Tuesday September 02, 2014

QC votes for Canada


View from the Cheap Seats is kind of an extension of the newsroom. Whenever our three regular reporters, Calvin Daniels, Thom Barker and Randy Brenzen are in the building together, it is frequently a site of heated debate. This week: How do you feel about the result of the Québec provincial election?

We should care

Last week, the people of Québec delivered the Parti Québécois a stunning blow reducing them to Official Opposition status 40 seats behind the winning Liberals.

The people I know in Québec breathed a massive sigh of relief. One friend said if the PQ had won a majority she and her husband would have had to “hang our heads in shame, sell our house and move.”

I would have felt the same. The Quebec Charter of Secular (read racist) Values was one of the most shameful pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen. And the ongoing obsession of some Québecers with separation when there are so many more important issues to consider is delusional.

The fact that the Liberal win was so convincing—a nine-seat majority—was very telling especially since the provincial Liberals were rebuked themselves only 18 months ago and are still embroiled in a corruption scandal.

A lot of people in the west had a much different take. In fact, when I proposed the Quebec election as this week’s Cheap Seats topic, one of my colleagues said, “So what is the actual question, why we should give a damn?”

As a matter of fact, yes, we should care for the very simple reason that Canada is better together than we are apart.

Right from the start, it has not always been the most comfortable of marriages, but it gave us the wherewithal to stave off American expansionism and become a country. It gave us the clout to forge our own identity and eventually fully realize nationhood rather than remaining a mere British colony.

It has allowed us to become not just a player on the world stage, but a force for good. And confederation gave us the rich diversity that is still one of our greatest values.

Québec is not the only regional interest that could make a case for sovereignty, but for all of our pimply-faced sibling rivalries, we are a family, for better or for worse. We are stronger united than we are divided.

I don’t think there is any chance the sovereignty issue will disappear forever, or even in the short-term, but with a Liberal majority in the National Assembly, we can all rest easy that the country will not descend into the constitutional quagmire again for at least the next four-and-a-half years.

Well done Québec voters.

— Thom Barker

What Quebec election?

So the Quebec provincial election came and went.

Did you notice?

The Liberals have a majority.

Do you care?

In general terms Canadians are turning off politics. Too many politicians come across little better than the carnival huckster of old shilling snake oil to the masses.

The result is a growing disinterest in elections people have the right to cast a vote for.

An election in another province holds even less interest.

And this was Quebec.

Many in Saskatchewan see the province as near a nation-onto-itself. There is an undercurrent of resentment for its special status within confederation, its French language, and its continuing power in Parliament among many here.

A few heads probably turned when separation from Canada became a momentary issue in the election, one probably spurred more by media hype than reality, but still it is one issue which makes the rest of Canada care.

While we have issues with Quebec, most rational Canadians, including those within la belle province, recognize Canada is strong with Quebec in it than it would be if they left.

Québécers realize that too, as witnessed by the Liberal win. It is a vote, which if it accomplishes nothing else, should silence the separation debate for at least the next four years, and quite likely beyond.

In that regard it was a landmark vote for Canada, even if most of us paid it little heed.

— Calvin Daniels

Don’t care

The Quebec election has come and gone and the majority of Canada didn’t bat an eye.

That’s because the majority of Canada (myself included) doesn’t really care about what happens in Quebec so long as the maple syrup flow doesn’t get disrupted.

I admit that it was great to see the Liberals come out on top with 70 seats, 40 more than their nearest “enemy” the Parti Québécois.

It was even better to see that Pauline Marois, who I personally do not like (her attitude angers me) lost her seat in her own riding (that of Charlevoix–Côte-de-Beaupré) before stepping down as the leader of the Parti Québécois.

That result actually made me laugh, even if laughing at others’ misfortune is not necessarily classy.

But when all was said and done the only place that felt the impact of this election was Quebec (and perhaps the Francophone area of Winnipeg).

The rest of Canada really couldn’t care less what happened. Heck, most of Canada wouldn’t care one way or the other if the Parti Québécois won every seat they ran for and separated Quebec from Canada.

After all, it’s Western Canada that has overtaken Quebec when it comes to Quebec’s number one export: hockey goaltenders.

So in the end the Liberals won the Quebec election and I was more worried about what was happening in Ukraine.

Because Ukraine I care about.

— Randy Brenzen



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