Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Why Anglos Should Welcome CAQ Victory

For most us in the Anglo community, English rights and the issue of sovereignty was the overriding and ultimate issue driving our voting choice over the last forty years.
Truth be told, if the Mafia led a federalist party that promised unlimited English rights, but as a trade-off mob style corruption, we would have voted for them in droves.

Come to think of it, we did!

But the war over English language rights and Quebec sovereignty is over, both suffering an ignominious and lasting defeat, raising the question as to whether we should continue to support the ageing Liberals or bolt to the CAQ.

So let's take stock of where we are.

It seems to me, that vis-a-vis Anglo rights, we have sunk as low as we can go.
No party is willing to increase those rights and none, even the PQ is looking to further erode our community. It is a question of kicking the proverbial dead horse when it's down, and where retribution against the Anglo community for real or imagined slights is no longer a driving voter issue.
In fact, gratuitously picking on the Anglo community is probably viewed by the majority of francophone voters as a bit mean-spirited and certainly uncalled for given the circumstances, and like a dominant sports team pummelling the opposition, running up the score is viewed as poor sportsmanship.

Sadly for us, Anglos no longer matter in Quebec, neutralized as a political or economic force over the last forty years that saw Anglo companies and Anglo children driven out of the province to the point where we are today, like the PQ, an irrelevant and spent political force.

If as a voter you are asking yourself which party will better represent Anglo interests, don't bother.
Even the dead-in-the-water PQ represent no further threat to English language rights and even if the party theoretically came to power, it's policy about the French language would probably target the francophone community where the last fight that the PQ can mount would be an effort to limit Francophones learning English.  Just about the only idea left to the moribund PQ is perhaps extending Bill 101 to English cegeps, restricting francophone access, which honestly would just open up places for Anglophones who don't have the astronomical marks needed to gain entrance as today's heightened standards are directly related to the pressure of French enrolment.

But paradoxically, accepting the reality of our Anglo situation in Quebec, that is, that the present situation is as good as it gets, can be liberating.
We can choose to leave or choose to stay in Quebec under these conditions, but if we stay we'll be free to look at other issues when choosing between the CAQ or the Liberals.

So the following critique is sadly devoid of any discussion of the different party's position on Anglo rights because they are essentially the same.

It is hard to fault the Couillard Liberals over good government, but nonetheless, they are doomed to lose the next election.
The overriding job off the government is to manage the public purse as responsibly as possible and on this account the Liberals have done a pretty good job, in fact, better than any other provincial government, eliminating the deficit and making a dent in Quebec's massive debt.
I know it's an unpopular concept for voters who don't see the benefits of austerity, but nonetheless, those tangible benefits are real.
Balancing the budget and reducing debt has a twofold effect which we should all understand and consider.
First is that when government balances the budget, the interest on the debt over time becomes less onerous.
Let me explain by way of example.
Consider a family who twenty-five years ago bought a home for $250,000 with a $50,000 down and a mortgage of $200,000 with fixed monthly payment of say $1,3000 a month. Over the years, the mortgage payment is fixed, but the family income perhaps doubles, making the mortgage payment half as painful as when first assumed.
It is the same for government debt.
If we can just freeze the amount of debt, inflation will reduce the impact of carrying that debt over the years.
Now paying government debt is an added bonus, somewhat like making an extra payment on your mortgage which some banks allow, which has the effect of paying off the debt sooner.

In the case of governments paying off debt, one can assume that every billion dollars paid down, represents an annual interest saving of about $50 million dollars, money that can be redirected into government spending programs.
Over the last two budgets, Quebec has paid off $7 billion in debt, freeing up an additional $350 million in money that it saves on interest, money that can be spent otherwise. According to projections, the Quebec government will pay off another $14 billion in debt over the next four years, freeing up another $700 million in recovered money that would otherwise be spent on interest.
While it isn't sexy, it is what good government is about and on this account, full marks for the Liberals.
“S&P Global last week raised Quebec’s rating to AA-minus from A-plus, citing “strong budget surpluses and declining debt burden.” That put Quebec’s S&P rating above Ontario’s, which is Canada’s most populous province, for the first time since 2006.”  Link
Austerity is controversial because it reduces government services across the board and so it biggest opponents are those who are penalized, those who pay little or no tax, but receive benefits. For them, the free ride on the back of real taxpayers is a gravy train that they don't want to see pulling out of the station. Although most of the pain of austerity has been borne by middle-class public employees who have seen their contracts rolled back, it is the vocal non-payers who bellyache the loudest.

