Quebec politics altogether, if only to flush out our collective maudit anglais veins of all the mess. Being chided by every single federal and Quebec provincial political party for writing about corruption in (argh) la belle province is fun and all, but everyone needs a break.
So I woke up and opened my eyes and–guess what!–the province’s politicians are living up to their respective clichés quite well, thank you. Hey, look! The Liberals are knee deep in the usual messes! The PQ? You’ll never guess! The party is teetering on yet another championship-level leadership crisis spurred on by not one but two of its former leaders–Bernard Landry and Jacques Parizeau, step right up–supposedly because the current leader, Pauline Marois, isn’t moving fast/efficiently/decisively/whatever enough down the shining path toward sovereignty. And–lookee here!–one of Parizeau’s former advisors, now a columnist for l’Actualité, is downplaying the whole infighting thing, suggesting the “non-news” is the work of a pack of nameless sovereignist young’uns
abated abetted by an overly zealous media. (Note to J-F Lisée: sure, a bunch of loud, disgruntled sovereignists might be non-news, but when Jacques Parizeau, your former boss, publicly trashes the political strategy of the current PQ leader? It might not be anything new–Parizeau is an old hand when it comes to sticking it to his successors for their lack of sang froid référendaire–but it’s certainly news.)
Stop me if you’ve heard any of this before. Quebecers certainly have: a recent poll said they would vote overwhelmingly for Force Quebec, simply because the party promises to be less obsessed about the national question. Small problem: that party doesn’t even exist, and won’t likely for a long time, if at all. Until then, we’re stuck with the usual Gong Show.
Makes you want to go back to bed, doesn’t it?