Thursday, March 18, 2010

Quick Word about Québec

If you think we have a crappy federal government with no good alternatives, look at Québec and rejoice!

The Charest government has been refusing to hold a public inquiry on the corrupt construction sector, whose firms and unions have infiltrated virtually all spheres of public decision-making, or so it seems. Meanwhile, the healthcare system is once again in crisis - almost 7 years after the Québec Liberals were elected to fix it, and, much like in Ottawa, there is no credible plan to erase the deficit. The federal Tories might be just as limp and complacent (and much more gimmicky and juvenile), but at least they don't face any crisis nearly as important as the healthcare or construction ones in Québec.

The PQ is rightfully demanding a public inquiry on the construction sector. But the supposedly substantive things it has been doing are rather ridiculous:
- reviving a debate about the display of religious symbols by public employees to take the populist islamophobic vote away from the dying ADQ (that's surely Québec's biggest problem now!);
- saying right-wing (for Québec) sounding things (e.g. the PQ will now focus on wealth creation through the individual) while proposing the same old big government programs.
The federal Liberals might not have a concrete plan for a liberal Canada, but the PQ, after deciding that it will not ask for a referendum for the foreseeable future, doesn't even know what kind of Québec it wants; as a result, the PQ is trying to be a populist progressive individualist socialist party.

So in Ottawa, we have a vaguely centre-right party and a vaguely centre-left party. Neither of them has a crisp plan, but you can kind of see the direction in which the country would move - at an excruciatingly slow pace - under either of them. In Quebec City, it's worse: literally a party that stands for nothing versus a party that stands for everything - a choice between complete paralysis and a random direction.

Still, 99% of Quebecers (and I include myself in the bunch) are perfectly happy now, due to the Habs' 6-game winning streak!

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