All this good news must be tempered by the fact that other Canadians are subsidizing this new found fiscal responsibility.
Good as the Liberal effort is in paying down the debt and balancing the budget, the elephant in the room remains the equalization payment made to Quebec by Ottawa on behalf of Canadian taxpayers. Out of the annual $11 billion equalization gift from Ottawa, other Canadians taxpayers pay $8.7 billion of that amount (the other part is paid by Quebec taxpayers.)  This gift from other Canadians represents about 10% of the Quebec budget, something nobody in Quebec is willing to admit.

Nobody except Francois Legault, leader of the CAQ who said this;
 “What I want to tell Quebecers is that a CAQ government will aim for zero equalization. A CAQ government will eliminate the wealth gap with the rest of Canada. A CAQ government will have ambition, will aim high for Quebec.”
Them's fighting words!

With the language war over, it is perhaps time to get down to sound, responsible government and working towards prosperity that will provide the government with the funds needed to help those who need help the most.

A new government, unburdened by responsibility for policies created in the past can look at each problem with fresh eyes, unencumbered by history... a veritable fresh start.

There are many things that could be changed, that should be changed.
  • The antiquated and failed CEGEP system.
  • A bureaucratic and overburdened health care system.
  • A bloated and inefficient public service, which also goes for the school board system.
  • A new approach to protection and expansion of French in Quebec without placing the burden of change on the Anglophone community.
  • A new approach towards entrepreneurship and business.
  • Abandoning 'grand' schemes and costly white elephant programs
  • A realistic approach to costly 'green' energy projects that waste billions.  
A CAQ government won't be any worse for the Anglos, perhaps better, with a deeper respect towards our community than the phoney Liberals pretended to have.

Given the conservative roots of the CAQ and the abandonment of nationalist policies, I'm ready to give them their shot.

And so Canada's two largest provinces, making up more than half of Canada's population are turning towards conservative governments and it remains to be seen what they will accomplish.

But one thing I know for sure is that if I were Justin, I'd be very anxious.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Bloc Quebecois Faithful, Like Flat-Earthers, Demonstrate Blissful Ignorance

As the Bloc Quebecois leadership fiasco unfolds, it is becoming increasing clear that the die-hards, led by leader Martine Ouellet, remain steadfastly faithful to the ideological goal of Quebec sovereignty, supposedly achievable in our time, the discredited and defeated notion which like those who believe that the Earth is flat, proves that for some, reality remains a step too far.

There are many good people who believe that Quebec sovereignty is a noble and justifiable goal, but who realize that in the context of today's political and social reality, it just isn't going to happen.

Then there are those that refuse to accept reality, the Bloc Quebecois militants led by idealogue Martine Ouellet who believe that everything can be achieved if only one dreams hard enough.
We've seen this attitude amongst cultists and anti-vaxers where science and reality are irrelevant and where dogma and blind faith supplant truth.
Such is the case of the faithful adherents and members of the Bloc Quebecois who overwhelmingly support Martine Ouellet's fantasy that keeping the faith and working towards the goal of Quebec sovereignty is a noble, justifiable and realizable goal, fantasists who also must believe that pedaling on a stationary exercise bike is a likely conveyance to propel them to the promised land.

Then there are those seven members (out of ten) caucus members of the Bloc Quebecois members of Parliament who know different and who bolted the caucus not only because they believed that right now, given the diminished support for sovereignty, that the role that he party must  undertake in Ottawa is one where it stands up and protects 'Quebec interests.'
This realistic conclusion is one that the 'Dear Leader' of the Bloc cannot and will not accept along with the backing of most of the Bloc membership who also support the 'sovereignty or death' choice.

