One can never tell for sure, but it doesn’t look good for Jean Charest’s chances in tomorrow’s Quebec general election. In my last post (Aug. 22), I suggested the Parti Québécois might be fading in the stretch run; it is, however, Charest’s Liberals who have faded of late.
Quebec’s political stage seems set for a Pauline Marois-led PQ government, and that’s a shame. A poll, published on Sunday in the Journal de Montréal, puts Charest’s party in third place with 27 per cent popular support, while the PQ leads with 33 per cent and François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) hold second place with 28 per cent.
There is little in these results for the rest of Canada to cheer about, for it seems we are in for four years, at least, of a PQ government bleating about Quebec’s miserable circumstances as part of Canada, while trying its best to extort as much tax money as it can from the rest of us.
But we really cannot blame separatists for preaching separatism, can we? Scorpions sting, separatists separate. Such is the way of things.
Should one want to apportion blame for driving voters into the all too welcoming arms of the PQ, one need look no further than the Quebec Liberals and Jean Charest himself. Under the Liberals corruption seems to have flourished.
It seems so odd to me that Quebec voters are quick to oust politicians and whole governments over allegations of corruption, yet, as a society, Quebec seems to have a high tolerance for such things. Ever since I can remember, all sorts of shenanigans in the construction industry and among night club owners, for example, seem to have been generally accepted as inevitable by Quebec residents. When I lived in Montreal many years ago, corruption had found its way into the halls of political power and even into the police force.
During the current campaign, “a report that a police surveillance operation targeting a union official was halted after the man met with the Liberal Leader.” I suspect we’ll be hearing similar stories in the near future.
Frankly, I don’t see the PQ as being much of an improvement in the corruption department.
According to the Globe and Mail newspaper, Ms. Pauline Marois’ husband Claude Blanchet was once the CEO of the QFL Solidarity Fund. And so was current Finance Minister Raymond Bachand. The QFL has maintained close ties with the PQ and several QFL-Construction union leaders are regular contributors to the Liberal party.
That same QFL Solidarity Fund is now embroiled in controversy after a news story appeared in the Montreal daily, Le Devoir, linking it to an alleged kick-back and bribery scheme.
Voters always get the government they deserve, don’t they?