Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Q the music

Well being that they don't cover Canadian elections on TV in Kansas, I just found out this morning about the Quebec election results. To be honest, I could care less who won because the federal government will always continue to pander to that province, but am moderately pleased at the results (if that makes any sense).

For my American friends, the Parti Liberal Quebec (PLQ) is a middle of the road party that believes Quebec should definitely be a part of Canada and is the incumbant governing party. The Parti Quebecois (PQ) is a separatist/sovereignist party, meaning they want to have a third referendum on which has formed the Quebec government a few times, and the Action Democratique du Quebec (ADQ) is a newer right of centre party. This election was the closest resulting in a minority government in well over 100 years:

Liberals ... 48 seats (33% of the vote), down from 72 seats
ADQ ........ 41 seats (31% of the vote), way up from 5 seats
PQ ........... 36 seats (28% of the vote), down from 45 seats

I'm glad the Charest Liberals won due to Prime Minister Harper's support and the chunk of cash he just gave them which Charest then wanted to use for tax cuts. But somehow, I think Charest went along that path ONLY due to the surge of Mario Dumont's ADQ party and his support for tax cuts. In this sense the ADQ reminds me of the old Reform Party and how its fiscal conservatism was a major reason why the Chretien Liberals became fiscal conservatives.

The strong ADQ showing then indicates to me that Quebeckers want to be a real player and a contributor to the country, instead of being bought with cash by various federal parties, and a perpetual have-not province, moving away from the socialism that has crippled the province for so long.

But here's a quote from former separatist/former Paul Martin Liberal cabinet minister that I was glad to hear echoeing my repeated posts on the forgotten middle class:

Jean Lapierre, a former federal Quebec politician-turned-commentator, told CTV News the ADQ's remarkable results represent a revolt by the middle class and the regions.

"They were sick and tired of the old parties. They had other priorities, like family values ... and taxes. They felt the other two parties weren't listening to them," he said.

So for the middle class folk of Quebec, I applaud you. (But honestly, hearing this about family values and taxes from a federal Liberal makes me laugh.) I think Quebeckers were sick and tired of the decades old federalist vs. separatist debate and wanted an ideological one. With the ADQ as official opposition, they're going to get it, and this is only good news for Quebec.

Speaking of the old debate, pay close attention to PQ leader Andre Boisclair's words here (emphasis mine):
He noted that Quebec has existed for almost 400 years. In speaking of those who have helped build the province, Boisclair said, "We have to honour those people ... We have to speak about how we're original, how we are different, how we are strong. Tonight, we all have a duty to keep this flame alive, and to keep the doors open for Quebec to develop for its future and for the role it can play within Canada and within the world."

What did he say? "Within Canada"? "WITHIN"? WHAT??? Doesn't sound like an optimistic separatist now does it? Previous leaders of the PQ would NEVER say that. Was it a slip up or an admission of defeat? These words also remind me of the wording in the infamous "Harper Nation Motion" not too long ago about Quebec being a nation "within a united Canada".

Now everyone's asking what the heck this all means for Prime Minister Harper. With the federal budget a week old, everyone's saying that the big $700 million transfer payout it gave to Quebec, and the impending election of Charest's Liberals again means that Harper's so-called "gamble" on propping up Charest worked. Or did it really have any effect? As I said before, I think Charest's tax cut announcement just a couple days after the federal budget staved off the ADQ, but at the same time I think a lot of voters weren't quite ready for the ADQ yet, having only 5 seats previously.

So from all this, will Prime Minister Harper rig up an election soon to get that majority government? Many seem to think so. With a supposedly successful budget and riding high in the polls, I think Harper wants to take on Liberal leader Stephane Dion and accomplish his ultimate goal of becoming the new natural governing party and further demoralize the federal Liberals to the fence-sitting, flip-flop, rudderless, corrupt and untrustworthy party they've become.

The last budget indicated to me that Mr. Harper is willing to do almost anything to reach that goal. I can't say I blame Mr. Harper, I can't stand the Liberal party, but I will say, at what cost to his core libertarian-conservative principles?

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