Off, off, and away (If we could only hope)

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

Along­time ago, you could watch horse races in two lo­ca­tions in Montreal: the main event be­ing at Blue Bon­nets and the lower one at the de­funct Riche­lieu race­track, way, way back East, dur­ing the sum­mer.

We’ll ad­mit that as a non-bet­ter, the sum­mer heat at Riche­lieu pro­vided a bet­ter show than at Blue Bon­nets. At Riche­lieu you were ei­ther on your last legs or try­ing to prove your­self, as in this sum­mer elec­tion where two old war­riors, Jean Charest of the Lib­er­als was ad­mit­ted to the Bar the year that Péquiste Pauline Marois was first elected, are run­ning against a re­cy­cled horse, for­mer PQ min­is­ter François Le­gault with the re­branded ADQ of Mario Du­mont, now re­named Coali­tion Avenir Québec, l’équipe François Le­gault is the fa­vorite to be in the win­ner’s circle, add Québec Sol­idaire who must crack the “We are so mar­ginal that we can never be elected” start­ing gate po­si­tion and dark horse Op­tion Na­tionale Jean-Marie Aus­sant who seems to have the back­ing of the Parizeau clan, as of yes­ter­day.

As there are fif­teen other au­tho­rized par­ties, we can ex­pect that in some rid­ings we will have ac­cor­dion folded bal­lots. The price of democ­racy we must as­sume. Miss­ing will be the Com­mu­nist Party of Quebec. They could not muster the one hun­dred (as in 100) names nec­es­sary to be rec­og­nized this year. But then they may or may not be au­to­mat­i­cally mem­bers of Quebec Sol­idaire.

As elec­tions go, this one is a strange one. It’s the end re­sult of the Sher­brooke M.N.A.’s stub­born­ness in re­fus­ing to face head on the al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion that have been in the air for the last two years. He now faces the real start of the Char­bon­neau in­quiry on cor­rup­tion, in mid-Septem­ber, and it doesn’t seem that it will be kind to the Lib­eral Party.

The in­quiry won’t hurt the Premier, or the other Lib­eral M.N.A.’s, apart from one bad ap­ple, they are as clean as can be. But the bad ap­ple case, Tony Tomassi to name him, left a sour taste in the mouth of the pub­lic. Rather than act­ing spit­ting fast, Premier Charest waited a bit… Those wait­ing bits are now haunt­ing him. Not count­ing the side shows, all le­gal: The $75,000 a year ‘salary’ from the Lib­eral Party, the still murky deal on the rental of his sum­mer cottage in North Hat­ley, it seems as if, rather than try­ing to look hon­est, as he is, he would try any­thing to look like a crook. And, let’s be hon­est, for all of their try­ing, the op­po­si­tion and the me­dia have never been able to prove that he is one. Still, it lingers. And it seems to stick. Help­ing the so called new­comer François Le­gault was the shock­wave of re­cruit­ing Jac­ques Duch­es­neau, the first star wit­ness of the Char­bon­neau in­quiry, who ad­mit­ted that the fi­nal straw for his jump­ing on board the CAQ was Mr. Charest’s boast that he was giv­ing him­self an 8 out of 10 note. Mod­esty in this case would have been golden.

So, the re­sult is that, in Sher­brooke, his own rid­ing, he is los­ing badly to the Parti Québé­cois and that, prov­ince-wide, the Lib­er­als are trail­ing badly in all ‘fran­co­phone’ rid­ings; a very steep hill to climb to vic­tory.

Madame Marois, I find it ironic that you have cho­sen the slo­gan “À nous de choisir” for your elec­tion cam­paign while in­ter­fer­ing with the rights of students to de­cide their lan­guage of CEGEP in­struc­tion them­selves. I am a fran­co­phone, I be­lieve in the im­por­tance of pre­serv­ing our lan­guage and work­ing for its ad­vance­ment. This said, I be­lieve be­ing forced to co­coon our­selves is the wrong path. We need to pro­mote the French cul­ture, not for­bid our young peo­ple to ex­plore other lan­guages and cul­tures. I am not the only one to think this way; your own can­di­date Léo Bureau Blouin, has spo­ken against this mea­sure. We are lucky to have Cham­plain Col­lege, a CEGEP that of­fers English ed­u­ca­tion, in our re­gion. I had the priv­i­lege of study­ing there a few years ago. I say priv­i­leged, be­cause mas­ter­ing the English lan­guage is an ad­van­tage I have, be it in busi­ness or sim­ply for per­sonal en­rich­ment. Does your can­di­date in Sain­tFran­cois, Ré­jean Hébert sup­port your propo­si­tion? What does the fu­ture hold for Cham­plain Col­lege, which wel­comes a large per­cent­age of fran­co­phones who de­sire to mas­ter the lan­guage of Shake­speare? Fi­nally, a few months ago the Parti Que­be­cois spoke about low­er­ing the vot­ing age to 16. How can you pos­si­bly ex­plain the con­tra­dic­tion of let­ting a 16-year old choose a gov­ern­ment, but not to freely de­cide their lan­guage of in­struc­tion?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.