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Mesdames et Messieurs, il est temps d'élection!
March 11, 2014 1:40 PM   Subscribe

On April 7th, Quebeckers will head to the polls because of a snap election called by the PQ minority government. Of course, as in this part of Canada, election time is never without controversy. Between Liberal leader Phillippe Couillard touting the benefits of bilingualism and CAQ leader Francois LeGault presenting his budget if his party is elected, it all pales to this past weekend's announcement that Quebec media oligarch Pierre Karl Peladeau is running in a riding for the Parti Quebecois.

An unrepentant sovereigntist, PKP--as he is called--controls the province's largest private television network and most big city newspapers. Is he going to relinquish control of his empire while he runs in the election? Nope, he has "no intention" of selling his shares in his multi-million dollar company.

As usual, this spurs talk of another referendum. Marois is waiting for her winning conditions, but that hasn't stopped her from talking big. But with the recent loss of 26,000 jobs, a province deeply in debt, what are winning conditions?

Here we go again, guys!
posted by Kitteh (105 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
what are the winning conditions?

Enough voters forgetting about the Values Charter?
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 2:04 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


Bon Chance!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:07 PM on March 11


An interesting subject! I know so little about politics in Quebec. Thank you for this post, Kitteh.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:16 PM on March 11


So is il est temps d'élection actually idiomatic in some version of Canadian French, or is this just ironic bad French for c'est l'heure de l'élection?
posted by Creosote at 2:18 PM on March 11 [6 favorites]


Nice; a union-busting boss in the PQ! I wonder why he didn't join the CAQ/Lucien Bouchard team, who are a lot more attuned to his economic views, generally. But then the PQ hasn't been a social-democratic party since the 1980s, hasn't it.

PKP owns the largest newspaper by circulation, but they're all tabloids. He also owns Sun Media, which has a chain of tabloids all over Canada. The K is important; Quebecor was started by PKP's father, Pierre Péladeau, who was a self-made man.

As for "winning conditions".. AHAHAH. Like they're ever going to happen.

For the debt, look who's talking. The fucking Fraser Institute. Asking them if the debt's too high is like asking Don Cherry if Quebec Hockey players are overrated.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 2:21 PM on March 11 [9 favorites]


It is my terrible French. My terrible, terrible French.
posted by Kitteh at 2:22 PM on March 11 [10 favorites]


As an aside, it infuriates me how many media outlets present press releases from the Fraser Institute as fact. They never seem to be challenged, even by the CBC.
posted by vansly at 2:24 PM on March 11 [6 favorites]


Pierre Karl Peladeau owns Quebecor, which owns Sun News. I almost hope he does win and Quebec does separate just so there's an international border between that fascist asshole and my country.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:27 PM on March 11 [6 favorites]


Quebec is the EVE Online of politics: I always enjoy reading post about it, but cannot imagine participating or truly understanding it.
posted by lattiboy at 2:27 PM on March 11 [10 favorites]


Sun Media is in thrall to the Harper regime and, as such, is a Big Oil sock puppet, among all other things pseudo-fascist. Quebec independence would delight their french-hating anglophone power base but destroy Harpers legacy, not to mention imperil pipelines to the Maritimes.

Why do I get the eerie feeling I'm watching the opening scene of 'The Phantom Menace'?


INT FEDERATION BATTLESHIP - MAIN BAY

QUI-GON and OBI-WAN appear at a large vent in a giant hanger bay. They are careful not to be seen. Thousands of BATTLE DROIDS are loading onto landing craft.

QUI-GON: Battle droids.

OBI-WAN: It's an invisible army.

QUI-GON: This is an odd play for the Trade Federation. We've got to warn the Naboo and contact Chancellor Valorum. Let's split up. Stow aboard separate ships and meet down on the planet.

OBI-WAN: You were right about one thing, Master. The negotiations were short.

posted by CynicalKnight at 2:33 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Don't they know they can just invite France to send in troops, I mean "self-defense units"?
posted by Kabanos at 2:40 PM on March 11


You waited just long enough after the election was called that this will be open for a few days after the election. Thirty three long, long days.

PKP is also a Montrealer, but I guess he insisted on a riding in a place where he has a chance at actually being elected. I don't know how much, if any, power the ethics commissioner actually has. But, as I said on mefi's own zadcat's blog:
So the PQ says a blind trust is okay, but I really don’t see how it could be reasonably blind. Either the trustees would keep the Quebecor holdings, which PKP would know, or they’d sell them, which PKP would also know (and he says he would ask them not to do, which sort of proves how blind he intends the trust to be). Even if we grant for the sake of argument that he’d have no explicit editorial control, people know he’s very likely to return. And this does nothing for the concern that he will push for laws that help Quebecor.

