Thursday, August 22, 2019

Quebec's Premier to Canada: "Show Me the Money!"

Legault promises zero equalization.."Go ahead, we're listening!"
For Quebec Premier Francois Legault, his staunch disdain for equalization payments from Ottawa that he so hated while opposition leader seems to have morphed into fierce attachment once he became leader of the province.
As Gomer Pyle used to say....
Surprise! Surprise!

It's a little comical and sad to see him tap dance around the issue, a stark contrast to his adamant opposition to the concept when he sat in opposition as leader of the CAQ.
It's the sort of cynical reversal of election promises that should have voters skeptical of any nonsense spewed by opposition leaders when they have nothing to lose.

But we already know that....

What is interesting is the fierce defence of the program made by the Premier in the face of devastating attacks on equalization launched by Alberta Premier Jason Kenny who has, in nicer words than Trump would use, portrayed Quebec as a loser, lazy deadbeat province which is spitting in Alberta's oil soup, strictly out of spite.
He has a point..

And so Mr. Legault's comic defence of equalization is sadder than funny or funnier than sad.
His biggest deflection is that Quebec deserves the money because it is a condition of confederation.
"On Sunday, Legault defended equalization against criticism from Alberta, saying the program was part of the “original deal” when Quebec entered Confederation in 1867.
Kenny pointed out that the first equalization system was introduced in 1957, and the principle of equalization was included in the Constitution in 1982." Link
As for which Premier has a better grasp of history, La Presse has come down firmly on the side of the Alberta Premier, quoting an expert;
La Presse  put the question to Jean-Thomas Bernard, professor in the economics department of the University of Ottawa. After checking, Mr Bernard said the Albertan Premier is right. 
How addicted attached is Quebec to the billions and billions Ottawa sends each year to shore up its lagging economy.?

Well, consider this...
The CAQ youth wing recently held its convention Sherbrooke.
Like all youth wings of all political parties, the most radical and nonsensical resolutions are passed, motions that the big boys never adopt because they are just too radical or unrealistic.

But when it came to equalization, the youth wing could not bring itself to oppose it, claiming that there were too diverse opinions to form a motion.
Let's face it, equalization is like crack cocaine to Quebec, and the idea of its supply being cut off a frightening and unthinkable scenario, like an addict horrified that his dealer is leaving town

In truth, Quebec is ashamed of its beggar status and its need to take charity from other provinces, but it doesn't stop it from taking the cash sheepishly.
That is why all the Quebec nationalist journalists and commentators have remained eerily silent on the subject.
With the devastating verbal onslaught launched by Premier Kenney, you'd think that outraged reaction would be forthcoming from Quebec's finest Canada haters.
But alas there's not much to say in defence and so silence on the issue seems to reign.
The Bock-Cotés, Bombardiers, Legaults, Proulxs, Martineaus et al, continue to rail against the evil Muslim immigrants and the clear and present danger they remain, while willfully ignoring the issue of equalization.
It is called deflection.
Nobody in the nationalist camp is really interested in debating the issue or defending Quebec.

Yes, there is the fringe commentators over on who argue that Quebec still gets a raw financial deal from Ottawa but their arguments play largely to the rabid sovereigntists who are willfully blind.

But let us state the obvious.
  1. If equalization went the other way, with Quebec shipping billions of dollars of its wealth to Alberta, Quebec would have separated years ago.
  2. If Canada stopped paying equalization payments to Quebec as Mr. Kenney suggests, Quebec would leave Canada in a huff. After all, what's the point of remaining in a loveless marriage if the money is cut off.
So consider this gentle reader.

Quebec remaining a part of Canada is dependant on one thing only.
Not language protections.
Not patriotism or attachment
Not history.

Nope, it is equalization, the glue that holds Quebec fast. 
Chew on that for while.

Aside from all the other fiscal benefits, Quebec receives from the rest of Canada, the $13 billion in direct equalization is the glue that binds Quebec to Canada.

The question that remains is not whether it is worth the money to Quebec to stay in Canada, but rather is it worth it to Canadians to keep paying to keep Quebec satisfied.

What say you?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

No Dogs to Return Next Month

Just a short not to apologized for the lack of posts recently.

Unfortunately, I suffered an eye injury (detached retina) that precludes me from writing or viewing a computer screen extensively, for the time being.

I am receiving excellent care here in Quebec with two fine doctors attending my case and although some permanent vision loss in the affected eye is inevitable, I am confident that I'll return to form in a month or so.

