Posts Tagged ‘Quebec’


October 18, 2011

For a long time now there have been charges and counter-charges about crooked dealing in the Quebec construction industry – bribes, over-payments – government  kick-backs. A new poll out today shows that 77 per cent of Quebeckers want an inquiry. Premier Charest maintains that any charges of corruption are a matter for the police to investigaste – not for a costly public inquiry. Some say Charest fears a full inquiry would hurt the Liberal party.

Rumours in today’s press say Charest is moving closer to a major inquiry and may, in fact, announce one tomorrow morning.

Should there be an inquiry into the Quebec construction industry?

What do you think?


October 17, 2011

A new poll, just out, contains bad news for Quebec separatists.  According to CROP , 71 per cent of Quebeckers think the sovereignty debate is “outdated”‘ up from 58 per cent last year.  Only 25 per cent want to separate from Canada. Seventy per cent of Quebeckers think independence will not be acheived.

Can you believe that 76 per cent of Quebeckers are very or somewhat proud of being Canadian?

At the provincial level, the group led by Francois Legault, is leading the polls. He has promised not to talk about separation for 10 years.

These are ominous  figures  for the PQ.

Is separatism dying?

What do you think?


September 12, 2011

The push is on in Quebec to have journalists licensed.

The licensing system would create a “professional journalist” designation, backed by Quebec law, that provided for preferrential access to government circles and extra rights  to protection of sources.

But the harm to press freedom would be considerable.  How so?

Controlling sources to government and other public new conferences wold mute many journalists expecially those who did not have the credentials to

qualify for the press license.

The free flow of language wouldbe subject to state control.

Internet start-ups would be destroyed.

Consider what unlincensed journalists contributed to the Arab Spring.

Would a Quebec license reqire proficiency in French?

Quebec is rejecting the marketplace – of ideas, talents, desires, mony and ingenunity – and trying to replace it with state approved controls.

Should journlists be licensed?

What do you think?

Can any tom, dick or harry who starts a blog be called a journalist?


September 9, 2011

Numbers of seats in Parliament are related to a province’s population.  Following that principle three provinces – Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta – will receive more seats.  So to accomodate them the Harper government is planning to increase the number of seats in the Commons from 308 to 338.

This creates an anamoly.  It means that Quebec would have a lesser share of Commons seats (22.1 per cent)  than its share of the Canadian population (23.1 per cent)/  Opposition parties in the Commons are generally favourable to the idea of giving Quebec special dispensation in the allocation of Commons seats.

An NDP proposal says Quebec’s representation should  be fixed at 24.4 per cent of Commons seats. The Bloc will go along with that and the Liberals are leaning that way.

This proposal for a few extra Quebec seats makes a lot of sense.  It would not create a precedent and would not require a constitutional amendment.

Should Quebec have more seats in Ottawa?

What do you think?


September 1, 2011

If an election were held in Quebec today, polls show that a group headed by former pequiste Francois Legault would win.  Legault  has promised not to hold a separation referendum for at least 10 years.  He is now fleshing out his group’s platform.

For openers, Legault believes the French language needs more support and protection, particularly in the Montreal area.  He is urging a crackdown by the province’s language police on Montreal merchants who fail to speak French to their clients.  “Each Quebecer has the responsibility to ensure that the language of commerce is French.”

The head of a Montreal business group disagrees.  Peter Siozis says businesses should serve their customers in the language of their choice.  “Cracking down  by using language inspectors is  showboating and outdated.”

Does the French language need more protection?

What do you think?


August 15, 2011

At a conference of young Quebec Liberals over the week-end, Premier Charest spoke about the national question.  He says Quebec still wants to be recognized as a nation in the Canadian constitution.  “In my view it reflects what we are as a country. When?  I don’t know but I do believe that it is something that needs to be done.”

It has always seemed to me that Quebec is not just a province like the others.  Because of its history (founding nation), language and culture Quebec deserves some kind of “special status”.

I should have thought all right-thinking Canadians would agree with that proposition.  Do you?

Should Quebec be a nation?

What do you think?


July 12, 2011

The Harper government which wants this country to have more prisons and more guns is on record to abolish the long-gun registry.  Quebec Public Secuirty Minister, Robert Dutil, says of his government “we think we have good arguments for keeping the long-gun registry.  During the 2008 campaign Premier Charest urged all the parties to maintain and reinforce gun-control regulations.

