Monday, May 7, 2012

Quebec Government and Students Both Cave In

The mainstream media is too politic to put it so bluntly, so let me be the first to say that both the Quebec government and the students both caved under the relentless pressure of battle.

The press is calling the proposed agreement between the students and the government a win/win situation for both, when a closer analysis reveals it to be more a case of lose/lose.

I'm saddened to say that just as the government had the student movement on the ropes, the government blinked and turned tail, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

For the students, what they got was more than they had before, but not at all what they wanted, which was a total victory which would humiliate the government.

The student boycott had already fallen to its lowest point in support since they left class a couple of months ago. The most recent poll put that support at just 32%, a precipitous fall from the 45% they enjoyed at the onset.

After a night of rioting in the small town of Victoriaville (where the Liberal party was holding a meeting,) one that led to injured police and rioters, the students could have expected to see their support plunge to the mid twenties, a number that would give the government a free hand to act decisively.

The police showed off some of the projectiles that the students brought with them, including billiard balls and chunks of concrete. Trust me when I say that the general public watching the mayhem was not amused.

The mayor of Victoriaville made an impassioned defense of the right of students to demonstrate, but not to destroy property or attack police.

More importantly, he warned other communities outside Montreal that their turn to suffer the wrath of student anarchists was coming and that no town in the 'regions' was safe.
This sent a chill throughout Quebec, which up to now, viewed the fight between students and the government as something that was occurring 'over there' in Montreal.

When the Charest government called the students in for a 'marathon' negotiating session and the students accepted, it was a forgone conclusion that a deal would be hammered out, with both parties too tired to continue the fight.

And so, it was a question of structuring a face-saving deal that would leave both sides standing.

The students agreed to the government's increased tuition fees in return for promises by the government to reduce other charges that students have to pay each year.
It's like your mother demanding that you pay $100 more in rent for your room and board, while promising to increase your allowance by that same amount.
It's a weird deal, the students actually winning, but looking like they lost.

For all their tough talk and fiery rhetoric, the students were out of gas and facing a very scary future.

The big unions who were backing the students financially (who do you think paid for the 50 plus buses sent to Saint-Hyacinthe) were deathly afraid of Charest pulling the plug on the school year and warned the student leadership in no uncertain terms that the doomsday scenario had to be prevented at all costs. If Charest cancelled the school year and successfully broke the student strike, it could embolden the government and might represent a harbinger of things to come vis-a-vis the whole unionized movement.
It was not something the big unions wanted to chance.

At any rate, with falling support in the opinion polls, the students had clearly 'jumped the shark' and with violence the only course left open, they understood that they were on a precipitous slide to oblivion.
Recognizing that if the school year was to be cancelled, the student associations themselves would never survive, they took what deal they could get, which was surprisingly pretty good.

They got that good deal, because clearly the government had also lost its nerve. Go figure.....

In the end the students didn't get a tuition freeze and the government didn't get any extra revenue.
And so the strike/boycott ends, in perfect Quebec style, with both sides losing.

That being said, for the radicalized students and anarchists, it isn't quite over yet. No doubt, they will  march and riot for a little while longer even though they have a deal, clearly having a great time of it and loathe to give up a party.
It will take a few more demonstrations before things calm down, mark my words.

Of all the political decisions made by the Charest government over the almost decade in power, none was more politically or morally wrong than this one.
A cancellation of the school semester and a subsequent hardline stance against the students may have led to more confrontations and riots, but each one would cut support for students and their chief backer, the PQ.
It would have presented Quebecers with a choice, the Liberals supporting law and order or the PQ backing the rioting students.
It was the only hope the Liberals had at re-election.

It's a political organizer's wet dream.
With a little cynical planning, the Quebec Liberal party could have turned the rioting students into a profitable road-show, calling meetings in all the regional centres of Quebec.
Each riot or mini-riot by students, resulting in broken glass and torched police cars on streets in towns that never saw this type of conflict, streets like Rue Racine in Chicoutimi, or Third avenue in Val D'Or, would trigger a tidal wave of panicked outrage.
Add into the mix, a couple of paid agents-provocateurs, with a mission to inflame and escalate the situation and voila, a scenario for a re-elected Liberal government emerges!
(Readers, how I miss the old days of hardball politics!)

Aside from the above described political flight of fancy, one that the political organizer in me couldn't resist putting forward, let us return to reality.

So what is the political legacy left by the student strike?
What message does caving in to student demands send to Quebec's unions?
What does it say about the governments resolve to govern in the face of opposition?

The answer is painfully obvious and it augers poorly for the future....

Government by intimidation.

103 comments:

  1. Yes, a great victory for both sides with the taxpayers outside of Quebec paying "le facture". How sad is Quebec, very very Sad.

    The whole thing was ridiculous. Students going on strike. Only in the welfare province of Quebec. Worse, yet, the government yielding to demands from these pseudo terrorists who will still pay some of the lowest tuitions in Canada. I guess, they want it free of charge so they can go to post secondary for a long time rather to become a productive person. Disgusting.


    Must be an embarrasment, to be a resident of Quebec.

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    1. "Must be an embarrasment, to be a resident of Quebec"

      Heeeuuu...Nope!

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    2. Quebec has its good points and its bad points.

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  2. I think the police nearly killing two kids finally forced the government's hand. Any kind of political gain from the hard line approach would have disapeared with an 18 year old in the morgue. Bad enough another one of them lost the use of his eye.

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  3. This whole thing was a proxy war pitting feds/capitalists and seps/anarcho-cummunists against each other and evolved into a face-saving exercise.

    I doubt that it was even remotely about tuition or college affordability. It was the opposition (union-separatist-leftist-extremist complex) testing the pre-electoral waters by combining a potpourri of recycled neo-Berkeley "resistance" at a time when the media is looking for a narrative. It gives both the protesting opposition and the media an excellent emotional narrative that reverberates through received pop culture ideas from the '60s.

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  4. I am deeply disappointed by the government. Such a limp dick respond. What message that comes out of this? That if somebody is loud enough and willing to break the law, they will eventually get what they want. It is a clear message for the separatist and language hard-liner groups. I would like to not to vote for Charest in the next election, but what choice do I have?

