Saturday, June 11, 2005

Better Safe Than Charest

Although it is somewhat surprising, no one should really be shocked by the news that Gilles Duceppe is staying in Ottawa. As I said earlier in week, Duceppe has one of the easiest jobs in the world right now, right up there with "bed tester" and "Monte Solberg campaign manager". All he needs to do is scream about Gomery and he's guaranteed 60 seats in the next election. The man never has to take a difficult policy stand since he's a federal politician who has no need or desire to make Canada work.

And I'll repeat this since it bears repeating: Gilles Duceppe is only a fraction of the politician everyone believes him to be. He was a spent force in politics before the Sponsorship Scandal broke. Heck, the only French I know is "j'aime le fromage" and I could have swept Quebec as BQ leader last election. The PQ is a bloodthirsty party, something Lucien Bouchard found out after making a similar leap. And Quebec politics are very difficult, something Jean Charest has found out time and time again.


  • Hey CG.

    I just gotta say this, I understand where you're comin from but I was really impressed by Duceppe during the last election, A.K.A. before the Gomery Mess. I've said on my own blog that if he was the leader of a federalist party I'd seriously look at jumping ship.

    That being said I do think your points are very important and need to be brought to light. I do think he is a little more substantive than meets the eye though, that's what scares me about him.

    Keep up the good work

    By Blogger Hishighness, at 10:21 p.m.  

  • I think that you are right on. Why leave a nice easy cushy no lose job with a great pension for yet another go at an independent Quebec but linked to Canada.

    By Blogger john, at 10:39 a.m.  

  • And remember, Duceppe can still fight the referendum for the oui side, like Bouchard did in '95.

    So he can keep his image shinny as BQ leader so that he's still seen as the golden boy if there's another referendum.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:59 p.m.  

  • poor Jean Charest.

    Part of him had to be hoping that the Duceppe jump would polarize things and let him put on the Captain Canada costume to win a second term.

    Rather than an election debate being about Quebec's place in Canada (notwithstanding an obvious looming referendum following a PQ win), it will be about things like the funding of jewish high schools (disgusting stuff came out of the PQ side during that debate, btw - much like that anti-shari'a stuff the CanWest chain is currently promoting in the Herald/Gazette letters sections), the location of the francophone superhospital, teaching contracts, and changes to the labour code to soften subcontracting restions.

    What fun.

    By Blogger matt, at 4:09 p.m.  

  • Matt:

    The Jewish schools funding issue will never be election material. Pu-leeze. There's an amazing consensus on this issue---the PQ, the ADQ and now the Liberals agree on it.

    The way in which the Charest government handled it was terrible. They tried to pass it off as fundamentally good public policy, while it just didn't make sense. Why should Jewish private schools be subsidized 100% while other denominational schools are only subsidized 60%? Most Québécois think that religious schools---Catholic, Protestant, Jewish of other---should simply not be subsidized at all, hence the fiasco created by Jean Charest and then education minister Pierre Reid.

    Moreover, asserting that disgusting stuff came out of the PQ side is just plain wrong. Most Jewish organizations in Québec argued that anti-Semitism was absent from the debate. Something like 90% of Québécois are opposed to state funding of religious schools, so would you specifically accuse the PQ crew of anti-Semitism?

    Sure, I understand you don't really like sovereigntists---that makes complete sense to me... But your accusations are pretty serious stuff and I don't think they belong in the Québec/Canada debate.

    By Blogger Alex B., at 8:15 p.m.  

  • Sorry, I made a typo up there. I meant "Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, OR other". Anyway, I presume you all understood.


    By Blogger Alex B., at 8:18 p.m.  

  • I heard a theory (from a Francophone) this weekend that Duceppe will now be seen as a wimp in Quebec for not taking the prize that he clearly wants. It sounds like his decision to stay federal might actually be good for us in the long-run.

    By Blogger Jason Cherniak, at 1:22 a.m.  

  • Alex:

    Um, in a word: "nuh-uh!"

    As usual, I want to say three things:

    1. Greek/Armenian schools are funded 100%. And have been for some time. The Jews are the odd guys out.

    2. There aren't really any Protestant/Catholic confessional schools. Rather, religion is provided in the public system, now organized on linguistic grounds: Quebec invokes the Charter's notwithstanding clause to provide that instruction, which met broad approval from Quebec society in a recent poll, and has a plan to phase it out I think in about 5 years.

    3. The Jewish groups said no such thing. In fact, they screamed. You are wrong. I tossed out my back issues of the Gazette when I moved, but I'm pretty sure of that. Moreover, Le Devoir had a cartoon of a jew with a big nose getting more cash. Ahem. To say nothing of the francophone editorials - La Presse, Le Devoir, et tous les autres journaux.

    I will concede, though, that it might not surface as an explicit issue in an election, but will factor in at least subliminally as a moment when Charest looked spectacularly weak.

    By Blogger matt, at 8:38 p.m.  

  • Matt:

    The Greeks and Armenians are subsidized 100%, but they are not specifically denominational. Of course they're Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox, but they don't label their schools as such. Jewish schools, on the other hand, are religious. "Jewish", unlike "Greek" or "Armenian" has a religious meaning. Most Quebeckers are in favour of simply not subsidizing denominational schools at all. Which I think is right, even though it might take a while before it happens.

    As for Protestant/Catholic education in English/French schoolboards, it will be gone in two years. Hopefully. That's what the Charest government said when it invoked the notwithstanding clause. But you know, what Charest says and what Charest does are two completely different things...

    I subscribe to La Presse and the Globe. I don't remember having read anything outrageous in the op-ed pages in La Presse. Granted, some letters to the editor were pretty vocal (take this as a euphemism for anti-Semitic), but nothing disgusting came from the paper itself. Same with the PQ.

    By Blogger Alex B., at 10:30 p.m.  

  • Point well taken; I'll concede that the PQ didn't issue a press release to the effect of "maudits juifs". But, by the same standard, the Canadian Alliance was always carefully neutral with respect to SoCon issues.

    By Blogger matt, at 10:59 a.m.  

  • Matt:

    Come on. This is not 1936 Québec. We're in 2005.

    Lionel Groulx, Adrien Arcand and Joseph Ménard are all dead and buried. Anti-Semitic delirium is absent from public debate in Québec. This is true of the PQ, the Liberals and the ADQ.

    By Blogger Alex B., at 12:49 p.m.  

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