I’d love to know who chooses the trustees, should that go ahead (farce farce farce). If PKP — or any major PQ member — does, it’s even more an eyes open trust.

I guess we’ll see what the ethics commissioner says.
Bear in mind, non-Quebec-people, that we've had approximately every mayor in every city in this province (and many of their replacements, and their replacements' replacements, etc) out of office because of corruption, our two new hospitals and all the construction are mired in corruption and overpayments -- it's been a huge deal in the news, and PKP ignoring this spectre is horrifying.

But then that was part of the whole Charter of Values stuff -- take the focus off real issues like the economy and corruption.
posted by jeather at 2:50 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


Don't they know they can just invite France to send in troops, I mean "self-defense units"?

France has not given the slightest shit about Quebec since 1763.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:50 PM on March 11 [6 favorites]


With the brief exception of that meddling fucknut, de Gaulle.
posted by Dasein at 2:53 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


Given that the PQ has been pretty rabid about any Liberals giving up positions that indicate a clear conflict of interest, I do not see how PKP makes the cut. To me, it's basically saying, "No, you guys have to uphold our standard of ethics. We don't have to do jackity shit about our guys."
posted by Kitteh at 2:54 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Quebec independence would delight their french-hating anglophone power base but destroy Harpers legacy

I'm sure Harper probably doesn't want to lose Quebec, but it would basically mean a huge swath of left-leaning voters no longer sending MPs to Ottawa.

not to mention imperil pipelines to the Maritimes.

If Quebec votes to leave, Montreal, Hull/Gatineau, and the northern, sparsely populated areas are probably going to vote to stay with Canada. If Canada is divisible, then so is Quebec.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:58 PM on March 11 [5 favorites]


The thing that the PQ did that galled me the second most is increasing school costs.

Yes, they campaigned on not increasing tuition. And as far as I know, the line that is tuition at Cegeps and universities has not changed.

What they did instead was decrease the tax breaks on any course starting after late March 2013. You used to be able to get a credit of 20% on tuition paid. Now it's 8%. They also changed the loan formulas. You used to be expected to put in zero on the first 50,000 of income (or so, it depended on whether you are married or if your parents are together), and then about 20% on the next 20,000, about 40% on the next 10,000 and about 50% on any income you have over 90,000. Now it's zero for the first 32,000 (or so), 20% for the next 38,000 and so on. That's a significant -- and often impossible to reach -- increase in tuition you can't get a government loan for.
posted by jeather at 3:01 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


I have a lot of really strong opinions, guys.
posted by jeather at 3:02 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


I don't think France would have any interest in that. And Quebec isn't a peninsula like Crimea where you can cut off land access by occupying two narrow strips of land.

Quebec (and Canada's, really) politics kind of require you to know the history of the country: establishment of the colony by France, conquest by Britain, survival of the French-speaking community, with a large role for the Catholic Church, and years of subdued conflict between English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians. With the cultural and economic progress of the 1960s came the idea of independence. Lévesque, a popular journalist and a former minister in the provincial government, united the independentist parties into the PQ. No one was voting for the PQ as long as its program was to go for independence as soon as it would have been elected. Then Morin came and invented Etapism. It didn't really work (twice), and now we're stuck with the Liberals (traditional federalist party, centre right), the PQ (independentist-sovereigntist, centre centre) and the CAQ (mostly ex-PQ, opportunists, mostly right), oh, and Québec solidaire, a small left party with little influence.

Before the election, we had a PQ minority government that had been preceded by a long, scandal-ridden Liberal reign.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 3:07 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


The PQ pretends to be leftish, though.
posted by jeather at 3:08 PM on March 11


If Canada is divisible, then so is Quebec.

Eh, probably not of the smaller regions' own accord. Quebec theoretically could start that train moving with a separation vote. But I'd say that the legal side of it wouldn't allow anything smaller than a province to separate.

It's all theoretical anyways; Quebecers don't want to separate, from everything I've seen.

I'll still confused by Marois' statements about open borders. That is absolutely one of the sticks Canada will use against them in any referendum.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:10 PM on March 11


I almost hope he does win and Quebec does separate just so there's an international border between that fascist asshole and my country.

Sun News and Ma Bell suddenly subject to foreign ownership restrictions? Gimmie a minute -- I want to enjoy that dream a bit more...
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:15 PM on March 11 [4 favorites]


I'm sure Harper probably doesn't want to lose Quebec, but it would basically mean a huge swath of left-leaning voters no longer sending MPs to Ottawa.