And so the two factions seem unable to heal the rift which has exploded into an irreconcilable schism. The fact that Martine Ouellet is also bat-shit crazy, something almost everyone who has worked for her admits, doesn't auger well for reconciliation.

As for myself and most readers of this blog, the only word to describe the imminent collapse of the Bloc Quebecois is not English nor French, but rather German.
That word is 'schadenfreude,'  the pleasure derived from another's misfortune.
The topping on this sundae is the hope that the death spiral of the Bloq will be exceedingly long and painful, wiping the idiot smile off Mario Beaulieu's face and breaking the spirit of Martine Ouellet.

Let the seven members of the Bloq who bolted the caucus sit as independents until they take their leave come next election.
Or better still, let them run and split the remaining Bloq vote, insuring an election wipeout that will seal the deal and consign the Bloq Quebecois to the history books along with the Union Nationale or the Ralliement créditiste.

Good Riddance!

Monday, March 5, 2018

NAFTA Will Finally Destroy Justin Trudeau

The Prime Minister's latest fiasco, an unsuccessful and laughable adventure in India underscores Justin Trudeau's obsession with form over substance.

But the India trip has had some real impact on Liberal support and one has to ask whether Justin has peaked and is on the way down.
Even the Indians cringed at the Bollywood style outfights that our first family decked themselves out in and questions are starting to be asked, even among supporters, just how stable our PM is.
His cringe-worthy outfits, costing tens of thousands of dollars belies that fact that the Indian government think poorly of him and has shunned him badly on the trip
"Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada was the subject of global ridicule for his Bollywood-worthy outfits during a weeklong trip to India.
His elaborate dress was called “too Indian even for an Indian.” Above, Mr. Trudeau and his family with the movie star Shah Rukh Khan." New York Times
All this after the "humankind' fiasco where our intrepid PM hectored a questioner at a town hall meeting advising her that 'mankind' was no longer acceptable in his eyes. The backlash was particularly vicious and humiliating, prompting Trudeau to tell the media clumsily that it was all a joke.
Not many of us, even the faithful believed that.
It may very well be that the "humankind"
gaffe may have sent Justin 'jumping the shark.' the exact point at which we can say he turned from a modern new-age feminist superstar to bumbling dolt.

At any rate, the Liberals and Justin personally suffered real damage after the Canadian diplomatic reception in India that offered an invitation to a Canadian man connected with Sikh terrorism.  The invite was quickly rescinded, but the damage was done.
To make matters worse, those speaking for the Prime Minister intimated that it was elements in the Indian government who made the invitation in an effort to discredit Trudeau.
This assertion set the Indian government into a rage and in a sharply and undiplomatic rebuke, told the Canadian government that India had nothing to do with the invite and in a diplomatic note  said that; "Any suggestion to the contrary is baseless and unacceptable.”

And so the latest poll shows Trudeau and his Liberals falling behind the Conservatives and the only thing surprising is why it took so long.
For the longest time, Trudeau's support was rock solid despite his many gaffes, missteps and reckless overspending, but cracks in his feminist/new world armour appeared when he started to be mocked in the media, especially the foreign media.
It isn't policy that is hurting the Liberals, it is Trudeau's personality, which is what propelled the Liberals into power back in 2015 and which is sinking the party now.

Like young teen girl giddy over the latest iteration of a popular boy band, when the crush is over, it is over, and near impossible to get back on the bandwagon.

As for Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, we've not heard or seen much of him, which is a good thing because when your opponent is driving towards a cliff, it's bad form to yell.... Faster! Faster!

But sensing trouble, Trudeau will fight for his political future tooth and nail and damn the consequences for the country. He's already demonstrated his selfish propensities by running up the debt for no good reason except to keep him and his party in power, a selfish decision that demonstrates his utter contempt for taxpayers and future taxpayers.

And so we all sit here and hope that the NAFTA negotiations are successful and conclude without inflicting too much damage on us, pain that we are already factoring in, in order to placate Donald Trump's ego.
But let's be clear, any NAFTA is better than no NAFTA.

And so Justin finds himself between a rock and a hard place, deciding between a bad deal in NAFTA or no deal at all.