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    1. Troy: Your choice is to leave Quebec and have a more peaceful, rational life...oh...and of course you'll want equalization payments cut now that you live outside the pathetic loser society called the fascist state of Quebec. All's well in the Real Canada!

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    2. Try your luck with the CAQ? How worse than the Libs can they truly be?

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    3. Mississauga,

      For some of us, after reaching certain points in life, we become inert. With children, properties, working spouse, moving away and leaving everything behind is not as easy as when we were young and careless. I would not mind to move, in fact for the record if I get significantly better job anywhere, I would move. But jobs do not just grow on trees, do they?

      Yannick,

      The very fact that Francois Legault was a minister in a PQ government is such a turn-off for me.

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    4. More of a turnoff than the blatant lies/corruption/taking for granted of your vote?

      The best way to shake the liberals up is to vote for someone else, is it not? Look at what happened in Alberta - the PCs are sure to watch what they're doing since they came so close to losing their election, support swinging to them only in the last few days.

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    5. Troy: Haven't you ever heard of networking? Pick a place you'd ideally like to move to, and do some networking there. Your kinds will inevitably get a better education ANYWHERE else. Quebec doesn't invest in its education system, just do what they have to do to pencilwhip the kids through the public school system in 12 years. If they get an education along the way, great! If not, they're on their own (i.e., welfare). If you've been reading this blog long enough, you'll notice that Quebec is way behind the 8-ball what with the dropout rate, esp. French students, CEGEPs admitting students without their High School Leaving Certificates, and the UQ's accepting students without their DECs. Is this the shitty education you want for your children? How about investing in THEIR future?

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  5. The AGM is tomorrow night to vote for the offer. I'm going to be on the phone to get all the idiots that are against the strike but having been showing up to vote. I'll let you know what does down....

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  6. Of all the political decisions made by the Charest government over the almost decade in power, none was more politically or morally wrong than this one.

    Got to disagree. During the vote to demerge the Charest government ignored democracy by changing the voting threshold form 50% +1 of votes to 50% +1 of registered voters - Charest usurping democracy - what a cowardly piece of shit!

    Hey lets apply that rule to future referendums - shall we?

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    1. That is terrible.

      Reminds me of a joke a Québecois friend once told me. "How do you lose money? You fuse cities. How do you lose more money? You defuse them afterwards."

      But I agree that they should never have been fused against their will in the first place.

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    2. Yanny-boy: That's Quebec government for you! If there is a way not to govern, KAY-BEC knows how! If there is a way to screw things up, KAY-BEC knows how! Boy, do I remember those stupid propaganda commercials going back to the 60s!

      Just before the 1976 Olympics started, when not everything was completed (as was the case during the games), there was another little propaganda song that went "It took KAY-BEC to show dem 'ow, NOW WE'RE WAL-KING TEN FEET TALL!

      Of course, the games were way, way, way overbudget, and Drapeau was wrong about the games being self-financing like Expo was nine years earlier. Expo made a $50 million profit. The Olympics cost 20 times more than that and took smokers 30 years to pay off.

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  7. Enfin de bonnes nouvelles de la France

    "Patrick Bloche, député proche du nouveau président français Hollande. Interrogé pendant la campagne par François Bugingo, de QMI, Bloche n’a pas fait dans la langue de bois:

    «Un gouvernement de François Hollande s’engage à restaurer les relations historiques entre la France et le Québec. Car la charge de Sarkozy contre les souverainistes québécois (…) est indigne d’un chef d’État français. En fait, il aura infligé à la Belle Province les mêmes dégâts qu’à la France durant son quinquennat : il a voulu opposer les Québécois entre eux comme il l’a fait avec les Français.»
    Et puis:

    « M. Paul Desmarais ne recevra pas d’invitation de François Hollande pour la fête du 6 mai. C’est après tout, un ami personnel de Sarkozy, dont il partage la vision du Québec. Qui n’est pas la nôtre.»"

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    1. So...what's your point? Is France going to support financially Quebec if the latter separates? FAT CHANCE! There isn't a franc left in France! ...or Quebec for that matter.

      How do you propose the shortfalls on Quebec uinversity fees get paid for? UQ grduates at the helm of Quebec society? Boy, does Quebec's future look bleak! Premier John James Charest has proven he has NO gonads...AGAIN!

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    2. Mississauga,

      Of course there is no valid franc anymore in France. They have been using euro since 2002.

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    3. Troy: Take your technicalities and shove 'em! OK, There isn't a quarter euro left in France. Happy now?

      Then again, it looks like Greece will have to leave the euro and go to the gyro...or back to the worthless drachma! France is fast heading that way because they are an underworked and overpaid society like Greece, so you can be sure it won't be long before the hard-working Germans let them go, too! Who's next? Italy, Ireland, Spain, Portugual... Everything the detractors of a common currency were saying pre-1992 are coming to fruition. Countries that work hard and produce, like Germany, are supporting the countries that underproduce, like Greece, France and Italy! Why should the Germans pay for la dolce vita?

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  8. with the taxpayers outside of Quebec paying "le facture"

    Utter nonsense. Let's make this clear once and for all. Equalization payments are not linked to expenditures. Comes hell or high water, the equalization payments are based only on the revenues of the people living inside the province so they would not change no matter what program the government pays or doesn't pay for.

    The only single way in which the provincial government can impact equalization payments is by job creation/destruction. There are only a few things that can really impact this - the presence and exploiting of natural resources, bill 101, laws that protect unions, and the tax rate. Now if you think that Quebec scraps its economy out of spite to get a measly 7 billions a year (Quebec spending is 71 billions total), you're off your kilter.

    People claim that Hospitals, low-cost education, daycare, welfare, unions, etc... in Quebec are paid by ROC Canadians. That's a whole lot of services to fund with only 7 billions per year! Yet the equalization payments allegedly pay for all of these things as opposed to, say, the highest taxes in North America.

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    1. Yan: Is that so? How about this: Harper cuts Quebec's equalization payments to ZERO! NÉANT! NADA! BUPKIS! Why don't we put your "facts" to a test as see what happens in Quebec?

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    2. That wouldn't be fair, since other poor provinces receive equalization payments. Why should Quebec be singled out? Because they're willing to tax more and take on more debts than other provinces? Nonsense.

