A lady that will be missed
It’s not a huge secret that Saint-françois MNA, Monique Gagnon-tremblay, would prefer not to run in the next general election, but the reality of survey after survey showing that the Liberals will be soundly defeated in the next election is not bringing forward quality candidates to the Charest led formation.
So the people of Saint-françois may be stuck, by default, with one of Quebec’s best politicians and civil servants, a long lost concept in today’s politics.
Mrs. Gagnon-tremblay deserves a well-earned retirement from politics; we deserve more men and women who share her qualities. First of all, of being committed to the well-being of Quebec rather than her party. Not that she is not partisan, but she is in a balanced way, not only privately but also publicly. While most politicians are balanced in their views and opinions, there are a few exceptions in all Parliaments in Canada, most, the moment that a reporter’s notebook, better still a microphone, don’t mention a camera, comes out, get into their Mr. Hyde mode, blasting anyone from any other party as unworthy of living on their planet.
One only has to look at a photograph in last week’s dailies, showing Mr. Charest and Mrs. Marois, rubbing shoulders and laughing together, to understand what we mean.
Mrs. Gagnon-tremblay can be curt; we haven’t heard anyone calling her nasty. As a matter of fact, she, along with a lot of but not all elected officials, considers herself as representing all her electors regardless of their vote. She is also quick to point out, as she did last Monday when questioned by the Stanstead Journal, to admit that what ails us is more often than not the fault of all governments in Quebec, not only the previous one, the PQ, but hers also. If there was a school for provincial and federal aspiring politicians, after all, there is one for municipal ones, she would be the perfect headmaster.
For political reasons, Mr. Charest was forced, when he was in a minority, to have an equal number of men and women in his cabinet. While the initiative has not been maintained perfectly, Quebec can boast about having one of the world’s largest proportions of women in power. In a way, for all his failings and imperfections, read or watch the news to get an idea if you don’t have one yet, this achievement will be his best legacy.
We should remember that there are still women alive who didn’t have the right to vote when they turned major. It took a Liberal government to do so. It took courage, you can imagine, for the same party in the 1960’s to let a woman be elected in a safe riding and be named to the cabinet later. And Robert Bourassa named the first woman vice-premier; a tradition since maintained by almost all governments.
Quebec women politicians from all stripes have helped us define what is modern Quebec in a way that is hardly believable elsewhere in Canada. When the French edition of Chatelaine had a cover of the women of Quebec politics a couple of years back, all parties confounded, we were asked questions about this seemingly impossible event by the rest of Canada. Madame Gagnon-tremblay was on it, naturally. We hope that she finds, in the next couple of weeks, the time to really ponder her future.