Indeed. Current party standings:
Con 161, NDP 100, Lib 36, Bloc 4, others 5 (vacant 2)

Standings without Québec:
Con 156, NDP 43, Lib 28, others 4 (vacant 2)

So Harper has to choose between 'legacy' and 'ultimate-fantasy fever-dream of a lifetime.' What to do, what to do.
posted by hangashore at 3:29 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


I think the guy at the wheel when if/when we lost Quebec would be ruined forever, and his party would suffer accordingly. (But that's not a reason to encourage separation!)
posted by Kevin Street at 3:40 PM on March 11


A "riding" in Canada is is a geographical constituency for those who don't know. [I lived in Canada for a couple of years and was initially confused by the term.] Quebec holds a swing vote in a lot of national elections. And here I hush.
posted by vapidave at 4:00 PM on March 11


Eh, probably not of the smaller regions' own accord.

You can say exactly the same thing about Canada, though; any unilateral declaration of sovereignty by Quebec would carry no legal weight without consent from Canada.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:03 PM on March 11


Are the regional First Nations peoples still agitating to not leave the Confederation? How have these groups dealt with their opposition?
posted by Apocryphon at 4:25 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


Quebec does the same thing Canada (and the US) usually does with the First Nations: ignore them.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 4:33 PM on March 11


France has not given the slightest shit about Quebec since 1763.

Except for that one time Charles de Gaulle showed up to stir the pot.
posted by thecjm at 4:55 PM on March 11


Are the regional First Nations peoples still agitating to not leave the Confederation? How have these groups dealt with their opposition?

Technically, they are separate nations and their treaties are federal not provincial - nation to nation. Quebec, if they separate would have to negotiate new treaties. I suspect this would not go as well for the palefaces this time around.
posted by srboisvert at 4:58 PM on March 11 [6 favorites]


La grande bataille
posted by phoque at 5:17 PM on March 11


I was living in Ottawa in 1970 when the FLQ kidnapped Pierre Laporte, deputy premier of Quebec. Then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act, which allowed mass raids and arrests in order to find the cell that had kidnapped him. Seven days later, Laporte's body was found in the trunk of a car.

It was a frightening time. It felt like a complete repudiation of Trudeau's vision of a bilingual nation: the country was, it seemed, being torn apart by violent opposition to the idea. Here in the US, just imagine today's ultra-conservatives taking up arms to separate from the union: it might be happening a thousand miles away, but you'd feel it in your gut. Your country falling apart, the president's over-reaching response to declare nationwide martial law.

It was chaos, and it was profoundly unsettling.

Fast forward to 1988-91, when I lived, worked and went to school in Montreal. I got a much better sense of the substance and validity of the separatist Quebecois complaint at the same time as I came to believe that a majority of Quebeckers, while holding the same resentments as the separatists, stopped short of separation as an answer.

Which is to say, while separatism may be in the hearts of the Canadian French, their minds will not allow them to vote for it. They have too much to lose, politically and economically.

Or, as a cynical friend says, even though, forty years later, separatism comes up from time to time, it will never happen, because everyone knows that the most interesting thing about Canada is that it is bi-cultural, never mind that this is patently a dream that will never come true.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:29 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


It's all due to "money and the ethnic vote".
posted by benzenedream at 5:41 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Anarchopanda is running for parti nul in my old rinding of Hochelaga-Maisoneuve... An option for those who wish to vote for "none of the above".

(Sadly they don't seem as fun as the rhino party but i suppose they are more earnest).

Thanks for posting ...
I am interested to hear what mefite quebeckers have to say about the issues being debated in this election... All we hear in English media in ROC are charter of values and separation, comme toujours, and in my limited experience what we hear outside Quebec bears little resemblance to the debate among Quebeckers.
posted by chapps at 5:44 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Vansly: As an aside, it infuriates me how many media outlets present press releases from the Fraser Institute as fact. They never seem to be challenged, even by the CBC.

As a further aside, I wrote to CBC radio in Calgary a couple of weeks ago about their coverage of The Fraser Institute's School Rating Report, reminded them that the FI is an agenda-driven organization, and asked that the words "Fraser Institute" not be used unless they were prefaced by "Conservative think-tank".

Amazingly, I did hear a reference to the same story a couple of days later where they said, "...the Fraser Institute, a Right-leaning organization..." So hopefully they heard about it from others as well.

I think journalistic balance is an issue they take very seriously. I'm a big fan of the CBC, and I worry that they want to demonstrate their relevance by making sure we hear lots of Conservative voices. We need to make sure they hear the other side as well.
posted by sneebler at 6:05 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


chapps: It is an uncomfortable thing to be a Québécois mefite right now.
posted by L E M M at 6:13 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


I'm a Québécoise mefite and I feel just fine, thanks.
posted by jeather at 6:27 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


On est tous les Québécois aujourd'hui!
posted by sneebler at 6:30 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


What makes me uncomfortable is understanding both sides of the argument yet not being able to reconciliate them.
posted by L E M M at 6:32 PM on March 11


Are the sides separatist vs federalist? I understand both of them, I just disagree with one. It isn't a logic problem with one right answer, there's a huge balance of competing priorities.

