What do the electors of Quebec really care about? What seemingly is an unimposing question is actually the most difficult question to answer of this years electoral campaign. We hear a lot of news about the Charter of Values, increasing French language laws, and even stirring up old discussions on separation and Quebec’s identity. But what about the real issues? I’m talking about the economy, health care, pension funds, infrastructure, the list goes on. I’m talking about the issues that affect Quebec voters every day. Why have we forgotten about Quebec’s major problems.
The Parti Quebecois has forgotten about them. It has been their plan all along. Maybe they took some cues from Las Vegas magicians and decided to hide behind smoke and mirrors in a desperate attempt to stir up unneeded controversy. The latest of which is Quebec feminist and proud PQ and Charter supporter Janette Bertrand. In her diatribe she describes a situation where “rich McGill students” pay her apartment buildings owner for pool time without women. She comes to the conclusion that eventually, there won’t be any more time for women to swim in the pool.
Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Director for the Office for Science and Society at McGill wrote: “The ‘rich McGill students’ seem to be some sort of code for foreigners who for religious reasons do not want to swim with women. This mindless outburst occurred at an event organized in Bertrand’s honour and attended by Premier Marois who did not distance herself from the absurd remarks.”
This election has been driven based on these cultural issues and attacks towards Quebec values. The Parti Quebecois has even balanced their idea of an independent Quebec with the economy, stating they would share the Canadian dollar, similar to the Euro Zone.
As any economist will tell you, a currency is only as valuable as the country that uses it. If the country is in economic turmoil, inflation will soon overtake the currency and throw the country into an economic crisis. We all can remember the Zimbabwe Dollar, which at one point had to print one trillion dollar bills to keep up with inflation. We can even look at the Euro Zone, where Greece has fallen victim to their inability to manage their own economy while using someone else’s currency. Really, an independent Quebec would look just like Greece.
Quebec’s debt is ever so closing on 200 billion dollars, or roughly 43,000$ per citizen. That’s a big problem. Quebec’s unemployment rate averaged out to around eight percent last year. That’s a big problem. A cashier at McDonald’s greeted me by saying bonjour-hello instead of just bonjour. That’s not a problem.
The new Quebec government, whomever that may be come April 7th, needs to deal with real issues. We all know that elections are the time for parties to come up with radical ideas to attract voters, but right now isn’t the time. In the pool of democracy, everyone is allowed to swim, as long as you pass a couple of lessons first.