Monday, May 17, 2010

Harper Taking Quebec Apart One Brick at a Time

Wikipedia describes the anecdote wherein a frog placed in a pot of boiling water, will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used to describe the inability of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually.

I can't think of a more apt metaphor to describe Quebec's deteriorating situation as a powerful and distinctive partner in the Canadian federation.
Historians may very well point to the failed referendum of 1995 and the subsequent rise of the Bloc Quebec as the turning point where the Province of Quebec and Francophone influence began its precipitous  spiral downward as a political force in Canada.

Until then, Quebec had maintained it's position in the political driver's seat by voting federally as a group for one of the two main parties, thus controlling whether the Conservatives or the Liberal ruled Canada. Because Canadian voters split the vote rather evenly between Liberal Ontario and the Conservative western provinces, Quebec was in the envious position of deciding which party would rule Canada. This pattern repeated itself with Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien and Martin, who all owed their final political success to Quebec. In repayment, all these Prime Ministers duly rewarded Quebec with strong representation in the cabinet, where the province's interests were jealously protected.

When the Bloc Quebecois took over this voting bloc, Quebec was left unrepresented in the halls of power. Although both the Liberals and the Conservatives, in search of a majority, tried for many years to win back Quebec voters, making all sorts of promises and delivering all sorts of goodies, it was not to be.

Quebeckers foolishly overplayed their hand and embraced the adopted role of the spoilt child who refused to eat dinner.

Quebeckers have finally convinced Stephen Harper that Quebec is a dead end, a place where governments go to die, not to find majorities. Coldly turning his back on the Province, Harper is slowly and deliberately setting out to take Quebec out of the Canada equation and like the oblivious frog in the pot of cold water, the heat is being turning up.

As the Bloc merrily spins the illusion that tells Quebeckers that the province's interests are being looked after, nothing could be farther from the truth. The dangerous lie is literally killing the political interests of Quebec. Perhaps that is exactly what the Bloc Quebecois wants.

One only has to look at the anti-Quebec climate that reigns in the Conservative government where already established policies that are crippling Quebec are maintained and where new legislation seeks to reward others and weaken Quebec is the order of the day.

The opinions of Quebeckers and it's leader is now being roundly ignored and in some cases being outright mocked by Harper and his minions. On issues like the environment, the oil sands, energy efficiency and climate change, where Quebec is diametrically opposed to Conservative polices, the Prime Minister seems to gloat in his ability to humiliate Premier Charest as payback for past slights.

Although not a Harper initiated policy, the political dividends of maintaining a policy of mass immigration is not lost on the Conservatives. Each year Quebec's demographic situation deteriorates, especially the French fact. Another twenty years or so, Francophones will represent less than 20% of Canada's population, a benchmark that precludes any talk of 'two nations.'

Mr. Harper's proposed law, Bill C-12, to add 30 seats to Parliament, all outside Quebec is the clearest signal that he is bent on taking Quebec down. The proposition that Parliament become truly 'representative' means that Quebec will lose even more in the future,  forever burying  the concept that Quebec should maintain 25% of the seats regardless of the demographic reality for the sake of the "two nations" concept.

The stimulus package created in 2009 to combat the recession, clearly bypassed Quebec, with the bulk of the money going to Ontario and British Columbia. While Quebec screamed that its damaged wood industry needed help too, Ottawa politely demurred. Immediately before Quebec deposited it's 2010 budget, the province found out it wouldn't be receiving an expected $2.23 billion payment for having harmonized the GST and provincial tax, another slap in the face. LINK

The creation of a national regulatory agency to regulate the financial stock markets is another direct threat to Quebec power and authority. Although Ottawa has told Quebec that it doesn't have to join, the effect would be devastating to be left out. If pension and mutual funds made it mandatory for companies included in their portfolios to be regulated federally, it would signal the de facto end of the AMF, Quebec's regulatory body.

Quebec had always expected and received an unfair share of Federal pork projects. That is no more. Recently military maintenance contracts have all gone to companies out west. Quebec has it's nose up against the window pane looking in, while everyone else is eating.

Harper is set to use his majority in the senate to deal another humiliating defeat to those calling for judges to be bilingual. While the other parties try to make political hay by forcing the issue and perhaps embarrassing the government, the Conservatives view it as an opportunity to tap into anti-Quebec feelings that are running at the highest historical levels ever across the country.

What's next?
Equalization payments. Last year Quebec received over eight billion dollars from other provinces, a crucial part of the provinces operating budget. Already there is rumblings that the structure and the size of the program is to change.

Ironically, the only way Quebec can change its political fortunes is to vote massively for the Liberals or the Conservatives, something unlikely to happen. Getting its foot back in the door is the only way to reverse anti-Quebec policies, but it's unlikely to happen.