A Harper majority will have no trouble axing the gun-registry.   Harper says the money spent to keep the registry alive is unjustified and also it punishes law-abiding gun owners.

The Conservatives argue the database carries incomplete and unreliable information.

But supports counter tht it is an essential tool for law enforcement and contend that it saves live.

Several questions should be considered before Quebec legislates on gun control.

Does the registry have a positive effect on reducing crime?   The answer is yes.  On reducing suicide?  Yes.  Do police use and supportt the registry?  Yes.

Is the registry used in solving a wide range of crimes?  Yes.

Should Quebec control its own guns?

What do you think?


June 24, 2011

Happy fete nationale day.

There are at least two instances come to mind when I felt more like a Quebecer than a Canadian.  They both involved decisions (by a majority of French Quebecers) to remain an integral part of the nation of Canada.

I remember the first in 1980 when I was in the midst  of my career as host of a talk show on CJAD, the most powerful English radio station in Quebec.  Just a few nights before the vote, my wife, Catharine and I had gone to the Paul Sauve arena to hear the magnificent speech by Prime Minister Trudeau on federalism.  The vote,when it came, was a splendid affirmation (mostly by French Quebecers) of this province’s solid committment to a united Canada. It was a great day to be a Quebecois.

Same thing in the referendum in 1995.  This time Catharine and I went to the Verdum Arena to hear Prime Minister Chretien extoll Quebec’s role in Canada.  Same result.

Also this morning I was thinking of another incident, further back in history, when it was great to be a Quebecer and a Canadian.  Remember when General De Gaulle sailed up the St. Lawrence on a destroyer, then appeared on the balcony of Montreal’s City Hall and yelled “Vive Quebec libre.” Almost immediately, an outraged Prime Minister Lester Pearson told the General to take a hike and go home.  A great time to be a Canadian and a Quebecois.

If you do not live in Quebec, was there ever a time when you felt more attached to your province than to Canada as a whole?

If you do live inQuebec, have you ever felt more like a Quebecer than a Canadian?

Happy fete.


June 14, 2011

A new Leger poll, just out, shows that the shake-up in Quebec politics is profound and it continues.  With the destruction of the Bloc and the turmoil in the PQ an opening is emerging for another horse in the race.

The new poll shows the PQ would be crushed down to 21 per cent, the Liberals to 20, the ADQ 11 per cent.  But wait a minute.  Right up at the top of this poll, at 33 per cent is the formation (he has no party yet) announced by Francois Legault, a  former PQ minister.  And there’s more good news.  Support for Mr. Legault would rise to 41 per cent if he were to merge his group with the ADQ.

A Laval political science professor says such an outcome could well signal the end of the PQ which could well suffer the same fate as the BQ in the recent federal election.

According to the same poll, Francois Legault is now considered the most popular political figure in Quebec.  He argues that the debate on Quebec’s political future should be put on hold indefinitely.   Meanwhile he is issuing papers on various issues – health etc – impacting the province.

Do you think the troubles of the BQ and the PQ have created the ideal conditions for the launch of a new party?

Could Legault’s new party win in Quebec as the latest poll indicates?

What do you think?


June 10, 2011

Early Tuesday morning  two people were killed by Montreal police guns  on St. Denis street, one of my favourite streets in all of Montreal.  One man who was mentally distrubed was wielding a knife ; the other on the way to work was hit by a stray bullet.  Such tragedies involving the police in Quebec are investigated by other police forces.  On Friday morning, the Surete du Quebec (the provincial police force) announced they have not yet questioned the police officers involved but plan to do so presently.  This gives the four officers plenty of time to get together and co-ordinate their stories of what went down.

With four officers present, was it really necessary to shoot and kill an innocent man?   And who should investigate the incident?  Isn’t it high time to take these kind of probes out of the hands of police (who stick  up for each other) and give the responsibility to civilian investigators.  As they do in Ontario which has a 12-person Special Investigations Unit for such crimes.

The Unit questions officers right away so that they cannot collude on a prepared version of the event.  The special Unit requires that all officers in volved in a shooting by police be kept separate from each other until they have been questioned. The Quebec Ligue des droits et libertes and 22 other groups have stated that Quebec legislation is required to establish a “civilian, transparent, impartial and indpendent process.”

Should the police investigate the police?

What do you think?