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    3. No, Yan, it's because Quebec is disloyal to the federation, it blatantly discriminates against those who are not of their kind, and they make laws to restrict the use of one of two of Canada's official languages. The reaction to an English-only speaking hockey coach was nothing less than sick and reprehensible, and while it was only a few retards who picketed and demonstrated, the media embellished the story to nauseating heights.

      From kindergarten through university in the French schools, there is endless propaganda and insideous lies about how the moodzie heengleesh lorded over and berated le p'tit Québécois. Sorry, no, that was your precious Roman Catholic church that you finally abandoned in droves just a half century ago, and rightly so. Then there were politicians, namely Maurice Duplessis, a tyrannous dictator who coerced your naïve people with pork barrel politics and his goons, namely the SQ, yet your people needed the minorities to use as your scape-gauthiers for all that went wrong in your backward collectivity that recently proved after 50+ year your society is still as backwards as ever. Your precious hero, Lionel Groux, who had a skull full of groux-l (gruel), was so racist, he should have had a swastika tattooed on his forehead.

      THAT sir, is why I single Quebec out!

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    4. Mississauga,

      You may not like it, but the Federal Government can not do that. The equalization payment is mandated by the Constitution Act, 1982. The most that the Fed can do is to manipulate the criteria of what make a province "have" or "have not". However, no matter how one plays with the numbers, I think it is very difficult to justify Quebec as a "have" province.

      The law itself is full of flaws, I think. There is no instruction how a province must behave to receive the payment. Regardless, it is the law and the Government is bound by it. And as well, Yannick is right. There are provinces that receive more payment per capita than Quebec.

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    5. In my mind equalization payments ought to be tied to fiscal management.. the provinces not just Quebec need to deal seriously with deficit and larger debt issue.. they shouldn't be counting on blank cheques from Ottawa....

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    6. "In my mind equalization payments ought to be tied to fiscal management.."

      The whole point of equalization payments is that it equalizes the provinces' spending power. What provinces do with their spending is entirely up to them. Quebec wants to fund super socialist programs, and is paying for it with the highest tax rate in North America, a large debt, and long-term economical damage.

      I remember Danielle Smith of the WRA saying that "Quebec is financing programs with our tax dollars that we Albertans can't afford". If Alberta was willing to tax at the rate of Quebec, you can bet it could pay for all those programs! And then some! IF Alberta was willing to.

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    7. Why would Quebec be opting to stay in the federation with the RoC which it dislikes if it weren't for the "booty" that's flowing disproportionately one way?

      When you don't know what it is, it's usually the money.

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    8. @Yannick - Quebec did indeed scrap its' economy out of spite - Bill 101 - spitefully stupid!

      @Troy - The equalization payment is mandated by the Constitution Act, 1982.

      Whoa, the PQ says Quebec didn't sign that document. Let them admit that Quebecs' MPs voted for (and were the main drivers of) the constitution before ANY equalization payment is made. Or they can keep the "we didn't sign it" BS but NO equalization payments.

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    9. Why didn't I think of it! Let's have some parts of the constitution apply to Quebec, but not others. It's not arbitrary at all.

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    10. DD,

      Indeed it is a political bullshit. But on the other hand, the Federal Government maintains (Liberal and Conservative alike) that the Constitution of 1982 is bounding all over Canada with or without Quebec's endorsement. And indeed it is, since the ratification mechanism is included in the BNA Act of 1867.

      Therefore, the Feds can not hold the equalization payment for Quebec.

      NB: I am not saying whether Quebec of the Feds is more right in this matter. Just point out the laws as they stand.

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    11. Quebec picks and chooses what it wants to keep and what to reject. Bill 101 contradicts the Canadian Charter of Rights? We are not really a part of Canada so it doesn't apply to us. The OLA to promote French across the RoC is too expensive? We are in Canada so you need to keep it so we can feel comfortable anywhere in this country.

      Always wanting to have a cake and eat it too.

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    12. I thought bill 101 got changed to comply with the Charter of Rights, though. There were legal battles about it, and the bit where it said that only french could be put on signs was changed into a (understandably not much better) provision where french nearly needed to be "prominent".

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    13. Troy: If equalization can't be completely cut off, it can certainly be cut down to $1 per capita, which to me is still a dollar too much; besides, there was a time Alberta received equalization, but because of oil, they don't anymore. The fact Quebec has shale oil and other resources in the ground and they're not making any effort to extract them is proof positive Quebec is sitting on its laurels instead of creating hundreds, maybe thousands of jobs through natural resource extraction.

      No, the something-for-nothing Québécois society would rather sit on their asses and let the rest of us pay while they do sweet f-all! No thanks!

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  9. I agree with annonymous about the police, all it would have taken was some overzealous pig killing or maiming a student and public opinion would have shifted. Its hardly a cave in by the government, the students in their bid to have cheap education will eventually set their sights on teacher's salaries. Then the separatist students and teachers can devour each other. or they just might vote against this thing which works even more in the government's favour.

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    1. JJ: Not a bad idea. Divide and conquer, eh? The best part is, the rest of us get a ringside seat. Why didn't Goldilocks think of this? He could have handed each individual university their government budget allocations to split anyway they like. You'd have students wanting to pay ZEERO, including for books while the profs would seek increases that exceed the cost of living. Kinda like watching two little kids have a tug of war over one toy.

      BRAVO, JJ!

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  10. Charest may seem like a hopeless racist appeasing Quebec politician but he is not a fool. Deep down he knows if he wins one more time its curtains for the racists, this is why he marinates himself in racist, separatist peuple conquis talk, theres always that soft racist element. When he wins again it will mark 5 straight votes (6 if you count the referendum) where the separatists could not beat this guy. Despite all his corruption, incompetence and the hateful groupthink separatist propaganda taught in schools and spewed on french radio they cannot beat Charest. How embarassing!

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  11. Beaucoup de difficulté à croire que les anglos vont encore (être obligés de) voter pour Charest le corrompu...Quelle sale histoire.Je ne voudrais pas être un anglo aux prochaines élections,ho que non!

