Can Couillard save Quebec, the Anglos and the Francophones at the same time ?
Therewas a lot more at stake than a new leader for the Liberal Party last weekend. Both the present and the former M.N.A.’s, Pierre Reid and Robert Benoît, backed the winner. Then again, was there ever a race except in the minds of Raymond Bachand and Pierre Moreau?
If Mr. Couillard had had the truthfulness that he seemed to have found only after his victory on Sunday about his dealings with Dr. Porter, we can only guess that rather than getting 58.5% of the vote he would have gotten over two-thirds.
The last time that the Liberals had a real, honest to goodness, convention, the editor was still in his late teens. Forty-three years is a tad too long for a real exercise in democracy. Back then, the Liberals elected a younger but less experienced candidate, Robert Bourassa. Less experienced as in no experience whatsoever of being in power, with a tad less parliamentary experience. Both of these leaders were first elected in the riding where they grew up: Mr. Bourassa in the working (as in poor) class district of Le Plateau, now fashionably trendy but not then, while Mr. Couillard hails from Mont-Royal at the opposite side.
What seems to be lacking on Mr. Couillard’s side is the thinkthank that Mr. Bourassa had assembled with the best and the brightest that Quebec was able to propel during the Quiet Revolution. Robert Bourassa was far from a one man show. Experienced people coming from both the Lesage and Trudeau governments formed a group that could challenge anyone. And that meant both the PQ and the Trudeau government. While today, both camps seem so far apart, it was a different game then, all of them knowing each other, mostly all friends to an extent.
We in the Townships live, it seems, in Quebec, but surely not the same Quebec that the majority of Québecois do. Anglos are a dwindling minority that most Francophones cherish and want to protect. As a matter of fact, it is the same in other areas with the exception of the island of Montreal.
When this newspaper opined that some portions of Bill 14 were abhorrent, we were told by some that we were stirring a pot that had no water and no heat under it to boil.
There is a lesson there for Mr. Couillard’s quest to have Quebec sign the Canadian constitution. After understanding what the fuss was all about, Bill 14 is another of the PQ’s ‘bip-bip-bip’, as Mr. Charest described most laws proposed by the Marois government: in reverse. That not one municipality involved had asked for their bilingual status to be removed was one thing, that not one ‘nationalist organisation’ with some membership had either, the cherry on the sundae came when acknowledged sovereignist mayors voted against it, one of those being the wife of the PQ culture minister.
Seems that Québécois may be more than willing to discuss what Mr. Couillard is proposing than some are led to believe. Yes, we know, we can read Toronto’s newspapers as well as anyone, all of that constitutional talk is dead in Quebec, look at the polls, lowest numbers ever. Then back in early 1995, remember the year, none other than Stéphane Dion was predicting the Yes vote in the next referendum would be under forty percent!
Withmaple season in full swing, Rep. Peter Welch is pushing two bills to promote Vermont’s maple industry and make sugaring operations more energy efficient.
“Maple syrup and those who produce it are part of the fabric of Vermont,» Welch said. «Their trade goes back generations and is an important part of our economy as well as a key defining characteristic of our state brand. These investments in the maple industry will ensure it remains a strong part of Vermont’s economy and identity for generations to come.»
Welch’s Maple Tapping Access Program would authorize U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants to promote the maple industry in Vermont. Funds would be available for maple-related research as well as marketing syrup and other maple products. Additionally, the grants could be used to open state lands to tapping or provide incentives to private landowners to do so.
Mr. Couillard’s proposition would mean that rather than playing the ostrich we would face our collective future face to face. For that, Mr. Couillard needs to be empowerd to do so. And only an early provincial election can provide him the opportunity of acting now for our future. It’s less the Quebec Liberal Party that needs rebuilding than the whole of Quebec. He should force a confidence vote on the National Assembly. The CAQ would have no choice but to vote with the Liberals unless they are afraid that the electorate would see through them for what they are, disgruntled Liberals and Péquistes, more of the latter than the former.