Monday, October 24, 2011

Quebecers Talk the Talk, but Don't Walk the Walk

You've got to hand it to the Anarchists, they're the only group in Quebec that takes politics seriously enough to actually try to effect change directly.
They may be few in numbers, but their twice yearly demonstrations in Montreal, violent and destructive, certainly get the attention of the media and the public.
Unfortunately, the energy is completely wasted on a message that is stupidly unrealistic. Perhaps if they channelled their efforts into an issue that made sense, they could really impact society.

Wouldn't it be great if they had led the fight against corruption and marched to the National Assembly in Quebec City where they could use their particular demonstration skills to scare the bejesus out of the ruling government.

While Quebecers wring their hands in disgust at the bureaucracy, the corruption and the incompetence that is what Quebec society has become, we do so in the comfort of our living room, watching TV, munching Doritios and hoping someone else will take charge.

There is little doubt that if a real 'Occupy Wall Street' action took place in front of the National Assembly with thousands of demonstrators announcing that they'd be staying put until a public inquiry into corruption be announced, humiliating the government on a daily basis, we would have had the inquiry a long, long time ago.
That, or one or two good Anarchist-like riots would certainly do the trick.

But Quebecers are lazy.
The product of a nanny-state that teaches us from birth that personal responsibility, hard work, entrepreneurship and academic excellence is not necessary to succeed get by.

And for Quebecers raised on the proverbial free lunch, the required mind and skill set needed to challenge the government, is just not there.

Strangely, Quebecers have proven that they can get government to do what they  want, when they want it badly enough. While barely mustering 2,000 people for a demonstration against corruption, 60,000 turned up at a demonstration in Quebec City to demand an NHL hockey team.
And presto, the City of Quebec and the provincial government are turning cartwheels to satisfy a determined public, going so far as to suspend the democratic process by way of a law shielding the city of Quebec for bypassing the tendering process in pursuit of the said hockey team.

The sad conclusion is that Quebecers didn't want a construction inquiry nearly as much as they wanted a NHL team.

While newspapers and television droned on and on about corruption and while commentators told us day in and day out, that something must be done about the situation, Quebecers reacted by furiously nodding their heads in agreement, representing the full extent of their effort.

This lack of engagement is not a Quebec only phenomena, it traverses the whole country. Ontario's recent election boasted an under 50% voter turnout. It's surprising, considering the tough times that the province still faces coming off a recession that hit Ontario harder than any other province. One would think that citizens would have more to say about the direction the province is to go.

Alas it is not to be. Quebecers, Ontarians and Canadians across the country are just too lazy and complacent. Obviously, we have it too good and so when we complain it is a half-hearted effort, something seasoned politicians recognize, experts at knowing when they must react to public pressure.

Ask Mr Charest, who rightly gauged the mood of the people, who while angry, weren't ready to hit the streets in a seventies style protest.
If the construction inquiry took two years to call, we shouldn't blame him, but rather ourselves, for not demanding action, by marching in the streets regularly and en mass, until satisfied.

Ironically, the ongoing occupation of Victoria Square in Montreal, by mostly unemployed granolas and hippies, has probably done more to hurt legitimate protest in Quebec, by making the exercise seem ridiculous, pointless and overly radical. Until protest goes mainstream and includes the middle class who pay the freight, politicians quite rightly, recognize and ignore protests like Occupy Montreal. 

So regardless of what is said and written in the media, when push comes to shove, the vast majority of Quebecers really don't care enough about these issues, at least not enough to upset our neat and comfortable lives.

The same goes for the language and culture debate which though full of sound and fury, is bereft of any meaningful sacrifice or effort on behalf of the majority to effect change.

Quebecers care about their French language and culture to the extent that others do the protecting for them. Not many are willing to make a personal sacrifice.

French language and culture militants call for restrictions on immigration, limits on English education and all sorts of rules and regulations to promote French and restrict English.
But even with all this, they complain that the demographic position of francophones continues to deteriorate and thus call for even more restrictive rules and regulations.

But the simplest solution is to encourage francophones to have more babies. All that would be required to change the demographic reality is for francophones to increase the size of their families. We're not talking about six, seven or eight children, but between two and three, averaging out at about 2.3 kids per family!
With that, Quebec wouldn't need a single immigrant, who are the bane of Quebec language militants, blamed for the supposed decline of French.

But not one of these French language militant would dare to promote the policy of larger families because they would be ridiculed for the effort.

Because to do so would mean asking citizens themselves to make a personal effort to do something to change the situation and that is just too much to ask.

So how much do Quebecers really care about language, culture and corruption?

Not much......or at least not enough to give up their Doritos and TV.


