Archive for the ‘current events’ Category

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

July 25, 2017

Pit Stop By Neil McKenty

Time is ripe for a new political party in Quebec

Now that hunting season has begun, it behooves most Quebec politicians to head for the hills.

According to all the surveys, the popularity of the province’s politicians is dropping like a wounded duck. And this applies to both Ottawa and Quebec City.

A Léger poll shows the level of satisfaction with the federal Conservatives has dropped a full seven points. Only one in five Quebecers is happy with the political leadership in Ottawa.

The results were similarly dismal for the provincial Liberals. The level of dissatisfaction with Premier Jean Charest’s government is at a record-breaking 77 per cent, with only 28 per cent saying they would vote Liberal in the next provincial election. Support for the Parti Québécois stood at 34 per cent.

These figures must be seen in the context of a provincial scene where most of the news is negative. Whether it is the dirty linen on judge’s appointments being aired at the Bastarache commission, the ever-rising cost of health care, controversial language legislation or the government’s refusal to investigate the construction industry, there is not much for the ordinary voter to be happy about.

All this means that Charest, who must face an election within three years, is in dire straits politically. But the PQ leader, Pauline Marois, is right in there with him.

Let’s face it. Although Marois has been in public life for three decades, she has never really caught on, either with her own party or with the electorate generally. This could become more evident when she faces a leadership review next spring.

Unlike the Liberals who cherish their leaders so long as they are in power, the separatists seem to view their chieftans with considerable suspicion. As Don Macpherson writes in the Gazette: “Liberals are disciplined and remain loyal to a leader, especially when they are in power, until he loses an election. Péquistes, on the other hand, are impatient, nervous and suspicious of any leader not named Jacques Parizeau. Since they last held power in 2003, they’ve already had three leaders.”

What’s more, unlike the Charest Liberals, the PQ has a potential leader prowling around the precincts. That would be Gilles Duceppe, who is getting long in the tooth in federal politics. Duceppe threatened to run against Marois once before. This time, if she really stumbles, he might go through with it.

So what we have now in the province is a Liberal government that is dead in the water and a PQ opposition that is not exactly setting the heather afire. What better time to fly a trial balloon about a new party?

A group of former politicians (Péquistes François Legault and Joseph Facal) and business people think the time is ripe for a new party that would regroup federalists and sovereigntists around a centre-right agenda and leaving the “national question” aside.

A new poll shows that such a new party would win 30 per cent of the votes in a Quebec election, with the PQ at 27 per cent and the Liberals at 25 per cent. If nothing else, these results suggest there is a deep desire in the population to break through the federalist-separatist division to some third force that would concentrate on the economic and social well-being of Quebec.

Such a party would emphasize fiscal restraint and smaller government. But would the Quebec voter buy into such a program? Ironically, this is what Charest wanted to implement when he first took office eight years ago. Charest, a small-c conservative, hoped to cut back on Quebec’s bloated bureaucracy, reduce some services and cut taxes.

But Charest discovered to his chagrin that he could carry neither his cabinet nor his caucus on a program of serious fiscal restraint. The government was even afraid to raise the rates for electricity, something practically all economists urged them to do. Recently all it took was the prospect of a coming by-election for Finance Minister Raymond Bachand to shelve plans to impose user fees for medical visits.

So attractive as a new party might be, especially one that jettisoned the sovereignty question, it is not at all clear that it would be able to sell a policy of fiscal restraint, the very policy that Charest could not sell when he first came into office.

Furthermore, as Lysiane Gagnon has pointed out, the new Legault party looks much like the old Mario Dumont party. The Action démocratique du Quebec was also based on a centre-right agenda and a moderate nationalist approach (for most of its life it did not even take sides in the sovereignty debates). One difference is that Legault’s movement was born in Montreal and might eventually attract more high-profile personalties than the ADQ, whose scope was limited to eastern Quebec.

What this new party does right out of the gate is underline popular dissatisfaction with the two old parties. Another election is not required until 2013. That leaves plenty of time for the Liberals to replace Charest and for the PQ to do a makeover on Marois (or replace her with Duceppe.)

In the meantime, a group that has no leader and no name is more popular than the two other parties who have both. No wonder the politicians are heading for the hills.

Published on Nov.2010

The Senior Times

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

July 17, 2017

McKenty Live.

On today’s program, Neil talks about train transportation with Transport 2000 director Guy Chartrand. And the live callers.

Small farmers in Québec

July 13, 2017

9847128

 Photo : Marie-France Coallier, The Gazette

I was lucky enough to have always lived in a first floor apartment in the city of Montreal. So I’ve always have a small garden to grow some lettuce, green onions, basil, tomatoes, pepper and little more. So when someone talked to me about this article, I thought I should share and maybe it could inspire some.