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    2. Pourquoi ne votent-ils pas pour la CAQ, ne serait-ce que par contestation? Un bon troisième parti, c'est-ce qu'il y a de mieux pour brasser la marde, non? De plus qu'ils ne semblent pas aussi deumeurés que l'ADQ, et que les deux alternatives sont assez merdiques.

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  12. Un ami politicien dont je tairai le nom m'a confié un jour que les anglos intelligents ne restent pas chez nous,plus je regarde les évènements plus je crois qu'il n'avait pas tort.

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    1. Who is this "nous" of which you speak, exactly?

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    2. Great! Since that includes anglos, they are at home too.

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    3. Pas nécessairement chaton. Un anglo fédéraliste qui veut imposer sa langue ne peut être considéré comme Québécois.

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    5. Explain to me again who is imposing their language on who, exactly?

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    6. "Explain to me again who is imposing their language on who, exactly?"

      That is faily obvious with Bill 101, OQLF and the continuing war on english in Quebec as sanctioned by the government which is elected by the the majority.

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    7. That's what I thought. Gertie seems to be quite confused.

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    8. Would appear Gerties culottes are way to tight and have crept up to her neck thus starving her brain of oxygen.

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    9. Veuillez respecter nos lois.Merci.

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    10. "Explain to me again who is imposing their language on who, exactly?"

      Qui doit protéger sa langue exactement ?

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    11. Qui doit protéger sa langue exactement ?

      Protecting one's language is no excuse for violating people's basic rights and freedom of expression.Those are the things that are truly worth defending and fighting for.
      It is preposterous to be defending a language at the detriment of those things. People don't speak Latin anymore, either. Languages come and go based on needs of society.

      Stop acting like fascist little pricks just because you feel so insecure and inferior, it's not worth it, people like you put the entire province to shame.

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    12. @Nicolas Pelletier

      "people like you put the entire province to shame."

      Je crois que l'acquisition d'un miroir s'impose...Elvis.

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    13. Bravo nick la gamick,la langue est maintenant un produit de consommation?La petite droite sans morale et leur règle selon laquelle l'univers doit obéir au principe de l'offre et de la demande.Je ne serais pas surpris d'apprendre que certains "droiteux" vendent leurs parents au plus offrant.Qui devrait être le plus honteux?Pitoyable et pathétique.

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    14. Nicolas Pelletier: "Protecting one's language is no excuse for violating people's basic rights and freedom of expression."

      This goes to the heart of the matter. N.Pelletier correctly implies, while pursuing good, pious, and often exalted goals, you can also be doing bad. People will resort to lofty slogans to defend less than noble actions. The idiots in NDG who harassed immigrant store owners did not see a tired and hard working human being. They only saw their inflated cause and acted in self exultation, without noticing that the role of victim and victimizer has been reversed. (We should all beware of those who claim to be on a pious mission.)

      Perpetually a victim, Quebeckers forget that they're the ones wielding power in QC, and through blackmail are actually able to exert some pressure on a neighboring state called Canada. Pretending to be sheep, Quebeckers have been acting like wolves for the past several decades. Francophones in Louisiana, Acadia, and New England might have been sheep, but don't let that fool you that QC francophones of today are, even if they like to put on a sheep's clothing sometimes to advance their interests.

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    15. @Adski

      Arrêtez d'essayer d'intellectualiser le problème,les mathématiques sont de notre coté adski.
      Nous représentons une minorité de 2% en amérique peu importe l'approche utilisée.

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    16. I know that the 2% argument suits your political interests so you'd like to exclude everything else from the equation. But these matters (and all matters) are more complex and multi-layered. You accuse me of over-intellectualizing, someone else once accused me of "relativising", but I think that complexity has to be taken into account if we are to live more or less harmoniously (keeping in mind that full harmony is probably unachievable in today's complex societies).

      In the case of your 2% argument, I see a few major question marks.

      First, I can't accept your 2% argument when, for example, you're bullying a dep owner, scaring (maybe even scarring) his daughter amongst other things. The actions you take against that person will always strike me much harder than the statistics and percentages you then show me on the graph to justify your actions.

      Second, you use the 2% argument to apply to a context where the 2% in question is really 80%.

      Third, what you consider the 98% "threat" is also debatable. Do these 98% pose an imminent and active threat to you? Are their armies amassing on the borders of QC ready to strike? Are they contaminating your crops, lobbing missiles on your homes, or waging a propaganda war? No. It pretty much looks like they they left you to your own devices, letting you run your province the way you want. I don't see or feel any threat. If I felt it, maybe I'd be more sympathetic to your cause.

      Are they waging a culture war on you? To some extent yes, but they're waging it against the whole world (as the woman who wrote that Huffington Post piece astutely noted). American culture is taking over the world, and I do think that preserving your culture against that backdrop is beneficial, as I consider the pop culture an anti-culture. But I think that fighting the anti culture must be done at the individual level. Once the state gets involved, it is likely to use it as a pretext to apply coercion on the citizens in order to suit its own needs and interests. So if you're going about it by limiting other people's rights and freedoms, and by bullying and threatening people, then I cannot be a part of it.

      To paraphrase Jessie Ventura who said in opposition to the Patriot Act: "I'd rather face terrorists every day than lose a single liberty on their account", I say this: "I'd rather face a possible and bleak possibility of anti-culture trampling all other cultures, than lose a single liberty frighting the anti-culture." And I don't think the pop culture will triumph. I think the people will ultimately reject it. And it will be the people who will, not some state or government that couldn't care less about culture to begin with.

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    18. That might be the most well-argued post I've ever seen you write adski. Very interesting points.

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    19. "Second, you use the 2% argument to apply to a context where the 2% in question is really 80%."

      C'est réglé!On ignore simplement l'influence de 350 000 000 anglos à 50km de nos frontières.
      Que pourrait-on exclure de plus de l'équation?...Voyons voir...Ha oui!Les médias de masse incluant le web et médias sociaux.Vous avez raison,nos mesures de protection sont non fondées.

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    20. Those are facts, no doubt about that. 350 000 000 people that speak a different language than yours only 50 km away. Social media, mass media, and the web penetrating through with a foreign language...also a fact. Throw in Acadia, Louisiana, and New England. All historical facts and precedents that can't be denied.

