Postscript: Liberals must change Quebec election conversation
Barry Wilson, Executive producer, CTV Montreal
Published Friday, March 7, 2014 1:22PM EST
This will be the most important Quebec election in a generation.
And right off the bat the premier broke her own fixed date election law. We weren’t supposed to go to the polls until the fall of 2016. But politics is politics and principles are sometimes negotiable.
Second, it sure didn’t take long for the r-word to pass through Madame Marois’ lips.
The premier, admitting there will be no referendum strategy discussed in public. In other words, it will only be discussed in private. Because if the Pequistes get a majority, you can be sure they will use everything at their disposal including your tax dollars to pump up support for a third referendum. The folks who just can’t take no for an answer.
It will be up to the Liberals more than anyone to frame and change the debate.
Philippe Couillard must repeat day in and day that the main issues are jobs, the economy and political stability. Quebec lost 26,000 jobs last month. He must convince Quebecers that the real threat is not from someone who looks different but from those indifferent to Quebec’s economic welfare.
He must expose the PQ‘s referendum strategy for what it is, while the PQ will try to ignore the 800-pound gorilla in the room.
The subtext of everything they do and stand for can simply be put as “us-versus-them.”
This is a government so incompetent on so many issues, but they have managed to find the one thing that may pave their way back to power -- the politics of identity.
They have managed to successfully create a crisis where none existed. They have sowed the seeds of division and are reaping their harvest, or so they hope.
The French language is not under siege. It is stronger than ever. Quebec values, whatever they may be are not threatened.
But the PQ has skillfully managed the conversation to convince so many Quebecers that Muslims and others are at their doorsteps, ready to take over and change their lives. It is rubbish but it plays well for those who don’t know better.
The real question is the economy and the kind of future we want for ourselves and our children, not endless debates over imaginary bogeymen.
Simply put, we cannot afford to pay the bills. Quebec borrows just to pay for the groceries.
As Quebecers we owe an astounding $264 billion in public debt, or in other words, $30,202 per person. And that increases by $31 million a day or $359 per second. Yes, per second.
And one other thing, I have never been able to get a straight answer from the separatists on the question of federal transfers to Quebec.
This year Quebec will receive $17,851 billion in federal transfers and that make up an astounding 25 per cent of provincial revenues.
But Madame Marois continues to ignore the real issues staking her fate on waving paper tigers in front of voters and trying to convince them they are real.
Voters have a decision to make about what kind of society they want to live in: us-versus-them or a different vision of something better, where we all feel at home.
A Quebec for all, not just for some