Skip to main content

electile dysfunction

i'm peculiarly proud of myself for voting in the quebec provincial election today. perhaps it's that sense of self-sacrifice, that i went out and walked the ten minutes in freezing cold weather to mark my little "x" in the full knowledge that it wouldn't count for anything. only canadians seem to be able to take pride in doing things that are pointless and painful out of a sense of responsibility. that said, with recent voter turnouts, it's becoming obvious that most canadians are hopping off that train in record numbers.

i can't really say as i would blame people who opted out of this contest. after all, we're in the midst of a flash freeze that unexpectedly dropped the temperature from around freezing to minus double digits in the space of twelve hours. who really wants to head into that?

then, of course, there's the issue of the actual parties and their positions, which always makes engaging in quebec politics rather like hugging a porcupine. sure, it's cute from a distance.

leaving aside the free-falling flash-in-the-pan action democratique, there are in this election and every election, two parties who are competing for the votes of quebeckers. you can find their public platforms on a variety of issues on the linked web sites (although i have to say that as i'm typing this, the liberal web site isn't working) but there is one important thing that every student of quebec politics should understand that you won't find mentioned therein: neither of those parties wants to separate quebec from the rest of canada.

this is sort of a difficult proposition to wrap your head around, since separation (or sovereignty, if you prefer) is a key part of the platform of the parti quebecois. nonetheless, it is true. after all, quebec has a pretty good deal going with the national system of equalization payments, receiving more money than it could hope to generate on its own by virtue of the fact that it remains, however sullenly, within the national federation of canada. and, in truth, no provincial party has done more with their equalization money. university tuition in quebec is significantly lower than in other parts of the country, owing to a decision that kept fees capped for over a decade. quebec also used public funds to start its own $5 a day day care program under the pq watch in 1997. so no one can argue that the separatist party doesn't enjoy and employ the benefits of remaining in canada. the fact is that any serious separatist party would be taking every step to cut back the province's expenses and to wean it without delay from its dependence on money from the federal coffers. after all, we each learn when we make that first move away from home: as long as your parents are still paying the bills, you're a long way from being truly independent. (if you want to see people who really do want quebec to separate, trying looking at people in every other province in canada. a lot of them look like the proverbial rich guy realising he should have had his wife sign a pre-nup. he desperately wants her gone, because she's making him crazy every time she talks, but he knows that leaving her himself is going to be way too expensive.)

no one can say that the liberals, the erstwhile voice of federalism within quebec, don't take full advantage of its image as st. george holding back the separatist dragon, armed only with huge bags of money from ottawa. and that propaganda is hugely successful. make no mistake, the liberal party of quebec will garner many thousands of votes today from people who either do not agree with or do not know the party's stand on issues of direct importance to the lives of citizens, simply because those people believe that if they do not vote liberal, the province is headed for sovereignty and doom.

and maybe those people have the right idea. after all, if you're going to choose between two parties who don't really want to separate quebec from canada, you might as well give your vote to the one that comes right out and says it. ah, but there in the fluffy angel cake of political compromise lies the razor blade of reality. the fact that every provincial election in quebec must be fought with the question of sovereignty lurking beneath the surface means that there isn't ever an election about anything else. no one ever gets to think about all the other issues that provincial governments are supposed to be dealing with, because each vote comes down to weather you want to give your support to a party that says it wants to separate or a party that says it doesn't.

i'm willing to bet that there are a lot of quebec residents who'd be willing to trade some of those equalization dollars to get some real political debate and representation.

Comments

Part of the reason for the low turnout (besides the cold) is that the whole idea is a power grab by the liberals as they pull ahead in the polls... how remarkably similar to what the conservatives attempted on the federal level. The only consolation is that this very well may be the ADQ's last election... with any luck that is.
flora_mundi said…
well, sadly, i don't know if much is going to stop charest in this case... quebec lacks an internal quebec to throw a wrench in the works...
Kiefer and Emo said…
We've always sort of rooted for an independent Quebec. I liked the flag. Well that's not very practical. Oh I know that. So why did I say it? Well... it IS a pretty cool flag. I agree, but that's hardly a reason to become an independent state. Well maybe they'd have a Club Med in Quebec. Drinks with little umbrellas in the snow? No really, Quebec city is really pretty. Well I suppose that's a good enough reason.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

dj kali & mr. dna @ casa del popolo post-punk night

last night was a blast! a big thank you to dj tyg for letting us guest star on her monthly night, because we had a great time. my set was a little more reminiscent of the sets that i used to do at katacombes [i.e., less prone to strange meanderings than what you normally hear at the caustic lounge]. i actually invited someone to the night with the promise "don't worry, it'll be normal". which also gives you an idea of what to expect at the caustic lounge. behold my marketing genius.

mr. dna started off putting the "punk" into the night [which i think technically means i was responsible for the post, which doesn't sound quite so exciting]. i'd say that he definitely had the edge in the bouncy energy department.

many thanks to those who stopped in throughout the night to share in the tunes, the booze and the remarkably tasty nachos and a special thank you to the ska boss who stuck it out until the end of the night and gave our weary bones a ride home…

mental health mondays :: the plane truth

here we go again. it's sad enough to hear that nearly a hundred and fifty people died at the hands of an individual unwisely entrusted with a a potential missile, but now we get to observe the media circling and waiting for confirmation that the man who may have murdered them had a mental illness. and what a grotesque spectacle it is, because it basically consists of nothing but ominous insinuations that this co-pilot was depressed and so he flew a plane into a mountain, without trying to provide any larger context about the disorder or the millions of people who suffer from it.

to be clear, i don't have a problem with his apparent record of depression being brought up as a possible explanation for what happened. it's possible that there is a link. but smashing a plane full of innocent people into a mountain is not the act of someone who is merely depressed. there is a whole other level of illness going on there and, with the information we have thus far, it seems disturbi…

eat the cup 2018, part seven :: oh, lionheart

it all seemed so magical: england's fresh-faced youngsters marching all the way through to a semi-final for the first time since 1990. everywhere, the delirious chants of "it's coming home". and then, deep into added time, the sad realization: it's not coming home. oh england, my lionheart.

now, if we're being really strict about things, my scottish ancestors would probably disown me for supporting England, because those are the bastards who drove them off their land and sent them packing to this country that's too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. and indeed, shops in scotland have sold through their entire stock of croatian jerseys, as the natives rallied behind england's opponents in the semi-final. however, a few generations before they were starved and hounded from the lands they'd occupied for centuries, my particular brand of scottish ancestors would have encouraged me to support england [assuming that national football had even…