      I am not accusing your side of always being wrong and always lacking facts (although you like to stretch facts sometimes, like when you play with statistics). The problem with your side is that you use these facts selectively and you simplify matters that are complex to fit your political interests.

      You accuse me of over-intellectualizing. I accuse you of oversimplifying.

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    21. adski,

      But the facts are wrong.

      Those 350M who do not speak French are not located within 50 km of the border. I would guess that within 50 km of the border the number of people (in whatever language) would not exceed 3M.

      Point is, it is really a false argument to generalize all the population of RoC and USA as anglo power that threatens Quebec. The fallacies are:

      1. There are more people whose first language is not English than the whole population of Canada. One can not logically expect them to support English superiority, can one?

      2. What do people in Honolulu, La Jolla, Austin, Reno, Victoria care about Quebec and its language and culture? I would even guess that many regular people on the street do not even know what Quebec is.

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    22. Troy, 350M is a fact, but your points are correct and add to what I said: the issue is rahter complex.

      You are right to question if someone from that 350M who lives in Oregon is a threat/ Will he walk over here and anglicise Quebeckers? Or even someone from Vermont? Will he come over as well?

      If, on the other hand, we assume that anglicisation comes over by airwaves, movies, web, the internet, music, television, then the same rules apply to the whole world. Bytes and tv signals reach Madrid, Berlin, Moscow, and Bombay as fast as they reach Montreal.

      Also, consider that in the age of fast transportation, it takes roughly 5 hours to fly from New York to Madrid, and 5 hours to drive from New York to Montreal. Why doesn't Spain have Bill 101 then?

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    23. la langue est maintenant un produit de consommation?

      It's a communicative tool, and like all tools it can become obsolete and be replaced by better and more efficient ones.
      What kind of worthless and insignificant person bases their own identity and pride on their language? (answer: the sheepish kind that's been brainwashed and trained to be insecured by their government and media)
      And he calls ME pathetic. ROFL.

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    24. Qui base son identité et sa fierté sur sa langue? Tout le monde... vous êtes quoi M. Nicolas, un programmeur? Un économiste? Vous semblez n'avoir aucun attachement aux choses immatérielles comme la culture et l'héritage.

      C'est votre choix, mais vous insultez ceux plus attachés à leurs racines que vous. On n'a pas tous la volonté de se vendre au plus offrant dans les USA comme vous.

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    25. @Nicolas
      I completely agree with you, and if your name is indeed Nicolas Pelletier, I raise my hat to you for being a pragmatist able to decouple ancestry from need.

      @Yannick
      Je ne base pas le gros de mon identité sur ma langue. C'en est un détail important, mais ce n'est ni l'alpha ni l'oméga de ce que je suis. De plus, je tiens à te désabuser de cette notion idiote si bien récupérée par la gaugauche voulant qu'il faut tout sauvegarder d'une génération à l'autre -- pourvu d'avoir obtenu l'étampe d'approbation d'un parti aux accointances anarcho-syndicalistes. Si c'était vraiment le respect de notre culture et passé que prônait le mouvement séparatiste et à plus forte raison le nationalisme québécois, on serait tous encore des bûcherons archicatholiques, pas une race de laïcs urbanisés nihilistes dans nos 4 1/2. Tant de choses ont changé pendant tous ces siècles, y compris nos valeurs, moeurs, et façons de faire. Tout ce qui reste de notre "culture ancestrale", c'est une obsession démesurée de notre langue et d'un complexe de persécutés pérenne qui alimente un pseudo "combat" contre un "ennemi" délibérément caricaturé et à géométrie variable. Tout comme la "guerre au terrorisme" ou la "guerre contre la pauvreté", ce combat a une fin (et une finalité) tellement vague qu'on ne saura jamais lorsque (ou comment) elle sera atteinte.

      On n'a pas tous la volonté de participer au ré-emballage inutile et médiocre d'un ensemble de racines tout simplement pour y coller une étiquette française. Pas pour trente millions de personnes et encore moins pour trois millions et demie de jappeux qui prennent déjà trop de place chez nous.

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    26. @Apparatchik : Je crois pas que l'identité soit basée exclusivement sur la langue. Je crois que c'est stupide et ultra-nationaliste que la langue soit l'alpha et l'oméga de son identité. Mes ancêtres acadiens étaient également analphabètes, ultra-catholiques et vivaient de la mer alors que moi je suis un scientifique athée.

      Je m'offuscais à l'idée que la langue n'ait rien à voir, que ce soit un "code" auquel on est stupide pour attacher de l'importance. Je ne connais pas beaucoup de gens qui pensent comme ça. Les seuls que j'ai entendu parler de la sorte, c'était des anglophones pour qui par coincidence le "code" est celui qu'ils utilisent déjà. C'est sûr que la langue n'a aucune importance quand tout le monde parle déjà la tienne! Également, un Néerlandais. Celui-ci m'a dit qu'aux Pays-Bas cette attitude est répandue; même dans leurs universités, pour attirer des étudiants internationaux ils donnent les cours en anglais.

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    27. Nicolas, there are many people who are attached to their native cultures and base their identities on it. I'm one of them. I also have a very critical stance on the American pop culture, and I don't like how it eats away at other cultures. However, what we have in Quebec is nationalism and an application of state coercion which are antithetical to culture.

      Orwell recognized this dichotomy and called the positive feeling of attachment to one's culture "patriotism". He also defined "nationalism" as a desire for power through attachment to symbols (like flags, logos, anthems) instead of to people. So nationalism does smear patriotism by association, but the two are different nonetheless.

      Here's Orwell's full quote from his Notes on Nationalism:

      "By 'nationalism'... I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By 'patriotism' I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality."

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    28. Bien heureux d'apprendre que la langue ce n'est pas tout pour toi. Mais encore là j'ai du mal à comprendre d'où ce même néo-brunswickois qui se dit scientifique et athée puise sa sensibilité qui à mon appréciation frôle parfois l'ultra-nationalisme qu'il déclare tant honnir.

