The Parti Quebecois has been delivered a stunning defeat in Quebec's provincial elections to the relief of many people in Canada for very different reasons. Her anti-religious and anti-minority agenda has also been thrown out.
Tuesday April 08, 2014, 10:21 DST
Good riddance is how many people in Quebec and indeed the rest of Canada greeted the news of Parti Quebecois’ (PQ) defeat in yesterday’s provincial elections. The Liberal Party was returned to power with a thumping majority.
PQ leader Pauline Marois, leading a minority government had made attacking religious minorities her favorite plank. She came up with the nonsensical proposal to ram down the “Charter of Values” bill that would have stripped religious minorities of their constitutional rights.
Wearing such religious symbols as a cross, hijab, turban or yarmulka were to be made illegal for public servants. Muslim women wearing hijab would have been denied social assistance or other facilities available to Quebeckers.
True, Quebeckers did not reject her solely on the so-called Charter of Values issue; it was their concern about separatism run amok that scared many of them, especially Quebec’s business community that sees benefit in remaining part of Canada.
The monkey wrench in PQ’s campaign was thrown by Pierre Karl Péladeau, former President and CEO of the rightwing Quebecor Inc., Quebecor Media Inc. and Sun Media Corporation. He made sovereignty a campaign issue that Marois was unable to change or challenge. This scared many voters away.
The people of Quebec are concerned about jobs, restoration of roads and bridges, improving schools and healthcare services and creating more opportunities for business growth rather than prattling about someone’s dress being a threat to Quebec’s culture or values.
Marois represented the worst aspects of secularism and was clearly out of touch with what the people wanted.
The election campaign itself was toxic reminiscent of American presidential campaigns with no holds barred. She allowed her partisans to attack opponents as threats to Quebec’s language and values.
Ironically, while the Conservative Party that rules federally was nowhere in Quebec, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, himself a divisive figure, would be pleased. With the separatists banished from Quebec, he has one less issue to worry about.
He can now concentrate on his favorite governing style of wedge politics, exactly what Marois was doing in Quebec, but without having to worry about Quebec separating from the rest of Canada, at least for quite some time.
It is also interesting to note that three out of four federal leaders—Liberal Party, the NDP and Parti Quebecois—are from Quebec. Harper is the only non-Quebecois; he is from Alberta, Canada’s cowboy country that is the equivalent of Texas in the US and with a similar narrow mindset.