Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Good Government? Don't Be Silly

The Parti Quebecois seems to be falling apart just as victory (at least in terms of winning a provincial election) is around the corner.  The current fight is whether it is proper to give a sweetheart deal to one company to build an arena in Quebec to attract an NHL team at a time where budgets are otherwise mighty tight.  Apparently, Pauline Marois, fresh off of her 98% vote tally of support in a party convention (Soviet-esque?), is facing criticism for being authoritarian.  I would never have guessed that someone who got 98% of the vote might be seen as acting undemocratically. 

What is a bit more surprising (although not entirely so) is that the PQ is falling in the polls.  It seemed to have clear majority support whereas now it would win more seats than the Liberals (who have been in power forever here and have heaps of scandals to prove it) but not enough for a majority.  Not the best conditions for a referendum. 

Ooops, even more so, the polls show that more than eighty percent of Quebeckers would rather folks focus on good government than sovereignty
Reality appears inevitable now: Quebecers want the PQ to put aside its sovereignty option and instead offer a "good government" to taxpayers.This verdict is clearly dominant in the general population (82%), but also among voters PQ (71%) and the separatists (68%).

Given that many PQ diehards usually see focusing on good government as a distraction from the pursuit of independence, this is not something the PQ elites wants to hear.  It is a sentiment that also explains why the Bloc collapsed so dramatically in the recent federal election--people want decent streets, bridges that don't collapse, metros that work all of the time, health care that does not require waiting in emergency rooms for more than 24 hours, and so forth.  I would be interested to see how "good government" is unpacked.  Is it about roads, schools, taxes, health care or immigration discrimination?

I am suddenly not so pessimistic about the future of Quebec.  But I am not going to bet on it quite yet.

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