      Je comprends certes ton mépris pour l'idée voulant qu'une langue n'a rien à voir avec ce qu'est une personne, mais en même temps, je constate que le débat tel qu'on le connait au Québec prend les allures d'un fanatisme religieux des plus radicaux. Ma réponse est et a toujours été celle du bilinguisme, non pas par haine ni par souhait d'assimiler graduellement qui que ce soit, mais plutôt parce que je suis moi-même bilingue et je suis reconnaissant envers les institutions de langue française et anglaise qui ont fait en sorte que je puisse devenir ainsi. Mon seul et honnête souhait, c'est que nos dirigeants cessent de nous faire peur et de nous diviser par un faux débat et qu'ils nous encouragent à mieux nous connaitre. Dans un fond sans rancune, je suis certain qu'une aisance naturelle en français serait serait "hip" pour bon nombre d'anglophones, tout comme s'exprimer naturellement et sans difficulté en anglais serait "cool" pour la plupart des francophones tenus perpétuellement à l'écart, hier par nos curés, aujourd'hui par nos politiciens nationalistes carriéristes.

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    30. I completely agree with you, and if your name is indeed Nicolas Pelletier, I raise my hat to you for being a pragmatist able to decouple ancestry from need.

      It is my name, and I'm a pure-laine Quebecois, the only reason I'm writing in English right now is because I don't possess a French keyboard at the moment. It looks stupid with no accents.

      Vous semblez n'avoir aucun attachement aux choses immatérielles comme la culture et l'héritage.

      On the contrary. My ideas, my thoughts, my personality, the hobbies I like, those things are what define me. Those things don't change based on what language I'm speaking at the moment. They may change when I grow and acquire new knowledge, but language is irrelevant in the equation.

      It is pathetic and superficial to derive your sense of self-worth from the language you speak. It's the same as those people who can't feel secure if they aren't wearing a certain brand of clothing or driving a certain type of car.
      Communicative tools are completely irrelevant, the ideas are what matter.

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    31. ous êtes quoi M. Nicolas, un programmeur? Un économiste?

      If you must know, I teach both French and English classes in the country where I currently reside.

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    32. Yannick,

      I think it is fine and good to be proud of one's language and cultural identity. However, what is not fine is to impose that feeling to those who do not necessarily share the same thing. Why can we just live and let live? If one's culture and language is that fragile that they need artificial measures to protect them, what does it say about the people who embrace them?

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    33. "On the contrary. My ideas, my thoughts, my personality, the hobbies I like, those things are what define me. Those things don't change based on what language I'm speaking at the moment. They may change when I grow and acquire new knowledge, but language is irrelevant in the equation."

      I disagree that language is irrelevant. Ideas, hobbies, personality, views, interests, etc...are part of a whole, but language counts too. Maybe not for you, but it does for many.

      If language didn't count, seppie fear-mongering wouldn't be so effective. The reason that it is effective is because language is important to people. That people's attachment to language and culture is used as a tool of control by seppie manipulators is another story.

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    34. "It is pathetic and superficial to derive your sense of self-worth from the language you speak"

      It is what nationalists do. A patriot derives a feeling of comfort, belonging, nostalgia, good memories, etc... from his language or culture. A nationalist derives a sense of self-worth, pride, prestige, supremacy, power...for him/her "language", "nation", "culture", (revised) "history", flag, anthem, or what not, are nothing but a substitute for his individuality.

      What do you think this hysteria in QC over the "respect" for the language and culture of the "host" is? It's a cry of a nationalist who doesn't find comfort in his/her culture, but rather wants to use it as a vehicle for his personal prestige.

      Orwell got this spot on: "The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality."

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    35. @Adski : Seems to me you are dividing nationalisms in two - soft (patriotism) and hard (nationalism), the former being good and the latter being bad. I see only a difference of scale, not of kind.

      Not to say that extreme nationalism isn't bad, it's caused most of the recent wars and conflicts in history. On the other hand, I'm unconvinced by those who claim that I should have no attachment to my ancestors, people, language, history, culture, or -insert intangible here-. I guess in an era of globalization that would make the workforce truly infinitely mobile, but I don't think we're there yet. I sure am not. I have no interest in emigrating from Canada, I feel too much attachment to my country.

      I believe people still retain a sense of distinctiveness based on their origins, be they civic, geographic, genetic or cultural. This is what I mean by "identity", not whether someone prefers Moosehead to Budweiser, or Hockey to Baseball.

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    36. Yannick, I see a difference in kind not just in gradation, and I don't think of patriotism as soft nationalism (I agree with Orwell: Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism). I think the two are different from each other, and each comes from a different place in the heart. Nationalism comes from the darkest corners of the soul, but patriotism is not only normal, but natural.

      Again, I agree with Orwell, who considers the two to be opposing concepts: "Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved"

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    37. "those who claim that I should have no attachment to my ancestors, people, language, history, culture,"

      I don't know who claims this, but from my posts you can tell that I don't. In fact, I have that attachment too (to my roots of course, not Quebec or Canadian ones). And as long as it stays a personal matter and a personal source of comfort, as long asyour language or culture is something "which you believe to be the best in the world but have no wish to force on other people", then it is not only normal but natural.

      But this is different from running around and demanding that others "respect" your culture, or demanding that they take up your culture. That's nationalism.

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    38. "I don't know who claims this, but from my posts you can tell that I don't."
      Referring to Nick and people I've met in the past by that statement. Not you.

      "But this is different from running around and demanding that others "respect" your culture, or demanding that they take up your culture. That's nationalism."

      I understand that you're saying "Quebec should not force its anglophones and immigrants to live in French."

      However, what I'm hearing is "If people want to move to Quebec, not learn French and put the onus on learning a language on those who already live there rather than the newcommers, that's totally ok and you're nationalist to think otherwise."

      I just can't imagine that being acceptable behaviour anywhere else. I wouldn't dream of moving to Italy and not learn Italian, even though I probably technically could.

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    39. High levels of immigration do make local populations insecure, but what's nationalism is nationalism. The definition of nationalism doesn't change with a reason (or an excuse).

      This situation is, again, complex. Should an immigrant make an effort and learn a local language? Yes, and not "out of respect for the hosts", but for practical reasons. Is someone who takes indifference to his language as an insult a nationalist? Yes.

      Both are true.