Have a wonderful summer and stay safe

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Quebec National Assembly Dumps on Bonjour-Hi Again with Nary an Anglo Dissension..

If you ever needed a lesson on the motivation of politicians for self-preservation and aggrandizement to the detriment of their constituency, nothing can better illustrate the point than the shameful vote of our English MNAs in the National Assembly in favour of the ubiquitous anti BONJOUR-HI motion that has once again reared its ugly head in the National Assembly, as if once was not enough.

Piqued that the not so gentle entreaty via a motion in November 2017 to discourage the BONJOUR-HI greeting was completely ignored, the National Assembly, including their English Kapos, decided to have another go at it again, likely to reap the same results.

Frustrated that a law banning BONJOUR-HI would be unconstitutional and that invoking the 'Notwithstanding Clause' would be infinitely more disastrous than Pizza-gate, frustrated politicians are reduced to begging through toothless National Assembly motions that are universally ignored.

If the affair was not so sad, it would be entirely laughable.

The real evilness of the motion is that it tries to perpetuate a myth, one painstakingly concocted and imposed by the OQLF and its political handlers that Montreal is a French city and a French city alone.

It is a fiction as silly as the fable of the emperor who believes he's wearing a fine set of clothes while parading around nude because he's been told that only fools cannot see the finery.

The reality is that east of Parc Avenue/Bleury, the part that includes the downtown core and everything that's interesting in the city, English is as prevalent as French and the language of choice in the tourist and hospitality industry.

A visit to downtown Montreal during Grand Prix weekend illustrates English as the Lingua Franca of the throngs of tourists and is what perhaps triggered the ire of the language zealots and the motion in the National Assembly.

The sad reality for French language defenders is that this English reality is true for the tourist hotspots in the entire world, including France where I was surprised that a taxi driver in Nice picked us up from the dock and immediately greeted us is very passable English. When I asked in French how he came to speak such good English, he was non-plussed and explained that it is an absolute must and that the first thing most tourists ask when hailing the cab is whether the cabbie speaks English.

I know it is tough for Quebec language militants to accept, but them's the rules.

For English MNAs like David Birnbaum who is the Liberal member from the one unofficially designated Jewish riding in Quebec, selling out the English is painfully easy because he knows that as a Liberal he'd be re-elected even if he joined al Qaeda.
Birnbaum, however, had a different take on the motion.
“Like our Liberal party, I can support every word in that motion,” Birnbaum said. “Also like my Liberal party I understand the true promotion of the French language is inclusive and forward-looking.”
Birnbaum, however, said he deliberately got up slowly for the vote because of what was not in the resolution, which he said seems to suggest the English community is an “enemy rather than an ally for the promotion of French.”
“To present the idea the sky is falling, our party understands that is not the case,” Birnbaum said. “But can we get to substance when it comes to the promotion of French?”
Are you kidding me?
What a bunch of bullshit spoken by a political hack extraordinaire.

But the saddest was....
 Kathleen Weil, the former Liberal minister responsible for the English-speaking community, said she stayed away (from the vote.ed) to avoid finding herself in the same situation as in 2017 where she was flooded with complaints about her voting in favour from voters in her riding.“I learned something,” Weil said. 
Yup, she didn't vote and wasn't shy to admit that she hid out during the vote in order to avoid the humiliation of voting against the English community.

Such is our merry gang of idiot representatives who nod up and down like toy bobbleheads.

But the sad reality in all this remains the obscene fiction perpetrated by our government, aided and abetted by a complicit media that Montreal is a French city only.
Begging merchants to keep up this fiction by imploring them not to greet customers in English is another obscene farce which includes the banning of English signs.

Sadly, our Anglo politicos are too busy betraying us, nurturing and protecting their personal position at the feeding trough.
We are in dire need of that fictional little boy in the fable who reminds the crowd by calling out loudly what is so painfully obvious, that is that this emperor is wearing no clothes.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Brexit Chaos a Cautionary Tale for Quebec Sovereigntists

Watching the agonizing three years of painful machinations surrounding the United Kingdom's Brexit nightmare should serve as a cautionary tale for Quebec sovereigntists who still believe the fairy tale that Quebec's exit from Canada can occur smoothly, painlessly and without economic disruption.

There are many parallels in Quebec's sovereignty movement situation to that of Great Britain's exit from the European Community, the first being the closeness of the referendum vote that triggered the decision to leave.

The 51.9% to 48.1% in favour to leave Europe is similar to the tally in the last Quebec referendum where Quebec's decision to stay in Canada was even closer, 50.6% to 49.4%
Suffice to say that in both referendums the voters were almost evenly split, insuring that almost half the population would be bitterly disappointed.