And so like the frog in the pot of water Quebeckers just don't realize that they will be cooked very soon.


  1. Wowzers, editor, you have absolutely, positively made my day--maybe my year!

    Heil Howard Galganov, Heil! He was calling for this to happen in his blog, and I feel, oh, so vindicated! Words can't describe how vindicated I feel! Both he and I were born, raised and educated in Quebec, and we now both live in Ontario.

    The so-called federalist bastard, Bourassa, Started it all with Bill 22, a cruel racist piece of language legislation with cruel language testing for little children who wanted to go to English school. One slight mistake on those tests administrated by out-and-out separatists, and it was NO ENGLISH SCHOOL FOR YOU!

    No more pork! How about NO MORE MILK? Right now those ingrates have almost 50% of the dairy industry for all of Canada, but only 22% of the population! Why? Why should the rest of Canada be beaten down by over 25% of the share it's entitled to produce?

    Stimulus money? Quebec got little because it needed little. Its industries didn't suffer like Ontario and BC's did. Quebec was one of the least affected regions by the recession. Bio sciences suffer? Puh-leeze!

    Parliamentary representation? Quebec has the 2nd lowest birth rate in the Western Hemisphere, or did before its immigration policies of about 30 years ago. Ontario has almost 40% of the population, but only 35% of the constituencies, and both Ontario and BC are growing fastest. Alberta is following. Who wants to bring their kids from other countries to Quebec where they would be forced to go to French schools? Outside of francophones, it's NOT worth it!

    Bilingualism in the Supreme Court? RETARDED! Judges from the West and the Atlantic provinces HAVE to speak French? HAVE to? Preposterous! Like anywhere in the world, being multilingual is an asset, but should NOT be obligatory where French is barely spoken. Merit of our jurists based mostly on knowing French? Outrageous! If it was up to me, I'd have all the First Ministers meet in Ottawa and propose a constitutional amendment to reduce the number of Supreme Court judges being from Quebec reduced to two from three. This was another disproportionate favour to Quebec as Quebec only has about 22% of the population, but 33% of the jurists on our highest court.

    That stock market malarky? That's EXACTLY what it is! Quebec wants separate regulatory boards for everything to ensure their «pur lainers» are on those boards--EXCLUSIVELY! Try to find non-French names on ANY of their regulatory agency boards! Like the Civil Service, they are few and far between! Canadian Blood Services isn't good enough for them? Au revoir, AMF!

    Equalization payments? WHY should Quebec get them in the first place? Quebec has an abundance of natural resources--gold, iron ore, hydroelectricity and more--and they got a sugary-sweet deal with Newfoundland (Churchill Falls)for 99 years re hydro. Quebec can cry poor all it wants, but it's fiscal mismanagement that got them to this point. The separatists in 1979 opened the purse strings to get their "yes" vote in the 1980 Referendum. They lost and rolled back Civil Service payrolls 20% in 1983. Endless cost overruns over several decades. Québec sais faire!

    Oh, and $2.23 billion lost for tax collection? Awwww...well, they'll just have to use their $8 billion equalization payments, 70% of the federal street festival money (with 22% of the population), 35% of monies from the fed immigration budget (but only 12% of immigrants while Ontario has 50% of the immigrants but gets only 36% of the money).

    If crybaby Quebec is unhappy, they can leave. Good riddance, and good luck once they have to create their own currency that won't be worth a Zimbabwe dollar. I state that because Quebec's own finance department acknowledged they are the sixth most indebted jurisdiction in the world.

  2. Go get 'em, Anonymous!
    The only thing I would add is that with B.C., Alberta and Ontario contributing virtually all of the funds spread around as transfer payments, for Ontario and B.C. to get stimulus money only means that they're getting some of their own money back.
    As for environmental issues, the only reason Quebec is against greenhouse gases and the oil sands is because it does cost them anything. Let's bring the discussion back to carcinogenic asbestos exports and we can see how "green" they really are.

  3. I think your saying the right things here for the wrong reasons. On the face of it there is nothing wrong with a regional party representing a region in a federal parliament. If you feel the federal parties don't represent you, why give them your vote or let them take your region for granted? What do you suggest Quebec do anyways? Start voting for the Liberals again as they historically did? Wasn't it the very same liberals who flung Canada's door wide open to mass third world immigration? Isn't this very immigration the reason for such a high growth in the Canadian population? Isn't this the very cause of the growth in parliamentary seats outside Quebec? Hasn't Liberal leader Ignatief said he wants to increase immigration even more, to something like 340-350,000 a year? What do you propose Franco-Quebec do? They are being undermined demographically by immigration. Immigration is being used as a weapon against them both OUTSIDE Quebec (to increase the seats in the house, thus marginializing Quebec) and INSIDE Quebec by making automatic "NO" voters in any future referendum. Yet this very demograhpic decline actually makes the separatist cause more legitimate too, while also making it harder to achieve.