      And yes, if you moved to Italy and lived there in French or English, then an Italian badgering you about "respecting" his language would be an Italian nationalist. And no, not every Italian would badger you. In Quebec your culture excuses and sanctions badgering on account of language, but in my culture for example (if you moved to Warsaw and lived there without Polish) such badgering would be unusual and considered nationalistic. I, for one, wouldn't bat an eye if I ran into you and found out that you're not living your life in Polish over there. I could not care less. (this is usually the cue to bring up the 2% argument, and say how Poland or other countries exist in a different context).

      I have a friend who lives in Berlin and works as a flash programmer in English. He doesn't speak much German. So moving to Italy/Germany/whatever and not knowing the local language is not beyond a realm of plausibility after all.

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    40. And the onus is on the newcomers to QC to learn French, and most of them do learn it.

      QC nationalist's problem is not that immigrants/anglos don't speak French, it's that they don't live in it nor "respect" it. The term "respect" is almost a give-away, since it is used as a substitute for revere, look up to, admire...the language and by extension the speakers of the language).

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    41. Referring to Nick and people I've met in the past by that statement. Not you.

      I'm not saying that, either. Ancestor, history, culture, I never even mentioned those things. For the record, I do identify with my history and my ancestors, but again, the language seems largely insignificant because it's only the tool with which those things were communicated to me.
      You could give someone a class about the history of Quebec, and they'd still be receiving the same information whether the class was taught to them in English or in French. Or in Chinese, or Spanish, or anything else you want.

      I disagree that language is irrelevant. Ideas, hobbies, personality, views, interests, etc...are part of a whole, but language counts too. Maybe not for you, but it does for many.

      I suppose I was exagerrating a bit. It is a part of who I am, in a way, I guess. I do take pride in the fact that I can speak 4 languages, with French being one of them; and I always proudly identify myself as Canadian, and then specify that I come from the French part of Canada. (I'd say Quebec, but most people have no clue what that is. Honest.)

      What I meant was that compared to the other things that define me as "me", language is such a small thing that you might as well call it insignificant (when contrasted with those other things).
      There are so many more important things for a person to take pride in: the way I treat others, the morals that I value, the things I like (and the reasons why I like them), my thought process, my ideas, my artistic creations... those are the things that really come from me. As opposed to language, which is the tool with which those things were taught to me.

      Imagine that there's a parallel universe, where I have lived through the exact same life experiences, learned the exact same things, but they have been taught to me in English rather than in French.
      Would that alternate "me" be any different than the real "me" that exists right now? If so, I propose that the differences would be so small that they would be completely negligible.

      This is what I meant when I said that language was irrelevant.

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  14. I love this Blog! It's too little, and far too late since the Editor and the rest of his readers are all completely disenfranchised. We all exist as an embarassment to federal failures and an as of yet incomplete ethnic cleansing at the hands of racialized Quebec, but we at least have a public place to whine. But the sooner we all leave Quebec, or buy into changing our names to Gaston, the better for the powers that be.
    The truth of the matter is that the time for discussions is long past. If Canadians in this province want a political voice, equal rights, a democracy where they vote for the better candidate and not for the only one that's available to them, you will have to fight for it. Not in corrupt courts that plow cases under the weight of long years and not with peaceful demonstrations that end in intimidation and threats such as those suffered by Sheabeare. Disobey 101 in every way possible. Tear down the Arret signs in your communities and replace them with STOP. Rebel and be prepared for all its consequences or shut up and move out like the racist pigs tell us to do. Time for the radicals to learn that spite breeds spite and fear is not the tool of the oppressors alone.

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    1. I totaly agree with you. We can not spend the rest of our lives sitting in a chair bearing the effigy of canadian flag, saying "I'm proud to be Canadian" between two sips of Molson Canadian! We worth more than that! We must do more than that!

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    2. I for one thank waitors/waitresses when they serve me in English on the Plateau and (somewhat less) in Hochelaga, and in French on the West Island.

      I'm actually encouraged by what I've seen.

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    3. I don't see how you can feel encouraged. I've been voting for the same party ever since I was eligible to vote because I have no choice whatsoever. Even worse, that party (liberals) does not really represent the interests of my community but only takes a softer line against my community. We have no political voice, no political power and are completely unrepresented in the provincial as well as the federal political structure. In essence, we are stripped of our vote and have been pushed between the cracks of Canadian democracy. I don't care if a waitress speaks to me in English or French anymore. It's time to start burning shit down, man the barricades... you know, the sort of things people who have been raped of their rights do. Otherwise, we deserve everything we're getting and more.

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  15. Utter nonsense so Yannie says. Well its true that Quebec receives about 8 billion (actually more considering other perks and subsidies such as those related to agriculture) more than it pays to Ottawa. This represents about 13% of the Quebec provincial budget. So, if the payments were not available Yannie's taxes would go up by an equivalent amount assuming Yannie has a job and pays taxes. Of course, at this level of taxation any one with one or two brain cells who was gainfully employed would leave for greener pastures leaving the ones on the dole to celebrate their utter insignificance in the grande scheme.

    8 billion pays for a lot of services...put in context, about 13% of the social services in Quebec paid for by the ROC. Yes, Quebec has high taxes...reflecting a total debt of nearly 248 billion to date. Just another indication of the total fiscal irresponsibilty of the government of Quebec and the taxpayers who elect same. For proof of the fact one has only to look at the corruption abounding in every corner of Quebec from politicians to the organized crime which supports them.

    The argument of comparing other provinces who receive more by capita is weak when one considers the population of Quebec.

    In short, Quebec is a ball and chain around the foot of the ROC and the incessent feeling of entitlement continues to this day.

    Quebec is currently enjoying the same fortunes as their favored hockey team...Losers.





    As for the faulty

    "There are only a few things that can really impact this" One of these is manipulating revenues on hydro to artificially reduce provincial income as Quebec has done for years thus increasing equalization received. Just sayin.

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    1. I've heard of the Hydro thing before. I believe Manitoba also benefits from it. If you were to say, argue that the formula should be changed so that renewable energy was treated the same way as non-renewable energy, you would be well on your way to have an intelligent discussion about our Equalization payment.

      It'll take more than "Quebec is amongst those benefiting from that clause, that's reason enough to strike it from the program" to convince me though.

      As to perks related to Agriculture, why don't you enlighten the rest of us?