Are the sides the various political parties? I'm not actually fond of any of them.
posted by jeather at 6:36 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


It's about being French in North America. You understand what everyone says, mais personne ne comprend ce que tu dis. It's just weird being seen as a menacing majority while at the same time being so... well, puny. But yes, there is abuse from the PQ and everyone I know is sick of them.

No, I'm not fond of any of the parties, and Quebec nationalism and Canadian Federalism are two facets of a coin I'd rather not flip.
posted by L E M M at 6:49 PM on March 11 [4 favorites]


What I would like in Quebec is reconciliation: For anglos to get a better representation at the National Assembly, and Quebec identity not to be defined so much by language rather than by shared values. I believe Quebec could be the best place in Canada.
posted by L E M M at 6:53 PM on March 11 [5 favorites]


The impression I was given was - the First Nations would most probably get to take all the resources/hydro and stay in Canada - Montreal business would be gutted. The Bank of Montreal is only ceremonially based in Montreal anymore from a previous time of separatism.

It seems like it's a sort of red meat for the base thing and only actually happens if the lunatics start running the asylum like w/ Tea Party, am I at all correct? It seems like in non-delusional governance Monied & Powerful Interests would move to prevent it.

I love Montreal, nice to be able to see a different culture sometimes without having to fly.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 7:37 PM on March 11


As an Anglophone in Montreal, I am not welcome in Quebec. It has too much history, and is too hostile. it will become more hostile when PQ gets a majority. I am priced out of Toronto. I cannot go back west. It feels exillic right now.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:43 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


As an Anglophone in Montreal, I am not welcome in Quebec. It has too much history, and is too hostile. it will become more hostile when PQ gets a majority. I am priced out of Toronto. I cannot go back west. It feels exillic right now.

Can we interest you in scenic Kitchener-Waterloo?

no we cannot
posted by saturday_morning at 7:45 PM on March 11 [5 favorites]


What makes you feel unwanted in Montreal?
posted by L E M M at 7:47 PM on March 11


Don't forget the bit where Marois only announced the elections in French.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:47 PM on March 11


...Well in Ontario they would be announced only in English!
posted by L E M M at 7:49 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


A lot of the election is targeting baby boomers and their #1 complaint/issue, health care. The Liberals are pushing for 7/7 "superclinics" plus free medical imaging! (and a chance to win a free trip to...) I note that they haven't got a platform yet. The other plank they have revealed is a "maritime strategy", mostly some investments in maritime transportation. Fun with candidates: the PLQ is running Gaétan Barrette, who was previously a star candidate for the CAQ, against Fatima Houda-Pépin, who's running as an independent after having been expelled from the Liberal caucus over her pro-charter views.

Unsurprisingly, the CAQ is railing about bureaucracy and wants to cut taxes. In health, they want to abolish the regional health agencies. In education, it's the school boards. They're the Defenders of the Taxpayers. Also, something about "democratizing" unions.

The PQ seems to go for more or less what they do now, maybe with less emphasis on the whole "value" stuff. Really no earthshaking promises, mostly "the PQ will make a big consultation and adopt a policy to..." and then some stuff that may or may not happen and that everybody's been talking about for years, like prevention-oriented healthcare, etc. Business as usual. Fun stuff: one of the leaders of the last student strike is now a candidate... is she against indexation? Hehe.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:51 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


free medical imaging

Wait, is this not normally free in Quebec?
posted by saturday_morning at 7:53 PM on March 11


a bunch of microagressions, it doesn't feel safe. things like not being able to ask directions on the bus, not having the police speak english, calling 911 and not having anyone speak english, not getting services w/ doctors or nurses, being pushed around in a canadian tire by security gaurds....and knowing pyschically that you are considered a second class citizen--having everything constructed in such a way that anglo/franco are the only two realities, and those two realities are intensely antagonistic to each other. it's a tiny, oppressive. beurocratic fiefdom.

kitchner is nice though, and so is waterloo. as is hamilton.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:56 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


in toronto, if i seek help, i can seek help in 167 languages. my grocery store can say hi to me in tagalog or igbo. it is not that i cannot speak english, b/c i know the history, but that the dueling reality reinforces a profound xenophobic and corrupt history.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:58 PM on March 11


one of the leaders of the last student strike is now a candidate... is she against indexation?

Martine Desjardins. She refuses to publicly approve it but she vouches for it! Here.
posted by L E M M at 8:00 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


It's not reimbursed if you go through a private clinic, and the public system is overloaded.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:00 PM on March 11 [2 favorites]


Aha. Thanks.
posted by saturday_morning at 8:01 PM on March 11


If Quebec votes to leave, Montreal, Hull/Gatineau, and the northern, sparsely populated areas are probably going to vote to stay with Canada. If Canada is divisible, then so is Quebec.