I don't want to revisit the 50% +1 debate, it is a settled issue here in Canada and in Great Britain, but it does demonstrate that this bare threshold is too low to trigger such a life-altering political adventure where life after such a result is a guarantee for a situation chock full of animosity and ill will.
With so many opposed to a delicate project like Quebec sovereignty or Brexit, it is more than likely that those opposed would in Quebec's case, and are in Britain's case, gumming up the works, making sure that the project will ultimately fail.

What we've learned from the post Brexit fiasco is that the devil is in the details and that those who promoted the Brexit option seriously underestimated or deliberately misled the public over the difficulty in leaving, the political, social and most importantly, the economic issues far more daunting than anticipated or disclosed.
"Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, has speculated that there might be “a special place in hell” for those people who promoted Brexit without having “even a sketch of a plan” for how to deliver it."
In retrospect, it is disturbing to see how badly the leaders of the Brexit campaign misrepresented the reality of a quick and easy Brexit.

Three months before the referendum Michael Gove, the then justice secretary was boldly assuring voters;
“The day after we vote to leave, we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want.”
He recently admitted that a no-deal, crash-out Brexit would be catastrophic for Britain’s farmers.

Liam Fox, the international trade secretary was still  assuring anyone who cared to listen even a year after the referendum that the free-trade agreement Britain would be able to strike with the EU would be “one of the easiest in human history

Perhaps worse of all the comments were those of Boris Johnson: who is now the leading contender for the now vacated leadership of the Conservative party, given the resignation of Theresa May.
Boris Johnson: One of the prime promoters of the sunlit, unicorn-rich uplands that await once Britain has freed itself from the shackles of an EU on the brink of collapse, the former foreign secretary pledged Brexit would permit “continued free trade and access to the single market” while allowing the UK to “take back control of huge sums of money, £350m a week, and spend it on our priorities such as the NHS”. The cost of leaving “would be virtually nil, and the cost of staying would be very high”, he observed during the referendum campaign. And of companies’ more practical concerns about the possible impact on their bottom line, he reportedly remarked: Fuck business.”
By the way, the claim by Boris Johnson that the UK sends £350 million to the EU each week is so patently false that Mr. Johnson now faces prosecution under an obscure law that forbids government employees and politicians from lying to the public.

Now back during Quebec's referendum, Quebec's then Premier Jacques Parizeau was rumoured to have told foreign ambassadors that Quebecers, in the event of a Yes vote in a sovereignty referendum, would be trapped like "lobsters thrown into boiling water?"
I'm sure many who voted YES in the Brexit vote feel liked trapped lobsters now after learning of the difficulty and cost in actually leaving Europe

But Parizeau displayed a certain naiveté in describing the post-referendum negotiations in the victory speech that he never delivered.
"The PQ’s plan was to not declare sovereignty immediately but rather set in motion a year of negotiations with the rest of the country to unravel the relationship in an orderly manner. He describes those talks as a relatively simple affair with Quebec rapidly making Canada an offer for a new economic and political partnership."
Simple affair!  Tell Theresa May that!

Brexit is the unravelling of an extremely complicated economic union while Quebec sovereignty is the unravelling of an extremely complicated political union.
It seems that in both cases, those militating for change have seriously misled the public in regards to the economic and social upheaval that such a radical change would entail.

Some of the biggest lies told by those advocating Quebec sovereignty is that citizens in that new country would somehow remain Canadian citizens with full rights and privileges, after Quebec's independence.
Secondly, the idea, widely circulated by the then sovereignty camp, is that Quebec would continue to use the Canadian dollar after independence.
The loss of the Canadian dollar was so pivotal an issue that the pro-sovereignty campaign featured official posters that included the Looney, an oblique promise that the Canadian currency would be the fiat of the new land.

Issues like the promised refusal of Quebec's Cree to accept a YES vote were equally played down or ignored, but given the vast territory controlled by the natives in the North, a certain conflict would be inevitable.

It seems that Brexit boosters have worn the same rose-tinted glasses that Pro-sovereignty supporters wore during the Quebec referendum, playing up the supposed benefits without a whit of concern over the negative aspects.

Today the agony of Brexit is manifest, with all the issues previously swept under the rug or patently ignored rising to the surface and subject to real negotiations.

Hard borders, free access to markets, employment mobility, visa-free travel, standards and measures all have British industry panicked by the lack of agreement.
For Brexit supporters, realizing the reality that there is no 'good' deal to be had with Europe is a shock and surprise, with agonizing and flailing political reactions a sad reminder that the country did not bargain for what it can get.

