Monday, February 20, 2012

Steven Harper - Québec separatists' best friend??

         bumptious: crudely or loudly assertive; pushy

         The idea might seem a bit bizarre but there is an argument that Harper's populist tub-thumping style may end up driving Québec into the hands of the seperatists, reviving what many consider a "dead issue"..
          Quebecers, on the whole, see themselves as (squishy soft) "social democrats" on many issues such as abortion, gun regulation, social programs, crime and punishment of adolescents.. Many of us find the recent destruction of the long gun registry repellent and offensive: the gun registry was, after all, created by the activism of Quebecers after the Montréal Polytechnique massacre of 14 female students by a misogynist gunman, 6 december, 1989. The fact that Harper, in good populist funk, went so far as to take part in a celebration - !sic! - of the long gun registry destruction really did not sit well with many Quebecers: it's hard not to feel it as salt deliberately rubbed in an open wound..

            Populist, redneck, neocon triumphalism - or just bumptious naïveté?

            Justin Trudeau, son of former PM Pierre Trudeau and himself Federal Liberal MP, recently shocked Canadians in a French language CBC interview. Trudeau said he was saddened by the right wing direction Canada was taking under the Harper government. He went so far as to say that if things continued this way he might consider the separatist option: this from a son of  arch-federalist Pierre Trudeau! (Obviously, this has separatists chuckling under their breath; I've heard them on the radio..) In the French language clip below the juicy part begins at 13 minutes.

              Quebecers are feeling increasingly under-represented, misunderstood and unheeded. The longterm effects of Harper's populist bumptiousness are hard to predict but separatist leader (Parti Québécois) Pauline Marois seems ready to make hay while the sun shines..

               In her open letter Madame Marois addresses what many Quebecers feel most offensive in the Harper government's handling of the deregistration process (aside from that damned celebratory cocktail party), the mean-spirited refusal of the Feds to turn over to Québec the portion of the long gun registry applying to citizens of the Province (my translation):

"We have proposed, with the Provincial government, the creation of a Québécois gun registry. To avoid prohibitive expenditures, the elected members of the Assemblée nationale have unanimously requested that Ottawa preserve the registry data relating to the Province of Québec. Unfortunately, your government has announced its intention to destroy these data. The people of Québec have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to create these files which are indespensible to the creation of a Québécois gun registry. Transferring these files to Québec will cost your government nothing. All that we are asking your government is the freedom for Québec to act in its own interests.."

                 Indeed! But Mr Harper seems far more occupied with short term political gain but populist tub thumping and bumptiousness may be this country's undoing. 

                 Watch out Mr. Harper, what goes round, comes round..

Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind / Qui sème le vent récolte la tempête


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