Postscript: Too many promises, not enough substance in Quebec’s election
Published Friday, August 17, 2012 2:24PM EDT
MONTREAL—The Quebec election campaign has become as everyone knew it would be, a rather poisonous affair.
Pauline Marois is appealing to a hard core intolerant constituency with her politics of identity and fear.
If measuring the size of English on signs is not enough, she seems now to want to measure the size of crosses and stars of David.
It’s obvious that face covers are not acceptable in a modern egalitarian society. But to ban any demonstration of ones faith in the public and para-public sector as Marois proposes is draconian and frankly repugnant.
Further, La Marois has also declared open season on Anglophones.
Her pronouncements on mother tongue are troublesome. It’s not enough anymore to know how to speak French; it must be your birthright for it to count.
Clearly, inclusion is not part of her vision of Quebec. Her campaign is about victimization. It is a sad, but moreover, dangerous path to take.
In the meantime, where is the real debate about the real issues?
It is raining promises with no one telling the truth that the cupboard is bare. Just for example:
Jean Charest promised a quarter million jobs and $500 million in new projects for Montreal…and the Cavendish extension for the umpteenth time.
The CAQ promising it will fix the family doctor shortage within a year and is pledging a $1 billion tax cut.
The PQ is promising it will fix unemployment by taking control over unemployment insurance from Ottawa, and vowing that a new Bill 101 within 100 days will save French from the nefarious forces of English. It also pledges to create 15,000 new daycare spots
Everyone it seems is disconnected from reality. Here is what they should be talking about:
Quebec’s long-term debt is now over a quarter of a trillion dollars. As of today it stands at $252 billion and it is increasing by $ 10.2 billion a year or $322 per second.
Why is this important? Because debt servicing is now the government’s third biggest expense after health care and education. The more we pay for debt, the poorer we become and less we have for important programs such as health care.
Why don’t my friends the separatists ever mention this fact?
An independent Quebec which would assume its share of the federal debt would be one of the most indebted countries in the world according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Debt as a per cent of GDP in a separate Quebec would be 94 per cent. Just behind Greece and Iceland. That’s something to strive for.
There are real issues that need to be talked about.
We have an aging population that will place more and more demands on a fragile health care system. The tax base is shrinking. Quebec lags behind most of North America in productivity.
Yet we are getting promises that politicians know they can’t keep. It is subterfuge, plain and simple. They sometimes take us for fools and if we don’t ask the important questions.
Sometimes they are absolutely right