Welcome to Pauline Marois' world.
I want to preface this blog piece by saying that I've lived my entire life in Quebec as an Anglophone, working professionally for almost forty years in a French milieu and have never felt an ounce of bigotry or discrimination, but I do admit that I am not a visible minority.
At any rate I remain a fan and admirer of Quebec society, warts and all.
In fact readers, the very first time I heard a 'racist' comment was on a business trip to Edmonton, when I was just twenty years old and where my host asked me how it felt to be an Anglo in that Goddamned 'FRENCHIE" province.
With all the separatist rhetoric over the years, I never felt in danger or threatened, even with the election of the PQ led by Rene Levesque way back when.
In fact all the leaders of the PQ until now were fairly decent chaps who based their sovereignty aspirations on respect for all citizens and the belief that an independent Quebec would be inclusive.
Yes, that even includes Jacques Parizeau, whose injudicious remarks on that fateful referendum night sealed his fate as a leader.
And let us not forget that he did the honourable thing and resigned.
I know I'll catch a lot of flack for this, but Parizeau was not the racist he is made out to be, his personal life and political record tells a different story and readers, who of us, in a moment of EXTREME disappointment hasn't said something we regret, something that we didn't really believe.
But Pauline Marois is different.
It isn't because she is a woman, it is because she is everything all the previous leaders of the PQ were not.
I can think of many words to describe her, but if I had to choose one, it is this:
Pauline Marois is the nastiest piece of work that ever led a Quebec political party, save Maurice Duplessis.
She is cruel megalomaniac, insensitive, power-hungry and ruthless.
Committed to separatism, she will use any and all means to achieve statehood, even if it means bankrupting Quebecers or destroying any semblance of a functioning society.
And yes, she abhors Anglos and Ethnics with the passion of the zealot class.
Worst of all, she is an idiot, who is out of touch with reality, who lived her entire professional life closeted in a world with like-minded fools.
Marois finds herself in a peculiar position, verging on a majority government carrying only her traditional separatist base, a situation that will allow her to win without giving a hoot or a holler for the two-thirds of Quebecers who will reject her and the PQ on election day.
With this incredible stroke of luck, Marois can play to this separatist minority, no pandering necessary to those other pesky taxpayers that finance this province.
And so Marois is happy to reveal her true self. Her campaign, only two weeks old, is a frightening overture to the horror show that is to come under a PQ government.
What are Madame Marois plans?
First of course, a beefing up of Bill 101, an act of faith which will serve to feed the insatiable appetite of vengeance and hatred of the English, a fundamental characteristic that drives language militants.
After all is said and done, Montreal will remain English and therein lies the rub. Students refused entry to English cegeps will make other arrangements.
What will the government do when they still choose to assimilate into the English community?
With Bill 101 out of the way, Marois has promised a Bill making official state secularism the law of the land.
The devil is in the details and already the PQ is at odds with itself as to how to go forward.
The banning of 'ostentatious' religious articles by public and para-public employees is unclear and obviously ill-thought out.
When asked by a reporter if a small Jewish skullcap is 'ostentatious' a PQ candidate said it was not, only to excuse himself later after having been corrected by the Marois clan.
Apparently, it is now official PQ policy that no matter how small, a kippah is always offensive.
Now there aren't many Sikhs, or orthodox Jews working at the license bureau, in fact I'll venture to say that the only people affected by this assault, will be the few Muslim women who wear hijabs, a headscarf, and who do work at the license bureau and many other government offices. These women are the true target of the law, as they are thoroughly loathed by PQers for wearing an article of faith which in the view of secular militants is an oppressive symbol of male dominance.
But hold on there!
What about a doctor at the Jewish General Hospital, where I have seen a few wear small kippahs.
As para-public employees, whose salary is paid for by the government, will they be included in the ban as well?
It seems a little strange to ban a skullcap in the Jewish General Hospital and I'm sure it will make for great worldwide press. I will let readers speculate as to what sarcastic headline would grace the Drudge Report.
And what about Parliament or city council, I know of one Montreal councillor who does wear a kippah to City Hall.
While the new law will supposedly ban ostentatious religious symbols, it will be silent on cultural symbols and so while a town councillor won't be allowed to enter City Hall wearing a kippah, he would be entitled to wear a Mexican sombrero or a Mickey Mouse hat on top of his head to cover up the affront to Quebec sensibilities.
What about those pesky symbols of Christianity, including the crucifix over the chair of the Speaker of the House of the National Assembly, Quebec's Parliament?
Marois dipsy-doodled around this one rather neatly, telling everyone with a straight face, that the crucifix must stay because it is part of our Quebec heritage!
A PQ candidate, Djemila Benhabib, a Muslim who is fiercly secular, took issue with the leader, saying that although it is PQ policy for the crucifix to stay, she would like to re-visit the issue within caucus.
She too was quickly called to order by Marois and forced to apologize for her remark.
The issue of secularism hit a nerve with the ever controversial and eminently quotable mayor of Saguenay Jean Tremblay, who raged at Ms. Benhabib for attacking Quebec values, calling her a foreigner with an unpronounceable name, the best racist barb of the campaign so far! Link
Asked if he was against the proposed secularism law, the good mayor said that he had no problem with it, because it was only half discriminatory, against the half that isn't Christian!
Well-said Mr. Mayor!
The inherent problem with the law, other than the fact that it cannot survive the most basic constitutional challenge, is that it will set a dangerous undertone of intolerance.
If the Hijad is banned at the licence bureau, how long before problems occur in the workplace or on the street, where secular fanatics will attack the religiously observant.
I myself witnessed an incident in a Canadian Tire store where a female francophone senior citizen berated a cashier for wearing the hated 'symbol of oppression," to the point of making the young girl cry.
I promise you that if this law passes, it will be the most divisive law ever enacted in Quebec.
As for Quebec's debt problem, Marois doesn't see things the same way as most economists, her philosophy seems to be that as long as you can borrow, there is no problem.
In a radio interview, when a reluctant Marois was pushed to describe PQ policy towards the provincial debt, she said that lowering the debt would be impracticable.
In fact, she actually promised that a PQ government would INCREASE THE DEBT! (I'm not making this up) Listen to the interview in French
(By the way, the projected deficit for Quebec set in this year's budget, is two billion dollars.
Two months into this fiscal year and Quebec is ALREADY $1.9 billion in the hole.)
Maybe she should watch this video....
See Quebec's debt grow in real time HERE
As for preparing the ground for sovereignty, Marois has said that she intends on making unreasonable and loud demands on Ottawa, demands that will raise federal/provincial tensions to new levels.
Her twisted logic being, that when Ottawa rejects these unreasonable requests, Quebecers will be insulted and vote for sovereignty.
How is that for a strategy?
We're not even at the halfway point in the election campaign and already we've been seeing la vrai nature de Pauline Marois.
It is a frightening spectre of hate, incompetence and political insanity.
A Pauline Marois PQ government will de-stabilize the province economically and politically.
She has promised to wage war on the English, Ethnics and religiously observant.
She has promised to transfer more wealth from those who earn it to those who consume without a commensurate contribution.
She has committed to drive Quebec further into debt.
Pauline Marois, like Emperor Nero will play the sovereignty fiddle while the province burns to the ground.
And who knows if this slash and burn policy isn't just part of a plan to advance her ultimate dream.
Perhaps she is ready to destroy Quebec society so that sovereignty will become a viable option to a frustrated, downtrodden and desperate people in a province brought to financial and social ruin.
It can happen.