That doesn't follow. Quebec, as an entity, entered Confederation. If Quebec leaves Confederation (please no), it will be as an entity.

It's just weird being seen as a menacing majority while at the same time being so... well, puny.

Try being queer sometime. Same thing exactly.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:01 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Yup, PinkMoose, Quebec is becoming an increasingly intolerant society towards English and other minorities, notably Muslims. The PQ has always been an ethnic nationalist party. Now it's just expressing its underlying intolerance more openly.

Halifax is a lovely city.
posted by Dasein at 8:07 PM on March 11


That doesn't follow. Quebec, as an entity, entered Confederation. If Quebec leaves Confederation (please no), it will be as an entity.

That's not what happened. From the preamble to the Constitution Act, 1867:

"Whereas the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick have expressed their Desire to be federally united into One Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom..."

No mention of Quebec--or even Canada East. That's not to say you can't make an anti-partition argument, but you should start with the correct facts.
posted by maledictory at 8:10 PM on March 11


Yeah, for imaging I've had it done free as part of an emergency room visit, but paid cash when I needed one done as a diagnostic (which was reimbursed under my work insurance).
On the plus side, the surgery that I needed as a result of the scan was 100% free, the wait time was only a few months, and my pain meds cost all of $1.40 Canadian.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:10 PM on March 11


I suppose that's reasonable, maledictory, but you get my point. If nothing else, the whole idea of the sovereigntist movement relies on, and will enforce, the notion that Quebec is a homogenous entity.

Attempts by e.g. Montreal to stay in Canada won't.. well they won't go well I think.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:22 PM on March 11


Quebec is becoming an increasingly intolerant society towards English and other minorities, notably Muslims.

Eh, maybe its government is a little bit, but not all of the people. It's still pretty damn tolerant in this very bilingual area of West Quebec. Occasionally there will be some little incident, maybe more often since the PQ got everyone talking about it again in various ways, but in my experience it's equally likely to come from either side of the language divide, and mostly people are okay using whatever language they have in common. Perhaps it's because nearby towns have names like Chelsea, Cantley, Wakefield, Farrellton, names that subconsciously remind everyone that English-speaking people have actually lived around here for some time. It is gradually getting more francophone over the years I think, but at a very slow rate, approximately equal to the rate I'm learning to speak French.

Like a lot of the more rural bits of Canada, Muslims are unusual enough here that I'm not sure anyone would recognise one if he was praying towards Mecca, let alone know they're supposed to be intolerant to them.

As for the election... yeah, none of the political parties appeal to me much at all. Although this "maritime strategy" is intriguing. It seems a harmless enough thing for them to keep themselves busy with.
posted by sfenders at 8:47 PM on March 11


It's unfortunate that the PQ tried a Sarkozy-lite dog whisper thing with the charter, but let's not go overboard here. People also vote for QS, which is pretty much unreprochable re:tolerance, and our mayors may be corrupt, but at least...
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:00 PM on March 11


American here, living in Montreal -- just returned from Toronto tonight in fact. This is my generalized read, happy to be wrong:

Forty years ago, Trudeau struck a deal; a new, multicultural Canada to keep Quebec in the country. Since then, largely because of this deal, the demographics have shifted tremendously. Canada basically threw open the doors to able immigrants, resulting in cities that are shockingly beautiful in their comfortable diversity. PinkMoose is right. Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world (53% foreign-born, apparently). You really can speak Urdu in the grocery. But it's not just Toronto. It's Vancouver. Calgary. Montreal. They're all diverse and interconnected in a way that puts American cities to shame.

But that poses a problem for the Quebecois. After fighting so hard to keep their culture alive, first under an occupying power, then in partnership with it, they're now facing a new demographic challenge, not from the anglos, but from everyone. To strike the same deal as the rest of metropolitan Canada, to say, "We're going to be a country of the world," would be to necessarily place their own identity subservient to another vision. And that's obviously hard, especially when it was a federal, not provincial, vision to begin with. (Even if Trudeau was Quebecois.) And so you get the Charter. And you get new rumblings of separation. Because the new Canada has officially arrived, and they're not sure if they want to fully participate in it.

Anyway, that's my amateur take. I defer to the Canadians and the Quebecois in the room for the truth.
posted by vecchio at 9:15 PM on March 11 [10 favorites]


...Well in Ontario they would be announced only in English!

what
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:24 PM on March 11 [7 favorites]


Forty years ago, Trudeau struck a deal; a new, multicultural Canada to keep Quebec in the country.

Actually, official bilingualism was the policy that was focused on Quebec. Rather than giving Quebec special status a French nation (using the term to denote the ethnicity here), he attempted to make them feel a part of Canada by bringing their language into the federal government. Of course that undermined the idea, held by nationalists, that they were special, and this was not viewed favourably.