  1. Canadians care more about sports than politics? Then that's something you have in common with us in the USA. Yes, it really is a problem.

    I understand the desire to be entertained and distracted from reality; I'm that way often enough. But it would help immensely if people thought harder and took the trouble to focus on government issues.

    I wish this current economic downturn would cause people to change their personal status quo by, among other things, stop paying attention to athletes and movie stars. Get mad and focus on something that matters!

    As for francophones having babies, I wonder if that's because they are losing their religion. Religion is the only influence I know of that will cause people to have more babies than they actually crave. Unless you ban all forms of birth control.

  2. I always argued that the best way for Quebecois people to promote their language is for them to get busy and have more kids. The best way to do that is through wealth creation. Good paying, secure jobs lead to higher birth rates not nanny state interventionism. High taxes and Government red tape ( i.e. language laws) hinder investment in Quebec. Bottom line, if you can't put food on the table, you're not going to have more kids.

  3. Well! if this is something new. My raison d'être for wanting Quebec out of Canada is explained above, and this paragraph says it all:

    "...Quebecers are lazy.
    The product of a nanny-state that teaches us from birth that personal responsibility, hard work, entrepreneurship and academic excellence is not necessary to [succeed] get by."

    How about all those chicken hawks from Quebec who hid behind conscription in WWII? Their piss-poor excuse was it was "Britain's War", and damned if they were going to fight for Britain. Too bad it was THEIR "old country" that was invaded and occupied by the Nazis, yet those who fought "Britain's battles" ended up going into THEIR "old country" and saved their bacon!

    Sadly, the complacency goes beyond Quebec's borders and I was infuriated by the piss-poor turnout earlier this month for the Ontario election, but for me that goes way back. I previously worked in Ontario elections, a couple of times as an enumerator and as a poll official.

    My first time was six months after I moved to Ontario, in 1985. I worked as a poll clerk in a riding with a heavy Polish contingent. I crossed off about 2/3 of the names on my voter list, but was still bitterly disappointed that people who left a country where voting was out of the question for decades didn't turn out to do the one thing they should have gone to do before eating breakfast that day!

    Similarly, in a following election, I enumerated an apartment building with a very heavy Romanian contingent. I even caught a couple as they were leaving their apartment, and they had zero interest in waiting two minutes to be enumerated. WHAT DICKHEADS! They just left a country that was raped by its dictator to come to a country that could put out its leaders in just a few minutes.

    I also worked in that election as a Deputy Returning Officer, i.e., the poll supervisor, in another apartment complex where the poll was set up right in the lobby of the complex. You'd think the turnout would be in the vicinity of 90% allowing for residents in hospital or out of town. UH-UH! Less than 2/3 of the eligible voters could bother to take a walk down a corridor and either take the stairs or the elevator to come vote. They didn't even have to put a jacket on to go to their poll. Disgusting! Now voter turn-out is barely 2/3 of the 2/3 what it was when I worked the polls in the 80s and 90s.

    Some Canadians are angry that Harper is pushing through his agenda, but why not? It's not as if the voter is going to get rid of Harper if over half the population eligible to vote doesn't show up. If the voter is complacent, the government will be complacent, and why shouldn't it be complacent?

    I've mentioned Patrick Watson's CBC documentary from 20+ years ago entitled The Struggle for Democracy in this blog, and more than once. Interestingly, Watson interviewed and focused one of the ten parts on recently assassinated dictator Moammar Kadafi. What had the most impact on me was not the documentary itself, but hearing Watson on a radio interview promoting the documentary as it was about to air.

    Watson in that interview touched upon the increasing voter apathy, and this was back around 1988!!! He said if Canadians act complacently about their democracy, they will end up with the democracy they deserve.

    I think what Mr. Watson said makes sense. A lot of the monetary crisis in the U.S. today, let alone Europe, is due to voter apathy and the lack of participating in government policy. Barak Obama is proving to be one of the shittiest presidents ever, if not the absolute shittiest, at least since Jimmy Carter, the peanut brained farmer. If you don't engage your government, the government loses touch with the people. Simple as that!

  4. "A lot of the monetary crisis in the U.S. today, let alone Europe, is due to voter apathy and the lack of participating in government policy."

    This is the most far reaching example of blame-the-victim that I've ever seen. It's almost childish - break a toy and say I didn't do it, and point to another kid who had nothing to do with it.

    One word on Obama - he is a big disappointment, but the worst president ever? What about W? Or his daddy Bush Senior? Nixon? Truman? Ford? LB Johnson? It's actually hard to find a non-shitty president if you think about it. ("Most people attracted to power are AT BEST mediocre" - Karl Popper)

    Mississauga Guy, where do you get your info? Galganov's blog?

