Vive le Quebec

In the end it did take a brain surgeon. To beat back the separatists, I mean. And it looks like I’ll be able to continue feeding my love of poutine and smoked meat without having to support a foreign, hostile power.
Not that Quebec separatism is completely dead and buried. There will always be a certain element of the population that won’t stop believin’. After all, the media can always find people who believe that Elvis lives and is running a hot dog cart around the corner during the summer months and that Jim Morrison is alive and well and teaching military history at the University of Vermont.
You have to give the neurosurgeon Phillipe Couillard credit. Imagine running a political campaign which is not based on disclosing that your opponent actually smoked pot during her university years or finding some jilted lover from downtown Dogpatch who will swear that said candidate is a cheating, lying, no-good egg-sucking dog who secretly doesn’t recycle and is a selfish lover who also prematurely ejaculates.
Excuse me for my rant; I feel a lot better now. But this separation stuff which morphed into sovereignty-association which evolved into we’ll keep-holding-elections-until -you-give-us-the-answer-we-want has been a part of my life since I first realized I was a born-and-bred Quebecer with a French-Canadian father and an Irish-Canadian mother. I was never comfortable when my English friends stomped on the Pepsi kids’ lunch boxes at the bus stop on our way to school or when the French kids called us tea-drinking, crumpet-eating tete carrees from the tops of the snow-mountains that the snowplows left and where we played King of the Hill. But the worst part was that most of the English-speaking kids didn’t cry during the few spring-times when the Canadiens didn’t win the Stanley Cup. Imagine playing road hockey and not wearing Jean Beliveau’s number 4 hockey sweater on your back.
The pundits and the experts will kill a lot of trees during the next few months as they pontificate their theories as to the turning point of the campaign and why an experienced politician such as Pauline Marois sent her party packing to oblivion. Three reasons. You heard it here first. # 1 was when she brought in Pierre-Karl Peladeau. Rich businessmen never do well in politics. Pierre Trudeau was rich, of course, but he was never a businessman. He made his money the old-fashioned way; he inherited it. Businessmen who step right into politics from running their corporations expect everyone to bow-and-scrape, just like his employees did. But he forgets that he can’t hire and fire the voters. #2 was the bilingualism of the non-francophones in the province. Everyone admires someone who can switch seamlessly from one language to another. During my days in Quebec it was mainly the francophones who could do that. The Parti Quebecois actually defeated themselves in the long run by successfully making their province more French, and making it more difficult with their language laws for the French to learn English. Everyone gasped at the audacity, and the ignorance, of Phillipe Couillard stating that it was a good thing to be bilingual. But it turned out to be as true, and as transforming to the public, as when the two young kids in the fairy tale spoke the truth and stated that the Emperor wore no clothes. And #3 was that Quebecers, or Quebecois, whatever you want to call them, have figured out that Canada is the envy of the world. And that’s despite the fact that this past year has been ten months of winter and two months of rough sledding.
It’s already been quite a spring in Quebec. And the only thing that would make it even better is a Stanley Cup parade down (rue) Ste. Catherine (street.)
Go Habs Go !

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