I find all the armchair constitutional quarterbacking about what would happen if Quebec declared independence tedious. Putting aside for a moment that another referendum is nowhere close, even if the PQ gain a majority...Folks, the reality is we have no idea what would happen. Probably chaos. There is no mechanism for a province to leave Confederation. Remember, the 1995 referendum, which was defeated by a hair's breadth, would only have given the Quebec government a mandate to negotiate with Ottawa on separation. How exactly do people think that would have gone?

Canada: A country that shouldn't be, so it is.
posted by dry white toast at 9:28 PM on March 11


...Well in Ontario they would be announced only in English!

Ontario is an officially bilingual province. All press releases and government services are in English and French.
posted by dry white toast at 9:30 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


But one of the things that Trudeau recognized was that Canada was always diverse. Montreal from its beginning had people speak not only French and English, but Gaelic, Scots, Huron, and Iriqouis. Montreal had people from the African Diaspora from Champlain onwards (Mathieu De Costa, who was of African descent, and was on Champlain's ship, spoke five languages, including a pidgin Basque used by first nations). Montreal was an important port for Francophone Maroons, (a Creole) There were 120 000 jews here from the 1860s onward, speaking both Yiddish (yet another Creole) and Hebrew. Chinese from the Gunagdong province built the railroad through Quebec. None of these were not with out violence, anger, and an attempt to stamp people out--but it was also in favour of intermixing.

When John Ralston Saul talks about our nation as a metis nation, it must be noted that we were founded on this cross breeding. Quebec Francophones got fucked over, I don't doubt that--but this pure laine aesthetic they are pushing is intensely problematic, because language is never pure. (also, it disservinces historical francophone communities in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan)
posted by PinkMoose at 9:38 PM on March 11 [7 favorites]


The charte des valeurs is the PQ'S FUD tactic. It only applies to Montreal. Less than a year after passing the fixed-date election bill, the PQ is contradicting itself by provoking elections as it rides on the fears created by the (deaf-)debates surrounding the charte. It is a strategic move, and PKP's ackward entry highlights the surreal character of these elections.
posted by ddaavviidd at 9:42 PM on March 11


I didn't think Ontario was bilingual, only Ottawa as the federal capital? And then federal government sites (is airports) like everywhere in Canada are bilingual.
I thought the bilingual provinces were Manitoba and Nouvelle Brunswick?

The elections BC website Is in English, but there might be some announcements sent to other language media (i.e. the Chinese papers). I tholink it would be hard to get by in French in bc, even in a city like Victoria where there is a military base.
posted by chapps at 10:09 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


New Brunswick is the only bilingual province. Ontario provides bilingual services in some places because it is pragmatic to do so.
posted by Yowser at 11:00 PM on March 11


I have no doubt it is easier to for other cultures to get along in Montreal--as an aside, I love Montreal--but once you leave Quebec's largest city, the province is more white and narrow-minded. This is who the Charter really appeals to: small towns and small cities where there really aren't a lot of visible people of color and are wrongly afraid of an influx of strange foreigners who don't speak French or English as a first language. When I moved to Sherbrooke, I was sort of taken aback about just how white it was. There are Vietnamese, some Southeastern Asian, Middle Eastern folks, but it's hard for me to grasp just how much of a minority they are.
posted by Kitteh at 5:23 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Yiddish isn't a creole, coincidentally. (Or, if your definition of creole covers Yiddish, it'll probably cover English, too, which is a choice of definition you could make.)
posted by hoyland at 6:20 AM on March 12


vecchio – That's pretty much exactly my instinctive take, as a born-and-raised Montreal anglophone. I suspect it's also probably wrong. There's more to the basis of Quebec nationalism than just the sentiment of being a persecuted ethnic group (e.g. the student protests and the history of access to education and the quiet revolution). I also suspect it must overstate the role of Trudeau, but here I am hampered by my total and absolute ignorance of Canadian history.
posted by ~ at 6:36 AM on March 12


Yes, it does overstate the role of Trudeau. He's important, because of his role in centralizing federalism and establishing bilingualism, but he didn't create the current situation all by himself. Independence has been around fairly seriously since the early 1960s, and it has mixed roots in leftism and anticolonialism on one hand, and on a more purely nationalistic strain on the other. And so you get the Minister-Poet but also PKP and his father.

I would also note that it's not Trudeau but Pearson (or Diefenbaker) who opened immigration to all, regardless of race.

Montreal was already diverse by then, but it was a mostly-separate-but-diverse kind of diverse; when they went on vacation, the Jews in St-Adolphe-d'Howard didn't really mix with the French Canadians of Ste-Agathe. But they did help the French Canadian seamstresses to unionize back on St-Laurent Blvd.