Now Trump has gone all in, by making an exemption for Canada from the soon to be imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum conditional on a successfully re-negotiated NAFTA.
It seems that Trump, sensing that Canada is on course to reject the NAFTA deal and damn the consequences, is terrified that failure to 'win' a new favourable deal for the USA would destroy his image as the great negotiator, something we all know he is loathe to allow.

If the deal is scrapped, the full weight of the disaster on the economy will take a year to be felt and another year to send unemployment skyrocketing and the economy tanking and since the Liberals are running a huge deficit already, there's no way to ease the pain through spending.
All this in the runup to the next federal election.

Even if Justin somehow makes a deal, the political pain from the moaners who lose out because of Canadian concessions made will be harsh.
Since it is inconceivable that Justin will allow the dairy cartel to be dismantled or the duties on cross-border online shopping, it probably falls on the auto sector to be given up, a disaster for Ontario.

Make a deal and face a political disaster or make no deal and face a political disaster, a veritable 'Sophie's Choice.

It is lights out for the Liberals and there's no new age blather that can talk Justin and the Liberals out of this one.
Facing diminishing polls, ridicule and difficult decisions ahead, I think we're going a different Justin, a nasty sort who will bare his teeth and viciously attack opponents, blaming others for all his woes.

In other words, just another cheap politician.

And here is another fearless prediction.
You won't see another photo of Justin in costume anymore, not even for Halloween!
And I'll bet he's also ditching the goofy socks too.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Bloc Finally Achieves Separation...From Itself!

Well, the Bloc Quebecois finally imploded under the weight of the cancerous leadership of Martine Ouellet, with seven of the ten sitting parliamentarians bolting the caucus after sending an ultimatum to the leader that she resign or face the resignations of 70% of her caucus.

Martine Ouellet is the clueless idealogue that reminds me of those still 'living-in-the-past members of the Quebec Communist party which actually still exists.
She is a brainless twit who is despised by most around her and the PQ, where in her failed leadership attempt she garnered just 16% of the vote.
In that leadership race she promised that if elected Premier of Quebec, she would nationalize the internet, forgetting or not understanding that telecommunications are in the domain of the federal government.
She also said Jagmeet Singh was unfit to lead because he is too religious for Quebecers.
Ouellet outlined her idea of a potential independent Quebec constitution where Quebecers would retain the Canadian dollar and passport — but could choose to have a Quebec and a Canadian passport. Link{fr}
She promised that if elected Premier she would demand that Canada's Olympic hockey have a minimum of 20% Quebec players, talent notwithstanding.
How's that for looney!
I know I've published this YouTube video before, but if you missed it, it's a chance to see what a real dimwit she is.

Aside from firing and replacing just about all the support staff, Ouellet offended almost her entire caucus with her fanaticism and authoritarianism, the very essence of a 'Bad boss', something the oldtimers just couldn't stomach.

But the real breach is idealogical, where those who left have been worn down by the lost sovereignty fight and now believe that their role in Parliament is to defend Quebec interests, something the new leader refused to accept.
In fact, she actually has the backing of the party, who like her still believe that the fight for independence is viable.
Just two weeks ago the party faithful voted to reject the notion that the Bloc should switch gears and have as its primary responsibility the defence of Quebec interests.
It was a realistic approach and honest admission that there's nothing to be done in Ottawa that could possibly advance the cause of sovereignty.

Ouellet has dreamed of leading a party for so long that despite losing the confidence of her caucus, she will soldier on, at least until the party stops paying her, which is unlikely because she actually enjoys more support than the members who have left the caucus.

What will happen?
Will the party collapse?
Will Ouellet resign?
Will the members re-integrate after a make-up session?

Anyone who predicts anything is playing a mug's game, but here are my two cents.

The deputies who left the Bloc will form a new party that will be dedicated to sovereignty, but which will officially work in Ottawa to promote the interests of Quebec as long as Quebec remains a province. Sort of a PQ-lite version.
Running on such a platform just might have traction.
As for the original Bloc, hardliners will have to make a decision between idealism and pragmatism, and the split between the factions may be fatal.

