Can Couil­lard save Que­bec, the An­g­los and the Fran­co­phones at the same time ?

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

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.

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