You also had the Portuguese, the Italians, the Spanish, and later the Lebanese, the Haitians, etc. Nowadays you have more contact between communities, but until relatively recently people tended to keep to themselves.

And so that's the context the PQ and the modern independence movement was born in; things have changed, immigration has changed (many Spanish immigrants returned to Spain after Franco's fall, for instance), but the basic arguments haven't really.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:03 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Wiki says a creole " is a stable natural language that has developed from a pidgin" and a pidgin is "is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common". Yiddish's combo of Hebrew, German, and other centeral European languages, stabilized over centuries, and taught as a first language, i think counts.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:01 AM on March 12


What I would like in Quebec is reconciliation: For anglos to get a better representation at the National Assembly, and Quebec identity not to be defined so much by language rather than by shared values. I believe Quebec could be the best place in Canada.

I am with you in all this. I think Quebec could be amazing. And in the day to day life, it is generally amazing. (I have no trouble speaking to police in English, getting medical care in English, or going about my daily life in English if I so desire. Which mostly I don't desire, but I could.)

The thing is, the French vs English thing, in Montreal, on a daily basis -- it doesn't really mean anything. Most of the time people will speak whatever language they prefer and get along or don't get along the same way people get along or don't get along anywhere else in the world.

Montreal was already diverse by then, but it was a mostly-separate-but-diverse kind of diverse; when they went on vacation, the Jews in St-Adolphe-d'Howard didn't really mix with the French Canadians of Ste-Agathe. But they did help the French Canadian seamstresses to unionize back on St-Laurent Blvd.

You also had the Portuguese, the Italians, the Spanish, and later the Lebanese, the Haitians, etc. Nowadays you have more contact between communities, but until relatively recently people tended to keep to themselves.


Interestingly, this has pretty much turned into there being stable different accents for the various anglo groups (some groups have more than one).

Yiddish isn't a creole, it's German with Hebrew loan words and a Hebrew alphabet.
posted by jeather at 11:28 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


It's probably easiest to think of Yiddish as a sort of dialect of Middle High German, in some sort of broad approximation. The other MHG dialects went one way and eventually became modern German, Yiddish (well, an ancestor, not modern Yiddish) went another. (IIRC, there's a vowel shift that happened in German that didn't happen in Yiddish, plus Yiddish having loan words from Hebrew and Slavic languages.) In particular, in terms of being a creole, the existence of a precursor pidgin is not known (nor assumed).
posted by hoyland at 2:38 PM on March 12


i am wrong about yiddish, i apologize
posted by PinkMoose at 3:20 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, QS is proposing adding a tax bracket, reducing tuition to zero in 5 years, making public transportation free in 10 years (electrified), establishing a minimum guaranteed revenue (instead of welfare), and creating an elected constitutional assembly, which would propose a constitution for Quebec that would then go to a referendum.

To say it's an ambitious program [pdf, French] (I left out a lot) would be an understatement.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:33 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


Oh and apparently Option nationale is still around! Who knew?
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:34 PM on March 12


And the UCQ, too (pdf)?!
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:46 PM on March 12


I do not think "feminism" means what this ex-PQ candidate thinks it means.
posted by Kitteh at 2:52 PM on March 13


Oh, interestingly, one plank I hadn't looked at in QS's program: to finance their plan, they want to end some subsidies, such as those received by the game industry (EA Montreal, Ubisoft) and the pharmaceutical industry.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:18 PM on March 13


From Quebec to Catalonia, the nationhood dream is in the DNA
posted by homunculus at 12:29 AM on March 14


Quebec artist says Marois looks beautiful in hijab... And doctors Marois' campaign poster to show us.
posted by chapps at 7:20 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


A new fight has broken out about voter registrations -- mostly in the downtown Montreal ridings. I'm not totally sure how to describe it without being totally, totally biased, but essentially the elections officers are refusing to add people (mostly, but not exclusively, students) to the list. Some people claim this is because they aren't adding anglophones or allophones, some people claim it's that they are not actually allowed to vote.

The DGE put out a waffly statement saying that to prove you are domiciled in Quebec certain things are useful, but essentially that people can use their discretion in adding or not adding. The PQ -- the party least likely to be voted for in the ridings at issue -- is requesting that the DGE define things strictly (which they are apparently doing) and also send them daily updates on new voters added to the list, saying that Ontarians and other people are stealing the election. The other parties seem to be staying far, far away.
posted by jeather at 11:53 AM on March 23 [1 favorite]


I tend to take a newsbreak from CBC and related on the weekends, but catching up this morning, all I can say is: Wow. I mean, are the PQ seriously convinced that anglophone/allophone students and such have it out for them? Is no one else a little freaked out by how crazy this whole thing sounds? Especially since the PQ practically courted students the last election.