That being said, almost 20% of Quebecers voted for the Bloc in 2015, so predictions of its death may be premature.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Quebec Anglos Savagely Trashed Over Opinion Poll

The ever thin-skinned 'done-me-wrong' cadre of op-ed Francophone journalists reacted with bitterness and savage contempt towards Anglophones over an opinion poll that showed that young Anglophones are largely dissatisfied with current language relations in Quebec.

 The Leger web online poll asked young anglophones what they thought of the language situation in Quebec and while the results probably surprised nobody in our community, francophones reacted with shock at the temerity of Anglos to complain.

For most francophone intellectuals, the notion that Anglos are treated badly in Quebec is an impossibility, repeating the oft-told fantasy that Anglos are treated with kid gloves.

While anglophones are indifferent or oblivious to the poll, the French media has gone apeshit over the results which sent editorialists into a frenzy. The Journal du Montreal is running story after story of anglo angst followed by savage and mean-spirited rebuttals by op-ed journalists.
Here are the questions,  that the poll  put to the anglophones;
Are current relations between Quebec francophones and anglophones harmonious or conflictual?
  • 57 % Harmonious
  • 33 % Conflictual (Under 35 years 49 %)
  • 9 % Dunno

Have you considered living in another province?
  • 60 % Yes
  • 38 % No
  • 2 % Dunno

Do Quebec francophones make an effort to understand the realities that anglophones face?
  • 63 % No
  • 20 % Yes 
  • 17 % Dunno
Do the results surprise any of you? Not me...

The comments section were largely closed for each and every article but in those  articles that were open, readers vented in rage heaping down contempt on anglophones for daring to complain

In a nasty and sarcastic article written by Richard Martineau entitled 1-800-SAVE-AN-ANGLO, he sums up his opinion rather succinctly.
"I read the piece on the Anglos in the Journal  and their ordeal broke my heart....Boo, hoo, hoo"
"We're smothering them, crushing them, strangling them! Call in the United Nations!
Quick stop the massacre!"
According to Denise Bombardier of the Journal de Montreal who in a nasty opinion piece dripping with venom claimed that anglophones don't get jobs because they aren't sufficiently adroit in written French.
I laughed out loud when I read this considering that prospective French-language teachers flunk their written French leaving exam at a rate of 50%. Passing this exam is required in order to obtain a teaching license and so because of the massive failure rate the government allows them to take the test over and over again until they pass. If this is the case for prospective French teachers, I can only imagine the proficiency of francophone students barely making it through high school.

A few years ago a Quebec Muslim received a $15,000 award from the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal because the government agency to which he applied for a job refused to even give him an interview. It seems that after having his C/V ignored repeatedly the complainant sent in identical C/Vs with only the name changed from Arabic sounding to Francophone sounding, the latter all of which were granted an interview!
So, Ms. Bombardier, I imagine it wasn't his written French that sunk his application. Ha! Ha!
And while hard to prove, how many applications with English sounding names are passed over by Quebec employers (including the government) in favour of applications submitted by francophones?

Her article goes on to complain that anglophones refer to her hero, the father of Bill 101 Dr. Camille Laurin as a Nazi and a fascist, when in fact in her opinion, he was just an eminent psychiatrist.
All I can say is Dr. Mengele was also a physician.

Dr. Camille Laurin was a rabid Anglophobe who deliberately and dishonestly loaded Bill 101 with all sorts of unconstitutional clauses meant to incite linguistic conflict. He sold the blatant manipulation to René Levesque as a necessary stratagem to raise linguistic conflict to the boiling point, a tactic he constructed to bolster the case of sovereignty.
When those clauses were ultimately rejected by the supreme court, he portrayed it as a gross humiliation and used it to incite hatred of Canada and Anglophones. Dr. Laurin wanted Bill 101 to be as punitive as possible, not only to protect the French language and eliminate English in Quebec but more importantly to chase Anglos out of the province. Some hero.

Nope, the real reason anglophones hate Bill 101 so much is because it is tinged with contempt and hatred.

