A lady that will be missed

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

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.

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