      "Of course, at this level of taxation any one with one or two brain cells who was gainfully employed would leave for greener pastures leaving the ones on the dole to celebrate their utter insignificance in the grande scheme."

      Yeah that's sort of the rationale behind the Equalization program in the first place. Ensure that all provinces can provide roughly equal services if they had the same level of taxation. It doesen't prevent a province from providing fewer services and lowering taxes (or vice-versa), though.

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    2. "argue that the formula should be changed so that renewable energy was treated the same way as non-renewable energy"

      Actually, this was an election promise by Stephen Harper in the election of 2006. The conservatives promptly broke the promise which cost Saskatchewan about 700 Million dollars in one year. Alberta of course much more. The renege of this election promise created quite a stir in the West.

      Yannick is correct regarding Manitoba who still receive a large sum of money every year courtesay of equalization. (no doubt would be a lot less if hydro revenue was included as total income to the province and not exempted). Myself, I believe Manitoba is enjoying the benefit as a by product of the situation in Quebec, where hydro revenues are several times as large as Manitoba's (not sure about the actual numbers)

      Quebec since the inception of the National Dairy Policy Quebec has held 47% of the national industrial milk quote, despite being only 24% of population. ref: Grace Skogstad, Canadian Federalism, Internationalization and Quebec Agriculture. Canadian Public Policy Vol 24, Number 1, p 27 to 48.

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    3. According to this website, Manitoba's equalization payments would be 1/3 of what they currently are if renewable energy was not exempt from the equalization payments.

      Given that Manitoba receives 1400$/person compared to Quebec's 936$/person*, you would think that the hydro thing benefits Manitoba way more than it benefits Quebec. Remember that Quebec's population is 6 times bigger than Manitoba's, so even though Hydro is more important in Quebec overall it might not transfer to more benefit in equalization payment.

      I believe the rationale for excluding renewable resources from Equalization payments is to encourage provinces to invest in greener energy. Presumably the same would apply to solar, geothermal, wind energy and so on. Not sure though.

      As for the milk, I appreciate the reference. What I am wondering, however, is whether that share is unfair. I mean, there are many areas where the Dairy Industry is not very strong and it is particularly strong in Quebec. According to the Canadian Dairy Information Centre, Quebec holds 38% of all dairy cows and 50% of farms producing milk. I mean, you wouldn't be surprised if Alberta got the lion share of oil subsidies, right?

      *Divided by population myself.

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  16. Interesting updates on the Agreement on Principle.

    Students do not seem to agree with the agreement, therefore it is not over yet. The leader of CLASSE, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, even denounced the agreement that HE HIMSELF SIGNED. Leo Bureau-Bloin of FECQ is much better in taking responsibility, saying that he read the agreement therefore he signed it.

    A different group of student protesters is emerging. They are the green squares. They are the ones who support the tuition increase, oppose the walkout and want to continue their studies as soon as possible. It is interesting to see whether their number can increase and they can get the mass needed to counter the red squares.

    Watch those updates on CTV Montreal.

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    1. Very interesting. Good news for those who want to see the backs of the students broken, I guess.

      "Leo Bureau-Bloin of FECQ is much better in taking responsibility, saying that he read the agreement therefore he signed it."

      I don't understand this sentence. He read it therefore he signed it?

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    2. It is interesting to see whether their number can increase and they can get the mass needed to counter the red squares.

      Highly doubtful.
      The people who are against all the protests (the regular people) have jobs, lives, and let's not forget, actual work to do for their classes. They don't have time to go out in the streets to carry signs and destroy everything in their path.

      It's always the same thing, the extremists / radicals / people with nothing else to do / people with a cause who want to be seen (separatists last night) are the ones who are out protesting, while the rest of us work to pay for their welfare checks.

      There's someone who posts on here and asks why the anglos / anti-loi-101 people don't get together and form their own representation, and who always point out that Hugo Shebbeare's demonstrations never attract many people..
      This person clearly fails to understand that only the extremists and radicals are out protesting, the rest of us don't have the free time, we have jobs and lives.

      I also find it highly amusing that separatist groups have joined the protests. They never fail to use every possible opportunity to try to peddle their propaganda. I wonder if any of them remember that our education system (healthcare and transporation also, but that's another story) was nearly destroyed by a PQ government, and Pauline Marois herself was minister of education at the time.
      Here's what the "student" protest looks like now (from the high quality media which is le Journal De Montréal): http://www.canoe.com/sections/medias3/14-mtl-manif-1336447113.jpg


      Un anglo fédéraliste qui veut imposer sa langue ne peut être considéré comme Québécois.

      So ignorant, it's incredible.
      Better be careful, or the big bad english bossman will come teach your kids english while they sleep!

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    3. Yannick,

      Bureau-Bloin said so as a response to Nadeau-Dubois who denounced the agreement even though he signed it. What it means is that Bureau-Bloin does not want to do the same since by signing the agreement it means that he reads and understands the agreement and therefore he will not denounce his own signature.

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    4. Quebec to Canada = Greece to Euro and it is becoming more and more apparent.

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    5. @Troy : Understood.

      Pretty silly of Nadeau-Dubois to do this. Destroys his credibility, and that of his movement. Does he take himself for a revolutionary or something?

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    6. The media certainly fancies him as belonging to the same pedigree as Louise Harel, Marie Malavoy, Jean Doré, and, of course, Pauline herself.

      @Editor: keep digging. I'm sure we'll learn more riveting stuff about our new student saviors as time passes.

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    7. Speaking of Greece - did you guys see how they elected actual Neo-Nazis (the Golden Dawn)? Scary.

      And I mean actual Neo-Nazis, as in people who say that Hitler is an inspiration. Not just vaguely far-right ultra-nationalists that you want to discredit by calling Nazis.

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    8. Let's see... neo nazis and communists in the same assembly?

      Jon Stewart's show last night included one comment I found rather insightful: take two failed extremist doctrines in one single nation's assembly.

      What could possibly be better?

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    9. Apparatchik: @Editor: keep digging. I'm sure we'll learn more riveting stuff about our new student saviors as time passes.

      Read this; Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois et l'Union Communiste Libertaire
      http://bit.ly/IOV0H4
      http://bit.ly/J2SfBf

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