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Our holy father, Philippe Couillard
The Canadian Press/Jacques Boissinot

 

This Wednesday marked the beginning of Quebec’s Couillard government. After a mere 18 months of governance, the Parti Quebecois was kicked to the curb by voters, ushering in a renewed sense of harmony between English and French Canada. The government of Pauline Marois was under intense scrutiny during its brief stint in power. Key criticisms included the infamous Charter of Values, proposals to tighten language laws even further and hostility towards the federal government. Yes, many Quebecers are relieved that their province has abandoned the old ways of PQ-bred nationalism before it entrenched itself further. What they may not have expected was Philippe Couillard’s game-changing approach to Premiership.

The Honourable Couillard has appointed a minister of “Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion” to “heal the wounds of recent months by participating in the construction of an open, inclusive society proudly sharing an identity based on our language and our shared values.”

It was an awe-inspiring move. Never before has a Premier been so candid, compassionate, and bold.

He took an extra step, by reaching out to Anglophones, saying “it is time to work together again, as we have been doing in the last 350 years.”

Couillard’s cabinet is composed of many newcomers, and successfully distanced the Quebec Liberals from it’s tarnished brand under Jean Charest.

Things are changing for the better. Which raises an interesting question.

Is Philippe Couillard the next Pope Francis? The similarities are too uncanny to discount. Both come from unlikely places; Couillard being a medical professional, and Pope Francis briefly a technician…and bouncer at a nightclub.

Couillard is reinventing Quebec’s persona in the world. No longer will we have to worry about the threat of a referendum, combativeness between Ottawa and Quebec City, and the uncertain future of the Anglophone and Allophone community. We are all Quebecers. We are open, inclusive, and diverse.

In the same vein, Pope Francis has changed public perception of the Catholic Church. Although the Church remains plagued by scandals and financial mismanagement, the Pope is taking a hardline stance against offenders, and is dealing with things very seriously. He has broken with tradition by easing tensions with the gay community, recognizing the fundamentally important role of women in the Roman Catholic church, and criticizing the lavish lifestyles of the exploitative bourgeoisie.

A true revolutionary. The both of them. Forget the fact that Pope Francis has made it clear that he will not support same-sex unions or female priests. Or that reformation of the longstanding components of the Church is an extremely unlikely scenario. Forget the fact that Philippe Couillard would like to reopen the disastrous Constitutional debate.

They’re game-changers! Nothing else matters.