This article was published in the Gazette about small Farmers in Québec, on the May 16, 2014. Today, even big stores like Loblaws and Metro are now carrying free range meat they say is raised with no antibiotics, as well as organic fruit and vegetables, albeit from beyond our borders. But the big story, in lockstep with the farm-to-table movement, is the new life on Quebec’s small farms.

In the article we are introduce to the Ferme Tourne-sol, who started with 5 students who met at McGill University and decided to farm together. They found a piece of land to rent and started their work in Les Cèdres. They started in 2005; they wanted to offer fresh and organic vegetable and fruit for the community. As Pascal Thériault , an agricultural economics expert who teaches at McGill’s MacDonald Campus in Ste-Anne de Bellevue said, “Historically, our particular program has been in place to train farmers, and we usually get sons and daughters of farmers who will themselves take over the farm. This coming year, 23 of the 48 completed applicants did not come from farms or have only a limited knowledge of agriculture.”

We are also meeting Jean-Marie Fortier (in the picture above), from Les Jardins de la Grelinette in St-Armand, who only uses hand held tools to work his field, “People are super stoked hearing that young people make a living on an acre and a half without a tractor,” he says.

The movement toward small, organic farming is so strong, Thériault says, that many farmers can’t accept more customers for their CSAs. But that doesn’t mean all new farmers will be successful.

“Jean-Martin is a great example of being able to make a lot of money,” he said. “Having a sustainable farm is cool but it has to be financially sustainable. Direct sell to consumer is more work and more trouble, and distributors won’t do business with them, since they can’t guarantee the volumes.”

I recommend you to go and check this article :

http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Appetite+organic+Quebec+small+farmers+thriving/9847124/story.html

Would you decide to make a change and become a farmer ?

When buying your vegetable, do you know where they came from ?

Are you trying to eat fresh and organic food ?

What do you think of GMO ?

 

Stephanie P.

Driving with your mate

July 6, 2017

Catharine writes :

While I was packing to go by car to Kingston, with my nephew, I couldn’t help remembering what Neil called his zaniest program.

Do you have any stories about a road trip ?

What do you do when your are stressed in your car ?

Are you a good co-driver ?

 

ARE YOU TIRED OF WAITING?

June 21, 2017

 

 

Did you know that a new survey reveals that 86 per cent of Canadians say they’ve given up on their purchases and walked out of a business after waiting too long for service.

Department stores are deemed the worst offenders with 78 per cent of customers say they’ve bailed out.

More than half have left a bank or convenience store in frustration. Two-thirds say they’ve given up on public transit and half have abandoned a medical facility.

Have you walked out of any of these places? Other places?

How long are you prepared to wait?

On average, consumers said eight minutes was enough time to wait in a grocery store and they’d give up after 15 minutes; they’d wait up to 22 minutes for public transit and 81 minutes to see a doctor before they walked out.

What is your experience waiting in these places? Other places?

How long do you think it is acceptable to wait?

Now, if you want to read how others handle this subject check out Larry Chung at IHateBadService.ca

RADIO SHOW!

June 19, 2017

 

 

Here is an episode of Exchange with Neil on CJAD.

This episode is on welfare.

 

 

Enjoy!

 

* Adjust your volume.


https://neilmckentyweblog2.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/welfare.mp3

Jean P.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN BULLIED?

June 8, 2017

Eighteen per cent of Quebecers  strongly agreed with the following statement.  « I have been bullied at my school or workplace ».

That figure was about the same as the national average.

Only one per cent of Quebecers admitted they had bullied others by word or deed.

When I  was going to a Catholic school in the thirties, I had to cross a bridge to get back home.  A young punk named Turner started to wait at the end of the bridge to pummel and hassle me.  It was scary.  Finally my father went to see the bullies’ parents and it stopped.  What a relief.

Have you ever been bullied?

NEIL’S RADIO SHOW

June 7, 2017

Exchange on CJAD with host Neil McKenty.

 

 

On today’s episode, Neil talks with live callers about visitors and tourists in Montreal.

 

 

BLAST FROM THE PAST

May 31, 2017

 

McKenty Live with host Neil McKenty.

On today’s program, Neil talks about the environment with guest David Suzuki.

What’s on your mind? Victoria Day, Dollard Day or Empire Day and much much more

May 22, 2017

What’s on your mind? on Exchange. Discussion of various subjects, including Montreal and Ottawa conference of the United Church and the ordination of homosexuals.


https://neilmckentyweblog2.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/whats-on-your-mind.mp3