Politics is often thankless business. But you know that going in.
You don’t get merit badges or milk and cookies when things get rough.
Public service can be a blood sport.
His Head Held High
And Phillippe Couillard has left Quebec a better place.
For him it was never about ego or pride. Like everyone he made mistakes, but at the end of the day, we should offer our thanks for his stewardship.
Quebec’s economy is the best in the country and we are not only enjoying a period of prosperity, we have social peace.
Couillard was never ashamed to show his love for Canada and its possibilities.
It is something rare in a Quebec premier. Too often they look at the federation with disdain or as balance sheet. Dr Phil was different. He will be missed both inside and outside of Quebec.
And putting cynicism aside, he did eventually move to strengthen the position English Speaking community.
His parting plea for inclusivity in Quebec was heartfelt. As he said, the majority does not hold all the rights. Merci, Monsieur Premier Ministre.
Ballot Box Apathy
It is sometimes said we get the government we deserve. Its a little disheartening to see that 1 in 3 Quebecers didn’t bother to vote on Monday. A turnout rate of only 66%.
In many of the so-called Anglo ridings the rate was disgraceful.
In D’Arcy McGee 46%
Westmount-St Louis 48%
Robert Baldwin 55%
And NDG 56%
With sovereignty off the ballot, it seems there was little motivation for some to exercise their democratic franchise.
Montreal’s Voice ?
I fear Montreal will not be well served by the new CAQ regime. We are a diverse city. And forget about better public transit, La Presse found that more CAQ voters drive their cars to work than other Quebecers.
Let’s face it, Legault was elected by suburban and rural francophones. And my guess is that his stand on immigration actually helped him.
The collapse of the PQ vote pushed CAQ over the top.
Seems a little odd to me that erstwhile social democratic Pequistes would suddenly flock to the right wing CAQ. But it wasn’t about the economy.
Identity Won The Day
It was about culture and language. The CAQ played the identity card and played it to victory.
It was so telling that the first order of business for the new premier would be to ban religious symbols in public positions of authority including teachers. And Legault would override the constitution to do so.
My question is that if they are so concerned with secularism, what about that crucifix hanging in the Blue Room of the National Assembly.
In French they say deux poids, deux mesures. In English, double standard.
The good news here is that separation seems to be a spent force. The PQ appearing very much to be a generational party.
The Liberals will lick their wounds and surely will return to power one day.
But it is time to move on. The CAQ won fair and square. And perhaps they will provide some sound governance in some areas.
Preserving Our Institutions
In the meantime, there will be battles to be fought:
The incoming premier pledges to abolish English school boards and replace them with “service centres”. He will have one hell of a fight on his hands.
That’s a promise.
Legault says Quebec will be a different place in 4 years.
That’s what I fear.