For example, for a city or town to be recognized as officially bilingual, the English minority must number 50% plus one. Yup, in order to be recognized as a minority,  the anglos have to be in the majority, an idea that is fodder for a Monty Python sketch. Even if the town council votes unanimously to communicate in English with members of their town, the province refuses to allow it.
This clause is unadulterated hatred.
To think that in Canada,  a country where 77% of its citizens are English, a province may ban the language with the tacit consent of the federal government is outrageous.

Richard Martineau also went on to remind the ungrateful Anglo bastards that;
"Permit me to remain impervious to the crocodile tears shed by Quebec anglophones. Your community is the most  pampered minority in the world."
Alas, Mr. Martineau, you are wrong.
Anglos are not the most pampered minority in the world, not even in Canada.
That would be of course francophone Quebecers, who with just 22% of the population are guaranteed one-third of the Supreme Court judges and where English Canadians in the ROC shovel about ten billion dollars of 'foreign aid' to Quebec each year. Where Radio Canada receives double the allotment it deserves demographically and where English Canadians subside bilingualism to the tune of 75%. The law provides that on a flight from Vancouver to Victoria, francophones (which make up 2% of BC's population, ) are entitled to order a seven-up in French while on a bus ride through Pointe-Claire, Quebec where perhaps 75% of riders are Anglo, the driver is not required and indeed encouraged not to offer English instructions.
When militants complain about the poor language options for minority French communities outside Quebec it would be useful to compare their situation to those of Anglophones in rural Quebec.
But the biggest concession to pampered Quebec minority is the tacit permission to terrorize English citizens from speaking their native language and living their native English culture in a country that is 77% English.
Attention Mr;. Martineau. While we may live in Quebec and we may speak French, we in no way are required to embrace French Quebec culture, no more so than francophones must embrace Canadian English culture by virtue of living in a province outside Quebec.
And no.... I don't want to listen to second-rate artists like Marie-Mai and watch lame French TV, usually poor copies of American English TV anyways.
When we are reminded to embrace the culture of the majority, I always ask....which majority is that?

All these blowhards make arguments as if Quebec is a defacto country where everyone within its borders must embrace the Quebec francophone reality, forgetting deliberately that Canada and English is the majority in Canada. I will remind these idiots of the fact that Quebec athletes wear the  Maple Leaf at the Olympics and that the Quebec flag is banned at the Olympics.
Francophones outside Quebec can listen to Marie-Mai or watch the dreadful Julie Snyder or watch the insipid Tout le Monde en Parle, no anglophone will tell them to assimilate into the majority culture of the province they live in.

To those who tell anglos that if they don't like the situation in Quebec, then they should get out, I remind them, we are not tenants, we are owners. What we do not like, we work to change.
If you do not like having anglos as co-owners, vote for sovereignty and kick us out.
I dare you.
Til then understand that our rights as  Canadians are equal to yours.

While these commentators demand that anglophone Quebecers respect the French majority in Quebec, they bridle at the notion that francophones owe the English majority in Canada the same.

So, Mr. Martineau, I shed no tears for you and your cry-baby cohorts who tell us how great and strong Quebec is while demanding special political treatment, asymmetric advantages and massive financial transfers from English Canada.
Of course, many Quebec commentators argue that it just isn't so, throwing out misleading statistics to muddy the reality of the advantages Quebec receives by remaining in Canada. 
To illustrate my point to those who bear Quebec's entrenched sense of entitlement, I always put this simple question....
In Quebec Hollywood movies are required by law to be dubbed into French, failing which the English version cannot be played. The cost of the dubbing may run up to $100,000 and so the question I put is... who should pay for it?
Should a surcharge be placed on each ticket shown in theatres showing the French version or should Canadians across the country all pay a slightly higher price to subsidize the dubbing.
I have heard all sorts of answers, some hemming and some hawing, but I have never heard a francophone say that those who watch the dubbed version should pay.

Let the English pay....

While slagging and denigrating those nasty Canayans for time immemorial, Quebec has never stopped grabbing the money like a disaffected wife who stays with her husband because the money is good.

Say what you will, the naked contempt and aggression demonstrated by these commentators underscore the reality that was laid bare by the Bonjour/ Hi controversy, that is that there remains in Quebec a latent pathological enmity towards anglophones that even the progressive francophones bear.