Finally we have seen some signs of life in this Quebec election campaign ; A fiery debate largely over health care and immigration. 

And one of  Philippe Coulliard’s last chances  to convince Quebecers to give the Liberals another shot.

Identity Politics

The CAQ’s path to victory is through identity. Dog whistle politics tapping into a fearful base , insecure about language and culture .

The Caquistes want lower levels of immigration although many economists argue we need higher levels.   In fact Quebec already has a labour shortage.

And the would try to expel newcomers who fail to learn French in 3 years.   Its a despicable idea.  Maybe someone should remind Legault that expelling people is not in the jurisdiction of a provincial premier.

And in the debate,  the gloves came off.  Perhaps the line of the night from the premier to Legault .  “You scare people.”

Legault was on the attack all evening. And often seemed a tad too angry. Couillard obviously had much to defend but his responses were mostly  measured.  

What was so refreshing is that for the first time in memory, they weren’t debating separation or Quebec’s place in Canada.  

Cash Flow

The promises are totally mind boggling.

The Journal de Montreal has costed out 3 weeks of promises at more than 45 billion dollars.

The Solidaires lead the pack of course at 25 billion dollars  alone.   They can promise sunshine all year round and chickens in every pot because at best they will elect only a handful of deputies.   

I do like the Liberals idea of free public transit for seniors and students .  And slashing hospital parking rates which have long bordered on criminal. 

But why now?   What took so long?  Or are these pledges the result of desperation.?  

Council Critique

Francois Legault is right about one thing when he says are too many elected officials in Montreal.

We are indeed over governed.

Down the 401, Premier Doug Ford unilaterally reduced the number of Toronto councillors for vindictive political reasons and then misused the nothwithstanding clause to get by a court ruling. 

That’s obviously not the way to go.  And as English speaking Quebecers know, the use of the odious notwithstanding clause is a painful memory.

But really we have a council larger than New York City.  

Montreal has 64 councillors plus the mayor.  Then there are an extra 38 borough councillors 

New York has  51 councillors for a city of 8.5 million.

Overtaxed and over governed.  A municipal government that is the bastard child of politically motivated and messed up mergers and de-mergers.

It’s time to take another look.   Bigger is not always better.

In Plain English

Somehow the stars and planets aligned to convince the leaders to participate in an English debate.  It is unprecedented.  And of course the language hawks are apoplectic in their dismay.  A sign of the decline of French in Quebec.  That’s just bull. French has never been stronger.

It takes place this coming Monday September at 5:30 and it will air on all of Montreal’s English TV stations.

Some might say it’s just lip service.

I say it’s important.  Important because it legitimizes our community which so often has been taken for granted.

Important because even if nothing changes.   For once, they will all be listening.   And I hope you will too.