March 28, 2007


Quebecers no longer have to take it or leave it (William Johnson, March 27, 2007, Ottawa Citizen)

What an upset. No, a volcano. The first minority government since 1878. Mario Dumont's party, the Action Democratique du Quebec, surging beyond anything that was expected. The Parti Quebecois under Andre Boisclair falling back to an unimaginable third place. This campaign has changed the political landscape of Quebec. It broke the three-decades-long polarization between secessionist Parti Quebecois and federalist Quebec Liberal Party. [...]

Several factors contributed. Stephen Harper's offer of a new "open nationalism" and his Quebec breakthrough in the 2006 elections ended a long deadlock. He displaced the federal Liberals, courted Quebec and Charest shamelessly, and rehabilitated federalism for Quebecers. Some nationalists now look to Charest to deliver tangible "gains" for Quebec, such as reversing federal intrusions into Quebec's jurisdictions, recognizing the Quebecois nation, settling the fiscal imbalance to Quebec's advantage, and promising to restrict federal spending power. It also happened that Boisclair's personality provoked resentment outside Montreal's cosmopolitan circles. The more conservative were disturbed by a prospective premier who was an avowed homosexual, had taken cocaine while a cabinet minister, whose former chief of staff Luc Doray pleaded guilty in 2001of defrauding the government to pay for purchases of alcohol and cocaine, who appeared in a gay parody of Brokeback Mountain and who advocated removing the crucifix from the National Assembly.

The very epitome of the city slicker, Boisclair's decline in the polls coincided with a grassroots revolt against cosmopolitan Montreal and "reasonable accommodations," exemplified when Herouxville adopted a municipal code against stoning women and veiling faces except at Halloween.

While Charest and Boisclair initially deprecated this nativist movement, Dumont defended it as "a cry from the heart" in defence of Quebec's identity and values. He scored with an unexpected new category of nationalists.

Dumont tapped into a conservative nationalism earlier associated with Maurice Duplessis's Union Nationale and Real Caouette's Ralliement Creditiste. He positioned his party as the alternative to federalism and separatism, ending the deadlock between Liberals and Pequistes by taking a third way called "autonomism."

His slogan: "To assert ourselves without separating." Quebec should develop its own constitution, take control of all income taxes, create a Quebec citizenship. He denounced Charest for putting off constitutional reform and Boisclair for weakening Quebec by holding another losing referendum. He repudiates the Council of the Federation because it brings Quebec down to the level of other provinces. He would negotiate "d'egal a egal" with the rest of Canada, dealing as an equal nation with the other nation of Canada. Shades of Daniel Johnson Sr. [...]

Dumont's issues, once derided, became so popular during the campaign that the new Quebec government will have to consider them seriously. They include $100 a week for each child under six not in subsidized daycare; $5,000 for a third or subsequent child; a greater role for private medicine to ensure timely treatment, and putting 25,000 people on welfare back to work.

When you recognize them as a nation they're inevitably going to start acting like one.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 28, 2007 6:30 AM

"They include $100 a week for each child under six not in subsidized daycare; $5,000 for a third or subsequent child..."

Conservatives are about "Affordable Family Formation" as Steve Sailer coined it. Our leaders seem to have forgotten this. Here's hoping Fred Thompson gets the message!

Mom of four who is almost done, after 13 months, paying thousands, despite insurance, for birth of the last baby. This transfer of wealth has gone to trial lawyers. In return, she received a more complicated and dangerous birth for her husband's hard, and honestly, earned money.

Posted by: Emily at March 28, 2007 10:06 AM