And I wish I could vote. I pay provincial taxes, this has been my primary residence for a half decade, but nope. I am all for the idea that Toronto and Ontario are considering in allowing PRs to vote in the future. I mean, if I'm not going anywhere and you're making me pay my share and I do have a health card, I should be able to get a say.
posted by Kitteh at 3:39 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


all I can say is: Wow. I mean, are the PQ seriously convinced that anglophone/allophone students and such have it out for them?

A facebook friend put it as "gee, I wonder why you'd see a sudden upturn in voter turnout amongst immigrants and anglophones in Quebec when the party they're voting against tries to ban immigrant cultural symbols and make living in Quebec as an Anglophone impossible. Must be a federalist plot!"

I do like that, from this G&M article, Elections Quebec fought back against the accusations. There's been way too much politicizing of elections agencies (cf the new federal bill), and I'm glad they're not letting it slide.

(also good that the G&M article is clear that it's unreal, rather than doing a "both sides" garbage)
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:05 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I too am glad Elections Quebec is giving the PQ's paranoia the side-eye, but as much as that is awesome, it will likely not quell the rampant belief that hardliners have that the Federalists are out to get them. I have this stupid habit of looking at Twitter every time Quebec trends and often it leads me down a sad disturbing rabbit hole. Today was one of those times in re: to the "oh noes the English and furriners are stealing our election!" news story.
posted by Kitteh at 7:14 AM on March 24


Well, that debate went as well as expected.
posted by Kitteh at 11:07 AM on March 28


Latest in the problems students are encountering voting:

Quebec green party candidate told he is not eligible to vote.

As someone who works with students I want to note that barriers to students voting exist right across the country.

BC also requires six months residence to vote here, and I have known grad students from out of province know refused the right to vote with a voucher in a **federal** election.

And of course, the proposed federal election rules will only make it worse for students (and other transient people, like people who work out of province) in federal elections... hell, I have been living in my new place over a year, and none of my ID has my current address (better get that fixed!) Keeping registered with my tax forms won't solve that problem.

Seems like its also going to be hard to get a poll on a campus.
posted by chapps at 3:20 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


I am starting to suspect that rich immigrants have replaced the rich English in terms of the Francophone bogeyman. This article really doesn't help that observation, if I'm right.

(Also, I hate linking to the Gazette because it's just as bad as its French counterparts, but until the Globe & Fail picks it up, I guess it will do.)
posted by Kitteh at 8:18 AM on March 31


As far as I can tell, the swimming pool story is a what-if, not something that has ever happened. (The part where two men came to the pool and left for some reason appears to be true; the part where anything else happened at all with the pool appears to be fantasy.)

If you understand French, this video on Herouxtyville is very funny.
posted by jeather at 9:17 AM on March 31


Oh god, jeather, that just makes it so much worse....!

Also, thanks for the link! I will check it out.
posted by Kitteh at 9:20 AM on March 31


wow. What a landslide for the Liberals... !!
posted by chapps at 6:29 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Yeah I was just coming here to say! link.

It's those damn students! And ethnics!
{/}tortière{/}
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:33 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Going from the live updates on the CBC web site right now, the only worthwhile story is that someone worth $670 million managed to win himself a seat on the opposition benches.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:40 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


How sweet it is.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:46 PM on April 7


the only worthwhile story is that someone worth $670 million managed to win himself a seat on the opposition benches.

Kind of makes you think twice about all that "manufacturing consent" stuff they teach in the poli sci department.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:47 PM on April 7


haha! metafilter a besoin d'une hashtag tortiere, absolument!

I am not thrilled about the liberals.. i don't favour their policies on plan nord, university tuition or poverty at all, but I am so, so happy and relieved that the Charter will die its much deserved death. I only hope the success for QS getting another seat will underline that support for the charter was a losing strategy.
posted by chapps at 7:20 PM on April 7


It's those damn students!

Well, the PQ is in third in Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques.

(The Beaverton covers this story.)

I'm glued to that riding's results and also Charlevoix.
posted by jeather at 7:36 PM on April 7


and also Charlevoix.

BOOM! I'd been following that one as well. That's a harsh blow.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:49 PM on April 7


Yeah, I'm surprised and pleased by this morning's results, to say the least. I think the PQ's eletion death knell started with PKP not being able to keep his mouth shut regarding independence and ended with a strong push of the Charter to keep their usual voters scared. I'm not keen on the Liberals too much myself--mostly because it's just a different flavor of meh--but anyone but the PQ, sadly.

Quebec, this is a huge blow to identity politics and referendums. Well done.
posted by Kitteh at 3:45 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Whew.
posted by aramaic at 9:37 AM on April 8


New thread on election results.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:46 AM on April 8


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