    The Toronto guy...

    By the way, you are certainly right about the boiling frog where it applies to immigration. I wonder if Torontonians in the 1960's when they saw their first black and brown faces could have realized what their city would look like forty years or so later if they would have done something about it? Its too late now. I told my friends years ago what the city would look like if the changes in the immigration was maintained. They said I was paranoid and used to laugh at me, one fellow in particular. A few years ago his family sold their house in Brampton for a big loss. He could no longer stand being the only White Christian person on his street. On both sides as far as the eye can see everyone was a brown muslim. He's not laughing now....

  4. Mr. 3:06pm: If your friend lost money selling his home, he's an idiot, he turned the house into a nasty fixer-upper, or he sold about 15-20 years ago when the market was soft. The last time anyone lost on Toronto real estate was in the mid 1990s when we had a bad recession. His loss had nothing to do with skin colour, you can bet your boots on that!

    Toronto is not the WASP nest you embellish upon, and hasn't been for the last 30 years! In fact, I'M A VISIBLE's called white! If your friend is too paranoid or too much of a bigot to live with others, that's his problem, not the brown-skinned people's problem.

    Your first paragraph has merit, at least theoretically. Trouble is, the BQ is a bunch of s--t disturbers with an objective to fulfill Quebec's agenda. What is beneficial for the rest of Canada means nothing to the BQ; furthermore, it's a means to just have fun criticizing the governing party, coming up with a few productive ideas (to justify their existence) and getting well paid IN CANADIAN MONEY to do it.

    As I have written before, the BQ has clearly proven to political ideologists that democracy has a downside.

  5. Reply to anon at 12:10 PM;

    Toronto was an overwhelmingly White city (99%) until at least the late 1960's. Maybe your not old enough to remember (your arbitrary timeline seems to begin at 1980). My Friend was neither "paranoid" or a "bigot". Like many Canadians he was forced to deal with unpleasant changes in his country's population he never asked for, voted for, or was consulted about. And he did lose money on his home. I'm glad for you that as a White person you seem just thrilled to be a minority, although I can't understand why. Nor do I really blame the brown-skinned people either. They are just smart enough to know a good thing when they see it. Where do you think all those Tamils who showed up on the west coast a few months back are? In Quebec City? No. Right here in Toronto collecting welfare. But again I don't blame them. The true villian is the government.

    If you think "nobody" has lost money on real estate in Toronto in the last twenty years you are delusional.

    The Toronto guy.

  6. Toronto Guy: How do you know exactly how many Tamils are on welfare? Of course they won't be in Quebec City! They speak English + Tamil, not French!. BTW, I'm also an "invisible" minority: Jewish. So what is your problem with Jews? Do tell!

    I'm still mystified how your buddy lost money on his home, unless he bought in a hot market and sold during the 90s recession. The whole GTA (Greater Toronto Area, FYI) is this ethnic mix. Yes, I was aware 97% of Toronto in 1960 was "white". Now it's not! What's your point? What's your problem? I don't think you'll find too many WASP nests left in Canada's major cities. Not even Hongcouver!

    Who cares? Now I can get authentic ethnic yummies from all over the world without leaving the region. Welcome to the 3rd Millennium, Toronto Guy--DEAL WITH IT!

  7. I never said I had "any problem" with Jews. You seem to have a problem with Wasp's though. Why don't you take a walk alone at night at Jane and Finch and "deal with it" when you get mugged or worse. My "point" and "problem" is that the Canadian people never asked for or desired the changes that were imposed on us. You seem ecstatic at the death of traditional Toronto. That suggests to me that you have animosity towards "Wasp's". Too bad. The Toronto guy.

  8. The Jew and the Mr. Toronto are out of control.... LOL

    Listen I'm an English Quebecer and to be honest I'm fed up... Should I just move to Toronto? Fact is, I don't like the idea of becoming a Torontonian... Sorry Toronto, but it’s the truth…

    Vancouver… maybe? But it's so damn expensive...

    What's the next Montreal going to be... Ottawa?
    At least you still have French chicks there...

    Maybe that's what the Jew and Mr. Toronto are in need of to… loosen up...

    This country was so much cooler when Montreal the financial capital...

    Thank you Separatists for screwing it up for you and for everyone else in Quebec too, THANKS!!!!!

    Oh, and one last thing… GO HABS GO!!!