Wednesday, January 17, 2007

ADQ: More Insidious Than PQ

The PQ has been a sworn enemy of mine since I first donned a Non Merci macaron as a Grade 3 student in the spring of 1980. I never thought Quebecers would see a more dishonest, morally corrupt party than the PQ - notwithstanding, of course, the defunct Union National. I was wrong: way, way wrong. Mario Dumont's ADQ has bypassed the PQ in garnering my scorn.

While the Oui forces of 1995 lied to Quebecers through a dishonest signage campaign; repeated falsehoods on what parts of 'Canada' Quebec would get to keep, culminating with the barely controlled racist rant of Jacques Parizeau on the night of the defeat, at least we know where the PQ stands. They are separatists; they want out of Canada; they blame federalism for everything that's wrong with this province. Yes, we've heard it all before countless times.

What we haven't heard is any degree of clarity on the ADQ - an ostensibly federalist option. Much has been made of Dumont's call for less leniency for minorities. He suggests the PQ and the BQ are being 'politically correct' in their leniency towards minorities. I will admit to being sceptical about the separatists outreach to cultural communities, particularly because the movement has always had an unpleasant tinge of ethnic nationalism. I chalked it up to Realpolitik and the manipulation of the immigrant integration system in this fair province. On the surface, though, the optics are good because it appears as if the separatist movement in Quebec is finally reaching out, perhaps in order to reassure cultural communities in a separate Quebec. But I digress.

The thing that is the most irksome about Dumont is that he's a federalist of convenience. Canada is fine, as long as it is hollowed out and meaningless. I'm not a betting woman, but I'd be willing to wager that Dumont took quite a bit of Schumpeter with him when he left Concordia's School of Community and Public Affairs - his approach to federalism and the role of the state reeks of it. In Dumont's mind, Canada is only useful as far as equalisation and other transfer payments go - a place for Quebec to 'autonomously' assert its uniqueness. It's enough to make one sick: Dumont proposes a constitution for a province that would essentially contradict the federal government's focus on multiculturalism and leave the door open for further discrimination of minorities in this province. One could easily envisage cultural laws akin to those that banned the use of English under the PQ.

A visit to the ADQ's website - not for unilingual anglos as key platform and positions have not been translated, though they are looking for volunteers - will confirm that they intend for autonomous Quebec to remain in Canada. One can only conclude - given his electoral base and his centre-right ideology - that Dumont seeks to appeal to so-called 'traditional' small-c conservative Quebecers who are suspicious of and/or dislike anglos and ethnic and religious minorities, but are too conservative to disrupt the staus quo and face the unknowns of separation. With Dumont's proposal, they'd have the best of both worlds: the security of the Canadian safety net and an entrenched coccoon that would protect the 'de souche' from any unpleasantness arising from other cultures and their 'weird ways'. Hence the fundamental dishonesty and narrow-mindedness that is the 'federalist' ADQ. They are the worst Quebec has to offer.

2 Comments:

At 5:37 PM, Blogger WestmountLiberal said...

An interesting opinion on the ADQ.
Many rural francophones believe that Dumont is the only Quebec politician to speak the truth ie he says what others dare not speak esp in the context of minorities.
This is politic of convenience given he is trying to outreach to a largely uni-lingual and uni-cultural community.
Dumont's policy plays terribly in Montreal but this isn't his constituency of possible voters.

 
At 5:59 PM, Blogger Sinestra said...

Agreed - his electoral base is 100% homogenous, based around Quebec City and points east. And this type of approach isn't likely to expand that base.

 

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