Support for Brexit has fallen to a minority over these past few years and we can only imagine the catastrophic collapse of support should Great Britain crash out of the EU without a deal.
But making a deal is equally painful, with the negotiated conditions an anathema to hard-line Brexiters.
The first sign of job loss or closed markets of agricultural or industrial output related to a successful Brexit would be staggering, potentially ripping the fabric of society apart.

For Quebec, the Brexit fiasco that is unfolding should serve as a cautionary tale.
While politicians in the UK seek a solution to a Brexit problem that cannot be solved, we are reminded that one cannot have one's cake and eat it too.

For Quebec, the failed referendum is a case of a dodged bullet and all the rose-tinted promises made by pro-sovereignty forces can be best compared to those made by Brexit promoters.

As Britain lurches forward after the YES vote, it is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't and the future is particularly gloomy.

Hard-line Quebec separatists should take stock of what reality is and the pitfalls of a fool-hearty decision.

I shall perhaps in a future post explore the many obstacles and negative consequences of an independent Quebec, issues that, by the way, were largely ignored in the mainstream press.
In fact, it would take many posts to describe the utter disaster that an independent Quebec would become.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Royal Family Canada's Biggest Bargain

Watching the wall-to-wall coverage of the birth of the royal baby to Prince Harry and Meghan I am reminded that the Royals represent one of the biggest bargains that our society owns.

Of course, there are the naysayers and spoilers who bitch and moan that the royal family are parasites that cost taxpayers millions and return nothing to us.
They are of course wrong...dead wrong.

That enmity towards them is perpetrated by that section of society who hate royalty on principle, because of its rank and privilege, a perceived outrage to modernism, good sense and egalitarianism.

But the argument that the Royal family costs taxpayers something significant is more of a red herring than the truth because when it comes to costing taxpayers anything, it is a mere pittance, about a $1.44 per person in Canada and about the same in Great Britain.

For Britain, the royal family is the greatest bargain on Earth, bringing millions of tourists to England to see the changing of the guard and touring royal castles and sites including the Tower of London and the crown jewels, generating billions and billions of pounds in revenue.

But more to the point, the royal family is worth its weight in gold when it comes to entertainment for the many of us who love everything royal and follow accounts of their lives, with heightened interest in royal births and the pomp, circumstance and pageantry of royal weddings.

If the royal family sold worldwide television rights to their weddings, I daresay they would pay for their upkeep in spades and if the CBC put the wedding of Harry and Meaghan on pay per view, how many millions of Canadians would pay?

Luckily we get to live their lives vicariously for free and for little girls and little girls at heart who dream of being a princess and perhaps being won over by their Prince Charming, having real-life royals makes the fantasy possible.

Now I know you feminists and liberationists are cringing at the thought of such antiquated notions, but the beauty of this world is that it takes all kinds and people and those who love and revere the royals, or those who are just entertained by their lifestyle have just as much right to enjoy their indulgence as those who watch the Kardashians or those who watch Game of Thrones or Hockey Night in Canada.

To those who argue that it isn't the governments role to fund entertainment that appeals only to a segment of the population, I would remind them that that is exactly what the government does, funding entertainment and the arts to the tune of over 5 billion dollars year, or a whopping $142 for each Canadian, through entities like the Canada Council for the Arts, paying for programs like museums, ballet, native culture which by the way, few Canadians partake or care for.

Money spent by the government on the royals is a bargain when one considers how much pleasure it brings to so many Canadians.

What remains surprising and a complete anathema to Quebec nationalists is that this fascination extends to francophone Canada, including Quebec.
Back in 2011, the streets of Quebec city were lined for William and Kate, as local francophones were thrilled by the couple's visit.
In fact interest in the British royal family extends across the world, across all languages, cultures, religions. I daresay that if North Korea allowed coverage of the Royal wedding the country would come to a standstill.

Why there is so much interest in the Royal family is a mystery, but the attraction is impossible to deny.
I'm sure that more people in Canada know the name of Harry and Meaghan's new baby than those who can name one of our Prime Minister's children.

You know I'm right.

At any rate, those who complain about the Royal family are less hateful of them than they are of us who enjoy following the exploits of the Royal family.

For haters, it is a complete betrayal of post-modernist anti-monarchists sentiment that represents a complete humiliation to modern feminism and a reminder that they cannot control human nature or sentiment.

Too bad for them and good for us.