Good news for fed­er­al­ists

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

Whilethe Bloc Québé­cois may win more Que­bec seats than it did at the last elec­tion, for the first time in decades, a fed­er­al­ist leader is beat­ing a sovereignist in pop­u­lar­ity in La Belle Prov­ince. Que­bec born Jack Lay­ton, with his pure “ac­cent de pure laine Anglais du Québec”, is Que­bec’s pre­ferred leader in this elec­tion. 48% of us would pre­fer to have a beer with him, way ahead of Gilles Du­ceppe at 20%. He would also be the best hockey coach for our kids and the best neigh­bour.

Now, these sur­veys must be taken with a grain of salt and, while we can hardly dis­pute the data from Léger Mar­ket­ing, they will not trans­late into many votes when the NDP is not even able to field a can­di­date in Sher­brooke as we go to press. It could be un­der­stood if the party had done badly in the last elec­tion, but it was not the case. Tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity Yves Mon­doux had an im­pres­sive show­ing in the last elec­tion.

While we tend to think of the John­son fam­ily in Que­bec as the archetype of a po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty, the Lay­tons are an­other breed. The present NDP leader comes from a long line of politi­cians: all Con­ser­va­tives! His grand-fa­ther was a Du­p­lessis min­is­ter, who must have been in the wrong party as he was propos­ing that women could vote in the 1930’s! Not sur­pris­ingly, he re­signed when Du­p­lessis gave his fa­mous Oc­to­ber 4th 1939 speech with the punch line of: “J’aime mieux que la pop­u­la­tion de Québec soit ad­min­istrée par Québec, pour Québec, que par Ot­tawa, pour Ot­tawa.” (I much pre­fer that the pop­u­la­tion of Que­bec be ad­min­is­tered by Que­bec, for Que­bec, than by Ot­tawa for Ot­tawa.) Du­p­lessis also op­posed con­scrip­tion in the same speech.

His fa­ther was also a Con­ser­va­tive, when it was still the Pro­gres­siveCon­ser­va­tive party, and a min­is­ter in Brian Mul­roney’s gov­ern­ment.

But it’s in Toronto that Jack (will you call a beer buddy by his fam­ily name?) moved and got in­volved in pol­i­tics and, as the Con­ser­va­tives shed the pro­gres­sive from their name, he went to the NDP.

Now, for most Que­beck­ers, the NDP is a sort of pri­vate chapel where for­mer hip­pies’ con­gre­gate singing Sol­i­dar­ity For­ever with the fer­vour once heard in hymn singing at church. Else­where in Canada this is not the case: it’s a real party, with real down-to-earth mem­bers from the work­ing class to small busi­ness own­ers.

But in Que­bec, apart for con­sumer rights ad­vo­cate Phil Ed­mun­ston, a po­lit­i­cal comet that soon faded away, the NDP is a party of one: Thomas Mul­cair, who has passed the test of be­ing re-elected in what was Que­bec’s safest Lib­eral seat: Outremont. He also comes from a po­lit­i­cal fam­ily, hav­ing Honoré Mercier in his fam­ily line. He is also a man of prin­ci­ple, hav­ing re­signed over the Or­ford saga when he was the en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter of Jean Charest. He was up to then one of the most de­spised politi­cians by the sovereignists, but pol­i­tics makes for strange bed­fel­lows and no­body would ar­gue that the Bloc and PQ ma­chines were be­hind his two vic­to­ries. But we are not in Outremont, nor Gatineau or the Sague­nay where they may have a chance of elect­ing a sec­ond or a third Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment. Here we have the usual no­bod­ies run­ning to be fourth in front of the Greens, and this is when the no­body is known.

So the good news for fed­er­al­ists is that one of their own is Que­bec’s (and Canada’s) most pop­u­lar politi­cian. Un­for­tu­nately, this can­not be trans­lated lo­cally into votes that have any mean­ing ex­cept to hurt the Bloc Québé­cois slightly and the Lib­er­als badly.

an il­licit $200,000 do­na­tion to the re­elec­tion cam­paign of Pres­i­dent * +,- mil­lion in no-in­ter­est loans made to Afghan po­lit­i­cal elite.

more than $3 bil­lion in cash was openly flown out of ' / ' top Afghan of­fi­cials. Dear Chair­man Chaf­fetz,

Ear­lier this week the New York Times re­ported that the ' ( ) 0 +,- mil­lion in no in­ter­est loans to Afghan po­lit­i­cal elite. As pre­vi­ously re­ported by the New Yorker, Afghan of­fi­cials have In­ter­na­tional Air­port by top Afghan of­fi­cials and for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Ah­mad Zia Mas­soud’s at­tempted to leave the coun­try with $52 mil­lion in cash.

As Congress at­tempts to get Amer­ica’s fis­cal house in or­der, we should be ques­tion­ing ev­ery U.S. dol­lar spent in sup­port of this cor­rupt gov­ern­ment. I write to urge you to open an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into these re­cent re­ports and con­duct a se­ries of hear­ings to put a spot­light on the waste and mis­use of funds pro­vided by Amer­i­can tax­pay­ers in sup­port of a hope­lessly cor­rupt Afghan gov­ern­ment.

I look for­ward to work­ing with you and Rank­ing Mem­ber Tier­ney on this is­sue. Sin­cerely,

PETER WELCH Mem­ber of Congress

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