TORONTO - In an election campaign about tactics, personal sniping and mud-slinging, it would eventually come down to how Francophone Quebecers would vote. That’s what tonight’s debate is about. It comes down to what their view of Canada is and how they fit into the “Canadian dream”.
Are you offended yet? In virtually every election since the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, the province has voted either with the majority party or wielded the balance of power by voting with one particular “third party”: Creditiste, Bloc, NDP and now edging towards the Bloc again.
It happens whenever there is no clear winner in sight in the rest of Canada. Monday night’s Disneyland-type debate resulted in one distinct outcome: the Bloc is the only party that speaks to Quebec and for Quebec.
For good measure, its Leader repeated it loud and clear – in English – so that there would be no confusion. Pipelines, Energy Corridors, Infrastructure Programs, Trade Agreements, Immigration, Diversity issues (including the catch-all phrase, human rights), will go absolutely nowhere without the consent of the Prime Minister of Quebec.
That is the message delivered to Anglophone and Allophone Canadians in Monday’s debate.
Allophones comprise 7.7 million Canadians according to Statscan (2017). Scheer’s inability (not for lack of trying) to land a knockout punch, and Trudeau’s “rope-a-dope” style in the debate must have left Francophone Quebecers (les Quebecois de souche – les purelaines) wondering if they were abandoning the stage to “fringe players” like the May, Singh or even Bernier to determine who would be Prime Minister of Canada and how he would govern.
A potentially “weakened” Canadian government, necessarily demands a strong provincial [Quebec] government. That was the message Bloc leader, Yves-Francois Blanchet, delivered. Scheer attacked on issues of Liberal ethics and corruption, Blanchet complained that 3,400 innocent Quebec families were being victimized by Anglo zeal to punish a Quebec company – SNC Lavalin.
Bingo! Why bother with petty details like the fact that SNC Lavalin has a pattern of behaviour that relies on bribery, corruption and fraud worldwide where it has a workforce numbering over 50,000; or that the Government of Quebec has a 19.5% ownership and looking for more?
When Trudeau’s defense of his government’s record on Diversity (LGBTQ), Minority rights, Immigration and a Woman’s right to choose, Blanchet saw interference in Quebec aairs and infringement on Provincial rights. His Prime Minister – Francois Legault – has already introduced the line in the sand in the form of [the secularization] Bill 21.
None of the candidate dared suggest the invocation of a Notwithstanding clause. So none of them are serious on the matter of protecting minority and religious rights. Not even Jagmeet Singh who wears his religious retinue as a sign of faith.
He is also, for Blanchet and other Quebecois de souche, the embodiment of all that is wrong with Immigration: they are obviously not like us! Besides, Legault has already made it clear that immigrants are welcome … if they bring money and if they pass a language proficiency test before entering and five years after settlement.
As for the other big non-issue re women’s right to choose and abortion, Blanchet’s interpretation is that it nothing to do with Quebec – that issue was decided long ago for the province. The facts bear him out.
Statscan, for 2017, reports that of the 466,321 recorded pregnancies, 376,291 resulted in live births (only 88,900 in Quebec), 90,030 in abortions (according to the Abortion Rights Canada).
That means 19.3% of all pregnancies end in abortions; do women have the right to choose? Quebec does not even report its statistics. The live births were oset by 290,000 deaths for a net gain of only 99,602 Canadians to sustain our economy and way of life.
The fertility rate for women of child bearing age in 2017 in Quebec was 1.59, well below the replacement rate of 2.1 and at that, it is dependent on the comparatively high fertility rate of immigrant women.
Quebecers are taking note of their own gradual decline. Which candidate will speak to that in the Quebec debate?