Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Now is the time for your tears....

This is not the Quebec, or the Montreal, that I love.

I just came back from a closing shift at the bookstore where I work in Palmdale, California Rolled home about midnight or so, local time. Popped open a beer. scrounged a plate of leftovers Diane had left out. (I can never go right to sleep after a closing shift.)

Opened a window in my office to let in the night air, and listened to the coyotes whine for a while. Then I turned on my Mac to see how the Quebec election went.

It was better than I expected, worse than I'd hoped. The PQ had won, but only a minority government, thus making Pauline Marois the province's first female premier. She vowed, in her acceptance speech, to work for the common good. She even spoke English.

And then some asshole tried to kill her. Some idiot with too many weapons and too little conscience, yet another cowardly idiot with a gun, another would-be Rambo jacked up by all the divisive politics and rhetoric of racial and ethnic and cultural hatred that's become all the rage in North America: a place where a doddering, unsure actor arguing with an empty chair is now considered political discourse, and too many spineless politicians and rabble rousing "journalists"are more than willing to play the politics of ignorance and division.

Taylor Noakes, a local Montrealer with his boots on the ground, has a great blog I read regularly, and he covers it far more eloquently and with far more detail than I ever could. You can read all about it here  but basically, he admits he's "devastated."

That's probably the right word. Devastated.

Lord knows, I'm no fan of the PQ, but this is actually probably beyond devastating. And stranded 3000 miles and too many time zones away, so far from home, I feel utterly impotent and enraged.

And alone. Montreal's politics of the soul are hard enough to explain to those of us who love her; never mind to an American wife who's never been there. Besides, she's asleep.

And I'm not. I feel violated and hurt. Too full of whatever it is I'm feeling (Anger? Grief? Shame?) to go to sleep for a long time.

This is, suddenly, a night nobody should celebrate. And of course it goes without saying that most of Quebec -- French, English, rich, poor, federalist or nationalist -- are as horrified and repulsed by this this as I am.

Oh, Canada. Oh, Quebec. Oh, Montreal...

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Blogger Guillaume said...

I thought about blogging about it too. The words I was so angry when I read the news this morning. It is just apalling. It had been a filthy campaign.

I am as you know a "separatist" as you call us. I am happy that the PQ won, that Marois ia now our prime minister. She earned it, even though she did a poor campaign (and she is inept at communication, which is strange for someone who has been in politics for so long). And I am happier that the Liberals got the boot, even though it was a very mdoest victory of my side. Regardless of political opinions, they were too corrupted, too much in bed with scumbags in suits Quebec has (and it has many). And I do think the results of the elections reflect perfectly the opinion of the people: a desire to change government, a disgust about Charest, yet wary of the undiscipline of the Parti Québécois and the populism of the CAQ. It is a small victory, but a victory nonetheless, the result of a precious democratic process, that bullets should not violate. Thankfully, we have a prime minister who is alive and well.

11:02 AM, September 05, 2012  
Blogger Kevin Burton Smith said...

Well, from my side, I'm happy it's a minority government. it means the PQ will have to seek status and consensus instead of just paying lip service to such things.

And hopefully, fixing Quebec will be her top priority. It's what most Quebecois want, I think.

But if I offended you by referring to you as a separatist, I apologize. What's the politically correct term? And why is separatist now a no-no?

3:56 PM, September 05, 2012  
Blogger Guillaume said...

We all want to fix Québec. That is not a problem, there is a consensus there. The problem is that we all disagree on how, even in the same party. At least fighting corruption will be at the agenda, with the PQ in power and a CAQ that owe part of its success to this issue.

You did not offend me by calling me a separatist. I don't care one bit about politically correctness. I think the right term should be "independentist". Separatist has become a derogatory term, at least in francophone society. But I know it is used by some in the indepentist movement. I even use it sometimes, if I want to shock. I may be wrong, but I don't think members of the SNP are referred to as separatists very often, even by those who oppose Scotland's independence.

Anyway, don't worry, it's not gonna happen any time soon anyway. Québec has never been more "separated" from Canada, much more than it was in 1995 (André Pratte calls it "indifferent association"), yet we are as far as we can be from political independence. The PQ has been weakened by desertions from its left and its right, the Bloc Québécois is prety much comatose, in a way government is a consolation price now. Maybe a sort of punishment too.

11:12 AM, September 06, 2012  

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