  5. Editor, your article makes it seem like if government works for the population, for regular citizens like you and me.

    If you ask me, government does not serve the interests of the population, but rather those of large corporations, banks, and a very small group of wealthy individuals. The fact that some of those interests cross over with those of regular citizens is just a happy coincidence.

    How can you expect people to care about a system that has absolutely nothing to do with them?

    Elections are basically a chance for you to pick who will be screwing you for the next few years.
    I'm only 30, but I have yet to see a government (provincial or federal) that works for the interests of the general population. Maybe one day...

    Also, your vote doesn't mean anything... just look at the Bloc Québécois. How clear did the message need to be last election? You've got 1 seat left. The population doesn't want you anymore, time to pack up your bags and leave. Is that what they're doing? Nope.. Cause they don't care what we think, their personal interests (and pension fund) are more important.

    As for the United States, I highly doubt that any elected officials have any say in any policies or decisions.

  6. Anonymous said.@10:39 AM
    "If you ask me, government does not serve the interests of the population, but rather those of large corporations, banks, and a very small group of wealthy individuals. "

    Bingo,it was on the BBC - check out the newscasters reactions.


  7. adski: To answer your last question, yes I do read Galganov dot com, but I certainly don't need him to formulate my own opinions.

    LBJ probably put through more legislation and reforms since any president you and I have been around. His worst act was getting involved in the Vietnam War.

    Good thing he was there because the 1970s were just one lousy president after another. Nixon was obvious, Ford was a do-nothing and Carter, along with Obama were ready to throw Israel under the bus, especially the latter. Carter couldn't get the hostages out of Iran. Reagan got them out right quick!

    Clinton was good at getting impeached and finding sword swallowers that he called interns, and other assorted terms. It was actually he who get the Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac fiasco going.

    As for Obummer, he can't get a piece of goddamn legislation passed. All that self-imposed Aug 2nd deadline to solve their debt crisis did was put the world in angst and put them even more in debt. Good call, adski! As for that proposal to set Israel's borders back to pre-1967? Don't get me started!

    I have no love loss for Dubya, believe me, but he got his legislation through even with some modification. Obummer can't even do that!

    Galganov is head-over-heels in love with Sarah Palin. I'm not, but I don't follow American politics anywhere nearly as much as he does, and he's made it clear he's an Obama basher. Based on his track record, he is crap. He promised change, and put back all the Old Guard Democrats that were there before he came along right back into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

    Everybody there has been a career politician for decades and other assorted academics--"Those who can, do; those who can't, teach; those who can't teach, teach teachers; those who can't teach teachers, become politicians; those who can't politic, write books!

    How many of them worked a real job? Started a business? Ran a corporation? Took an introductory economics course?

    No adski, I don't need Howard Galganov, you, or anybody else to formulate opinions for me. I'm educated enough to do it myself, thank you!

  8. Oh, yes, adski, I almost forgot, now your precious Obummer is going to violate NAFTA with this buy American crap.

    I'll agree with anyone that we should have had more free trade deals with other countries decades ago so we would have our trading eggs in more than one big basket. Dubya was a prick when it came to our soft lumber deal, and I don't think Harper did a great getting only 78% of the deal passed for all their demands.

    Now our diplomats are working hard to get other free trade deals worked out, hopefully not too little too late. I think this should have been done decades ago. At least we have smaller deals with Israel and Jordan.

    I'm sure the Americans will be working hard on Libya for oil, a payback for helping them rid themselves of that despotic dictator laying for all to see dead on that cold floor. They should throw that rat bastard's rotting carcas into the middle of the Mediterranean from eight miles high!

    Assaad's ass et al in Syria should be next. If they could get him by Dec 31st, 2011 would be a triple crown year.

  9. Editor! I would like to suggest a news story. It's about money and ethnic vote. Maybe you could find insteresting stories about the italian community and the Quebec Liberal Party.

  10. Yes, you can call it Scapegoating Minority Populations in Quebec.

  11. "I would like to suggest a news story. It's about money and ethnic vote."

    Who are you?...Jacques Parizeau?

  12. actually anon 10:26

    Minorities in Private sector construction industry forced to bribe pur laine bureaucrats to get contracts to make some money from the Quebec government. (full of pur laine bureaucrats who don't really have to show many results or even work that hard.)

  13. "But Quebecers are lazy.
    The product of a nanny-state that teaches us from birth that personal responsibility, hard work, entrepreneurship and academic excellence is not necessary to succeed get by."

    It hurts to see something so true and definitely on target. As a lazy Quebecer myself I can't argue that this is the basis for every problem we have. Well done sir.