This is likely to be of interest to only the Canadian members of DW, but I would like to hear anyone's thoughts about the upcoming Quebec election and the possibility of another referendum, especially in light of recent setbacks in Scotland's move toward indepenedence.

Won't be a referendum and in the PQ push for a referendum too hard they will lose the election. Scotland's referendum will fail too unless David Cameron totally screws up.

I guess I have to say something...

Right now, the elections are boring the heck out of me. I usually am pretty interested in them, but this was the first time I couldn't manage to watch through the entire official debate.

There's the CAQ party (Coalition Avenir Québec) with their single-track, right-wing rhetorics, i.e., reduce taxes and the government "bureaucracy" is to blaim for everything in all areas.

There's the PLQ party (Parti Libéral du Québec) with a complete lack of any kind of original thought, it seems they just want to sit on the throne and collect their brown envelopes from the Montreal mafia families.

Then, there's the PQ party (Parti Québécois) that tries to look sort of progressive but with no real substance, their strategy has always been to throw a bone here and there to appear to care about X or Y issues, and can't shut up about the charter or the referendum.

And finally, there's the QS party (Québec Solidaire) that is truly progressive, with lots of good ideas and a comprehensive plan. But they can't get elected, and probably won't win seats beyond a few "hip" boroughs in Montreal.

It's just a really boring campaign overall because the party with substance (QS) doesn't get coverage, the CAQ party gets lots of coverage because they have no substance but have good sound-bites that they repeat over and over again (and it's getting really old), and the main parties are just being their good old boring selves.

There's a good chance that the PQ will end up with a majority government, but it could be yet another minority government. To me, the victory would be to see the CAQ party go down (from the current 18 reps) and the QS rising (from the current 2 reps). I'm just sick and tired of this ultra-right-wing crap from the CAQ (previously, ADQ) party. The worse thing is, they'll probably win in my home county.

Oh, and the other weird thing is the arrival of Pierre-Karl Péladeau into the race. He is a huge figure here, because he owns something like 40% of all media, including the main cable company. It's weird, there's definitely a huge risk of conflicts of interests, and that remains as a open question what he can really do about this (he is never going to sell that company, but he can't really own it while being a minister.. it's weird).

the possibility of another referendum

I don't think there is much possibility for another referendum in some time. Even if the PQ wins a majority, I don't think they'll go for a referendum in the next mandate (4 years). They might do some exploratory committees on sovereignty and stuff like that for a while. My guess is that if all goes their way, they'll make the next election about the referendum. I'd vote yes... but don't worry RJ, we'll still be friends ;)

we'll still be friends ;)

I'd expect nothing less ;-) The reason I started the thread was to get some insight about the situation that wasn't being filtered through the media. You never disappoint.

Also, one of the real problems here is that there is no progressive representation for federalists. I know a lot of anglophones in Montreal who are very progressive, but would never vote for a separatist party. So, the farthest they can go to the left of the political spectrum is the liberal party, which is center-right (and I'm being gentle here). There is no NDP-like party in the provincial scale. This skews the results in majority anglophone areas in favor of the PLQ, and make it seem like all anglophones are very conservative, when in reality, they're not.

They just don't have a viable alternative. To get a tad off topic, here in Manitoba we have the PCs, and the last time they were in power they sold off a crown corporation (after promising during the election that they wouldn't) and the NDP (currently in power) who go from one fiasco (illegally raising the PST) to another (illegally awarding a helicopter medivac contract). A medivac in BC or Alberta costs approximately $8000. Thanks to the new contract, here in Manitoba the cost is $49000.

I am concerned about Peladeau in Quebec running for election. Way too much influence and exposure.

I have stopped paying attention. Everybody else should too. They are like whiny babies: as long as they are getting attention, they keep whining. As soon as they are ignored, they shut up.

It is the same rhetoric as always. And Quebec's reasons for grievances are getting lamer all the time. The fact is, Quebec already has many powers of a sovereign country. They manage their own immigration policy, QPP, schools, roads, etc. If things are going wrong, they have only themselve to blame.

I think the only benefit separation would serve--for the provincial government, not the people--would be that they would no longer have another level of government to run interference for the people. Based on what I have seen so far, the direction the provincial government wants to take is toward more taxes, more bureaucracy, more Big Brother, etc. Without somebody else around to tell them "No", I think the provincial government would be free to run right over people and crush them under a slew of legislative administrivia.

I am a firm believer that people (i.e. - individuals) are better off when there is a little bit of conflict between governments, when power is distributed instead of being concentrated, and no level of government has much of it in the first place. When people end up under one, big government, and all the powers that be speak with one voice, that is when they are screwed. Who can you turn to then? But that is exactly what the provincial government wants for Quebec; they want to be that one big government.

That's my two cents.

They are like whiny babies

I've learned from discussions with Mike that they are not, in fact, whiny babies. Don't confuse what the English media allows you to see, with reality. History is written by the side that wins. What you and I were taught about Quebec is most definitely slanted. Compare what most Americans (and Canadians, for that matter) were taught about North American history with Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.

