Depending on our age, we have survived various Parti Quebecois governments and separatist premiers starting with René Lévesque through those who came after, Pierre-Marc Johnson, Jacques Parizeau, Lucien Bouchard, and Bernard Landry.
I don't think that I'm talking out of turn in saying that few of us were thrilled with the previous PQ governments and the Premiers that led them, but it seems to me that Pauline Marois, who hasn't even started her turn as Premier, is by far the most
That's my opinion but I daresay that in talking with those around me, it accurately reflects the sentiment of our community.
Our ultimate disdain is certainly not based on the fact that she is a woman, the question of gender is certainly beside the point. While chauvinists would argue that women aren't forceful enough to be leaders, nobody would argue that Pauline hasn't got the intestinal fortitude to lead, she may not be a Margret Thatcher but she certainly is no Elizabeth May.
So what is the difference between Pauline and almost all of her above-mentioned predecessors?
Actually, quite a lot.
"With Jacques Parizeau, it was like an army behind a general, says former PQ minister Louise Beaudoin. René Lévesque was charismatic, emotional and passionate. Lucien Bouchard, was theatrical, it was inspiring. Pauline Marois?While none of these sovereigntist leaders were perfect, far from it, none were particularly 'scary' and none went out of the way to antagonize Anglos, at least not to the extent that Pauline does.
The first and foremost difference between Pauline and them, is the fact that they all were fluent in English, she sounds like she has never heard the language spoken in her life and perhaps she hasn't.
On the rarest of occasions when she offers a short comment in English, she speaks as if she is trying to repeat phonetically something that was prepared for her beforehand. At best, the effort is sadly amusing, at its worst, shockingly embarrassing .
When she speaks English, her handlers stand beside her anxiously, like a mother attending a kindergarten recital, hoping upon hope that little Paulina will not embarrass herself by botching the three lines she has memorized by rote!
One of the basic rules of politics is not to speak in a language where you are handicapped, even if you can manage a few words. Speaking English so poorly, she looks weak and confused, not a particularly good look for someone running a province.
But the real problem relating to her lack of English is not communication, the problem has to do with the optic that unilingualism imposes, which is a complete and utter lack of understanding of another culture.
Her lack of English indicates a narrow and cloistered life and quite honestly, a closed and restricted mind.
While it may be perfectly acceptable for many Quebecers to remain unilingual, their circumstances allow for it, it remains unacceptable for the Premier of Quebec, a province that is surrounded (as we are so often reminded by sovereigntists) by a sea of English.
All that being said, the overwhelming reason we hate Pauline so much is the fact that she went out of the way to antagonize us during the election campaign.
She deliberately beat us up in order to appeal to the hardliners she was trying to win away from the two other more militant sovereigntist parties.
Because of the emergence of a third party, the CAQ, Pauline strategized that she could win the election by appealing to the hardliners, hoping the majority in the middle would split the vote.
It was a cruel, cold and cutthroat move, throwing a whole community under the bus for crass political gain.
During the campaign, she put forward the most ridiculous hardline and repressive policies, none of which could possibly work and most quite illegal, all in an effort to woe away Quebec solidaire and Option Nationale voters.
In the end, her strategy worked... somewhat.
She may have won the election with 32% of the vote, but even her supporters are loath to admit that it was largely a Pyrrhic victory.
Pauline alienated more than she won over and all the election proved is that if the Liberals had anyone else at the helm except Jean Charest, Pauline would have lost the entire election to a Liberal majority and would today find herself pulling the knives out of her back in the finest tradition of the Parti Quebecois.
In assessing Pauline's character, the only tool that I can think of, takes me back to college where I recall studying the code of Roman Personal Virtues, which remains surprisingly useful today;
"These are the qualities of life to which every citizen (and, ideally, everyone else) should aspire. They are the heart of the Via Romana — the Roman Way — and are thought to be those qualities which gave the Roman Republic the moral strength to conquer and civilize the world. Today, they are the rods against which we can measure our own behavior and character, and we can strive to better understand and practice them in our everyday lives." WikipediaHere is a sampling of these virtues and how Pauline stacks up;
'Comitas'..."Humour" Ease of manner, courtesy, openness, and friendliness.
Nobody, not even her closet allies and friends could ever define Pauline as such.
'Clementia'..."Mercy" Mildness and gentleness.
'Dignitas' "Dignity" A sense of self-worth, personal pride.
'Firmitas'..."Tenacity" Strength of mind, the ability to stick to one's purpose.
When it comes to the political issues of the day, Pauline has flipped-flopped more times than a trained seal at Marineland.
In the election campaign, Marois did a 180 degree turn on at least three occasion, after public reaction to her announced policies went south.
'Gravitas'..."Gravity" A sense of the importance of the matter at hand, responsibility and earnestness.
'Honestas' "Respectibility" The image that one presents as a respectable member of society.
'Humanitas'..."Humanity" Refinement, civilization, learning, and being cultured.
'Industria' "Industriousness" Hard work.
I give her this one, she's definitely a keener...
'Pietas' ..."Dutifulness" a respect for the natural order socially, politically, and religiously.
'Prudentia'..."Prudence" Foresight, wisdom, and personal discretion.
Big fat FAIL...
'Severitas'..."Sternness" Gravity, self-control.
'Veritas'...Truthfulness" Honesty in dealing with others.
Big fat FAIL...
Think I was too hard on her?......Please tell me where?
Can somebody please describe her positive attributes. Scouring vigile.net you'd be hard-pressed to find too many articles describing Pauline in a flattering manner, this from militant sovereigntists.
Here is another point that separates her from the other Premiers, who were all stabbed in back by those in the PQ seeking new leadership.
Pauline would actually fall into the category of the backstabber. Remember Gilles Duceppe?
Then there is one last reason to despise her, her husband the utterly detestable Claude Blanchet, who will happily embrace the title of First
With his record, he will somehow turn the unpaid position into a cash cow.
But hold on.
Interestingly, there is another reason we are taking such a hard and aggressive position towards Marois.
Can it be, (shudder!) that the nutbar who tried to kill Pauline actually touched on a truth when he shouted his warning?
"Les Anglais se réveillent!"..."The English are Rising!"
Is nobody in the mainstream Press, the media or the blog community willing to entertain the possibility that what he said might might have some truth to it, or is it too frightening to even contemplate?
Many francophones I've talked expressed a fear that things will escalate and that the warning was serious.
I get a sense that our community is getting close to drawing a line in the sand and we are now subconsciously testing the boundaries.
All these hateful manifestations towards Marois and the PQ, the Facebook messages of hate is nothing compared to the water cooler talk in the office and dinner conversations around the kitchen table in English homes.
I am starting to believe that the English and Ethnic community is ready to push back, taking our cue from the students who showed how easily and effectively it is to descend society into chaos.
While Marois is talking about doubling or tripling the amount of language inspectors, she should be aware of the seriously destructive pushback on the way and like Charest who underestimated the damage the students could inflict, Marois would be best advised to mind her P's and Q's.