This is the referendum

By Beryl Wajsman on April 6, 2014

Clearly, this is the most important vote you will cast since 1995. But aside from the fact that both Pierre-Karl Péladeau and Premier Marois have made it clear that there will be a referendum – whether Quebecers be “ready” or not – depending on which one you listen to, vote Couillard and the Quebec Liberal Party because of his courage to speak some much-needed truths and candidates with the competence to tackle the problems that face us with focus on the priorities that really matter.

Though François Legault was impressive in style and substance, Philippe Couillard had the fortitude to state what all Quebecers needed to hear in the last debate. That bilingualism is an asset. That French is not in danger. That Quebec must be competitive in a globalized world. He is trying to drag this province out of the mire of neuroses of our culture wars. And in so doing is attempting to reverse the climate of fear instilled into many Francophones by two generations of nationalist rhetoric. Though his “beau risqué” has been criticized by some political strategists as having been too risky, it should be rewarded by all voters. For this reason, even if you live in a thoroughly Liberal riding, vote in greater numbers. Let all Quebec see that the people will turn out when someone has the courage to refute myths propagated for nothing more than partisan gain.

The sad record of the Marois administration can hardly be contested even by the staunchest Péquiste. Financial mismanagement, restrictions on resource development, a two billion dollar deficit, utter refusal to expand investment and industry and a continuation of higher taxes to support an interventionist state complete with an army of unionized bureaucrats that mean locked-in votes. Citizens have no more money. Quebecers have no more desire for command state government. People want their individual prerogatives left alone. Quebec is on the brink of a Greece-style meltdown with some of the world money-markets already putting us on negative watch. Increased borrowing costs will lead to unsustainable increases in taxation. It is almost as if this administration is pre-meditatedly trying to strip the Quebec economy to make as many of us dependent on a government cheque so that we are left with no choice at the ballot box. Marois’ social agenda has been characterized by the old politics of division and discord. From Bill 14 to Bill 60, it is laced with demonization of the “other” and the continued extremism that fuels intolerance. Even those aspects of legislation that could be deemed reasonable have been poisoned by the extremes to which Marois and Drainville have taken them. They have poisoned the wells.

This government’s continuation of the culture wars have made Quebec a global laughing-stock. The Pastagates don’t just irritate, they incinerate any inclination for investment and growth. Our debt is out of all proportion to our size. Last year, for the first time, Montreal ended up dead-last among the top 22 urban centers in North America in economic growth. And make no mistake, this is a battle for Montreal. If this economic engine of Quebec responsible for almost two-thirds of the province’s GDP stops functioning, most of us will end our lives living in one room surviving on a pittance of an underfunded state pension.

Couillard has brought together some of the best talent in finance and health to reverse this. From newcomers Carlos Leitao and Dr. Gaetan Barrette,to veterans like Kathleen Weil - who has done great work in consumer protection, justice and immigration - and Marc Tanguay, who was an eloquent voice of reason and sanity in the Bill 14 debate and hearings,  his slate is replete with the depth of talent and authority to reverse Quebec’s slide. The CAQ simply lack bench strength.

And let no one think that the threat is overstated. Those who would say “Let Quebec go already” not only to an injustice to the great experiment that is Canada, but do not understand that secession will have devastating effects on this nation. A lower dollar, higher taxes to pay for more expensive debt, difficulty paying pensions, EI and welfare – all of which we have paid for from our pockets – and in all probability an inability to protect depositors money in federally chartered banks.

Vote Couillard. Vote Liberal. And vote like your life depends on it. Because it does.

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Editorial Staff

Beryl P. Wajsman

Redacteur en chef et Editeur

Alan Hustak

Senior Editor

Daniel Laprès

Redacteur-adjoint

Brigitte Garceau

Contributing Editor

Robert J. Galbraith

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Roy Piberberg

Editorial Artwork

Mike Medeiros

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