Here in Manitoba we have had grievances such as when contracts were awarded to Quebec companies when Manitoba companies had a lower bid and were equally qualified. I don't fault Quebec for that. I blame Mulroney who awarded the contract for political reasons. He was buying support.

Here in Manitoba we have had grievances such as when contracts were awarded to Quebec companies when Manitoba companies had a lower bid and were equally qualified.

True. That was for the CF-18 maintenance contract, wasn't it?
But no other province constantly threatens the rest of the country with separation.

My mother's side of the family is French-Canadian; they moved from Quebec to BC three generations ago. I am probably related to half the people in my Vancouver suburb. In fact, my community recently had its annual "Festival du Bois": http://www.festivaldubois.ca/

Yet whenever people around here (family, friends, etc.) get talking about what goes on in Quebec, they can't figure out what is going on in the heads of Quebec politicians. Apparently it is not a racial or cultural attribute; it is a purely political ploy that makes everybody scratch their heads.

But no other province constantly threatens the rest of the country with separation.

No other major province was conquered.
No other province was forced to be part of Canada.
No other province has an empty underline where a signature should be on the constitution.
No other province has had repeated military actions against its people by the federation.
No other province has suffered segregation for the better part of its history, based on language and religion.

And you complain that we threaten to separate... I must ask, who's the whiny baby?

My mother's side of the family is French-Canadian; they moved from Quebec to BC three generations ago.

Ever wondered why they moved away? Three generations ago, living in Quebec as a French-canadian wasn't exactly all roses and peaches. You were essentially condemned to be poor, shackled by the catholic church and the English political and business classes. Even if you spoke good English, with an accent, the only way you could hope to move up in the world was to move as far away from Quebec and its segregated class system.

In fact, my community recently had its annual "Festival du Bois": http://www.festivaldubois.ca/

Sounded like a cool event! (I love the bottine souriante guy, Yves Lambert)

The one thing that struck me as a bit odd was this "Dîner en Plaid". Why did they choose to translate only half of the sentence in French? They could have gone with "Plaid shirt diner" or with "Dîner en flanelle"... or did they just use the wikipedia translation without knowing that plaid is not a French word (well, not in common use for centuries anyways) (the common term for "plaid shirt" is just "flanelle").

they can't figure out what is going on in the heads of Quebec politicians.

I don't think anybody can... these people are crazy. A bunch of buffoons, the whole lot of them (from all sides).

Apparently it is not a racial or cultural attribute;

What?!?! What did you think? That separatism was some kind of genetic disorder?

it is a purely political ploy that makes everybody scratch their heads.

If you think it's purely a political ploy, then no wonder you scratch your head. The reality is that the sovereignist sentiment is very deeply rooted in the people's culture, history, folklore, language, and hearts. It has been used and abused by politicians, but that's exactly because it's so deeply rooted that you'd expect parties to try to lay their foundations on that kind of bedrock.

Just think about it. All our history (of Qc) is made up of three main things: "Nouvelle France", "fighting the English, again, and again, and again", and "people with foreign names signing papers in our name". When you realize that, it smacks you in the face so hard you never recover. Most of our common words (in Québécois) that we use in employee / boss relations are English words or derived from it (e.g., "boss", "foreman", "déguédine" (dig it in), etc..), it's an everyday reminder of that past. When my grand-father was chopping wood and my grand-mother was begging for charity to feed her children, my English-montrealer friends' grand-father was running a factory. When I arrived in Montreal after a couple years in Europe, the first person I meet, the customs officer, and I joyfully can finally say "Bonjour" to someone, and I get "Hi! Where are you arriving from?" as a reply. You hear the praises of Mordecai Richler; the only author to ever bring me to the brink of vomiting while reading his overt hatred and contempt for French-Canadians.

These things sting you everyday, and they dig themselves in deep. I'm not complaining or asking for anything, well, anything other than understanding.

Anglophone media likes to minimize the extent of that sentiment and dismiss the whole thing as a ploy by a few nationalistic politicians. But that is completely missing the point, and it's destructive. It encourages English-Canadians to have exactly the attitude you have: "Can't they just shut up already!" This kind of attitude just further polarizes a people divided.

I guess the PQ learned a hard lesson about trying to push a referendum on people who quite obviously are not interested.

best way to hold a referendum. Make sure nobody goes and votes, then claim you can ignore the outcome because no representative percentage of the electorate showed an interest.
You've still shown "you're engaging the voters by allowing them to voice their opinion" and can now use that as munitions in the next election cycle.

That's where EU governments went sorely wrong when deciding on the "EU constitution".
They'd thought the voters would stay home and they'd then just put it into effect and when the complaints started point to the invalidated referenda about it.
Instead the voters were highly interested and overwhelmingly rejected it. Now they had to jump through hoops to find excuses to ignore the voters and pass the thing into law anyway, leading several countries to come up with "the people didn't understand properly what they were voting against so the outcome should be ingnored" (I kid thee not).