Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois casts her ballot in the Quebec election, Sept. 4, 2012.
Credits: MAXIME DELAND/QMI Agency
Aren’t elections fun?
They have the drama of a horse race, except in real horse races you leave the horses behind when the race is over. But political horse races are different. When elections roll around, you play the ponies and then for the next four years the ponies play you. The winning horse follows you home, sheds on your couch, whinnies and snorts a lot, eats all your sugar cubes, looks through your private papers, makes you pass a French test and empties your wallet before leaving a major mess on the carpet. Nice.
Anyway, the Quebec election was a great horse race, but now Quebecers have to put up with the winner, a hobbled PQ minority government. Thank goodness it’s hobbled. To listen to the PQ campaign rhetoric, you’d think there were anglophones and immigrants hiding behind every rock secretly and quietly speaking English, eating English muffins and singing God Save the Queen. If they were actually engaged in those kinds of subversive activities before the election, right about now they are heading to Toronto with their U-Hauls ... or is it Hauls-du-U?
OK, maybe the PQ’s language and cultural election proposals will get watered down in the minority legislature and Quebecers who threatened to leave if the PQ came to power will stay, at least for now. But in the end they will leave. It won’t be the French fact that drives out the best, the brightest and the richest, it will be the economic facts.
It’s just a hard reality that political parties cannot succeed over the long run if they are free market deniers. You can deny the Earth is round and it won’t really matter, unless you’re a travel agent. Deny the existence of unicorns and it will only be Green Party supporters and unicorns who take offence. However, if you deny the realities of the free market in favour of soft socialism or a “managed economy,” soon the free market, in a fit of pique, will turn on its heel and go home, taking prosperity with it.
Deny the reality of the free market for too long and you become Greece, Portugal, Italy or, very soon, Quebec.
Again, thank goodness the PQ only has a minority or Quebec would be full-on Greece in five years. But, if I understand their election platforms correctly, under the watchful eyes of the Liberals and CAQ it will now take at least seven years.
This is progress.
What’s especially disturbing is Quebec could do so much more to help itself. For instance, Quebec actually offers a huge tax break to trucking companies who convert their engines to run on natural gas. On the other hand, Quebec sits on massive stores of undeveloped natural gas reserves. Developing those reserves would mean thousands of great-paying jobs, revenues for government and clean-burning natural gas for people like Quebec truckers.
But the Quebec government wants to take two and a half years to study whether Quebec should produce the fuel it already encourages truck drivers to use. Really, that kind of says it all.