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Sep 05 2012

Canadian tragedy

The Parti Québécois won an electoral victory yesterday, and unfortunately the victory celebration for Pauline Marois was interrupted by a man opening fire with a rifle, killing one person and wounding another. When will people learn that murder solves nothing?

I’m afraid I know little about Quebec politics. The killer apparently shouted, “Les Anglais se reveillent. (The English are awakening) There’s going to be payback” in French, with an accent, as he was hauled away by the police. Whose side is he on? Or does it even make sense to discuss the political alignment of a demented mass-murderer-wannabe?

53 comments

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  1. 1
    bortedwards

    Short answer: No.

  2. 2
    timgueguen

    Short version: Parti Quebecois wants Quebec to become an independent state. Sort of, depending on who they’re talking to. PQ governments have put in restrictions on the use of languages besides French in various places, like on commercial signs, in a supposed effort to protect Quebec’s French character. With the growing number of Muslims and other non-Europeans in Quebec they’ve also talked about doing things like banning government workers from wearing overt signs of religion, like the hijab. Quebec has a significant English speaking minority, around 10 percent, mostly living in Montreal, and they generally don’t like the PQs policies.

  3. 3
    AJ Milne

    A commentator on CBC radio this morning said the hair stood up on the back of his neck, hearing the clip.

    Mine too. And the loudest collection of neurons I can make out in the general confusion of voices in my head right now is saying something like ‘Well, fuck, not this again…’

    I want to say and hope it’s a one off. Not really so much about the mood of anyone much as one malfunctioning CNS out there. And let’s hope people generally do take it that way, and it doesn’t set the timbre of things to come. I’m always afraid there’ll be a viral quality to sentiments like this. Let’s hope that won’t happen this time.

    Better: let’s resolve that it doesn’t happen this time.

  4. 4
    Keith Peterson

    Quebec politics…

    Now there’s an extremely complex topic.

  5. 5
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    A moment of deranged terrorism. Despite what the masked cretin said, the comments on the Canadian news sites are overwhelming in labeling this for what it is and condemning the act, regardless of politics and province of residence. Someone was correct to point out it will be another bloody mark on the history books. It will surely be recorded in them as this was another lowlight in politics in and about Quebec.

    I really hope this is the lone moment of violent stupidity in North American politics this year. With the civil war comment by that judge in Texas, unfortunately, I have grave doubts about this being the last event in mindless reactionary political violence and domestic extremist terror.

  6. 6
    Gregory in Seattle

    As I recall, the Parti Québécois is the Francophone party, the ones who have been trying for decades to get Quebec to declare itself independent from the Canadian union. They never got over the French losing them to the English in the French-Indian War.

    At a guess, the gunman was an Anglophone loyalist, who saw a Québécois victory as the first step towards secession and civil war. Extremely unlikely, as the party holds a minority government* and simply does not have that kind of power.

    * Canada has a Westminster system of government. Parties run in the province’s 125 ridings (called districts in the US), with the winner decided by a first-past-the-post tabulation. If a single party wins a majority of seats (63 or more) in the National Assembly (Quebec’s provincial legislature) then the head of that party is invited by the Lieutenant-Governor (the Crown’s representative) to form a government. Typically, the head of the party will become the Premier (Quebec’s provincial president) and then appoint the Cabinet (who head the various departments and committees that actually draft legislation.)

    If no party wins a majority, then the party with the plurality pulls together a coalition of other parties until it has a majority. Minority governments are rare in Canada, but more common in Quebec due to the strength of the Parti Québécois. It is theoretically possible for one party to win a plurality, and the other parties to join together to form the government, but I’ve never hear of that happening.

  7. 7
    blf

    With the growing number of Muslims and other non-Europeans in Quebec [Parti Québécois have] also talked about doing things like banning government workers from wearing overt signs of religion, like the hijab.

    I rather suspect that a T-shaped torture device is not included in the “overt signs of religion”.

  8. 8
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    I don’t even know what that would mean, ‘The English are awakening.’ Any Anglo in the province should have been aware that the PQ had said they were putting separatist issues on the back-burner and concentrating on more pressing issues. In polling, separatists had fallen far behind being able to make it even close if a vote was called on the issue. The guy had to have an over-active and paranoid imagination to feel threatened by a PQ win at this time.

  9. 9
    Shawn

    “they’ve also talked about doing things like banning government workers from wearing overt signs of religion, like the hijab.”

    Which would be fine except there’s an exception. The cross wouldn’t be banned. Oh noooo because Marois says it’s part of our ‘heritage’.

  10. 10
    michaeld

    @7 Actually in Quebec it just might they aren’t very fond of the catholic chuch and of course tabernac (tabernacle) is a swear word in french Canadian slang. Also Quebec has the most common law marriages in Canada. Not to say that they might not favor Christianity but they aren’t really as cozy as one might think.

    If someone wants to learn more look up Quebec and phrase quiet revolution.

  11. 11
    timgueguen

    No, those kind of bans aren’t acceptable. They’re based on all sorts of problematic assumptions, and just play into the martyr complex of authoritarian strains in religions.

  12. 12
    KrazyCaper

    The most likely outcome is that the gunman likely has mental health issues.

    @Gregory in Seattle

    “They never got over the French losing them to the English in the French-Indian War.”

    I would guess that most Quebecois would know little about this and care less. It’s more about how the French were treated in the last 60 – 70 years. While french culture thrives now there was a time when French people/culture was looked down on. While anything but a simple situation, some of the current and past separatist sentiments are likely derived from being made feel like second class citizens.

  13. 13
    DaveH

    Also, it is worth pointing out that separatism in Quebec has a long and often bloody history. Look up the FLQ, for example. Troops in the streets and all that.

    DaveH
    Northern Ontario, Canada

    PS michaeld, nice avatar pic.

  14. 14
    cmv

    A couple of small corrections to Gregory:

    All parties in Quebec are Francophone (or bilingual); the PQ is the largest separatist party.

    While minority governments are rare, Quebec has not actually had more than anyone else historically (twice including now); the PQ have held majorities about half of the time since they were formed in 1968, trading positions with the Liberal party.

    While the PQ is looking for “favourable conditions” to hold a referendum on separation, this is unlikely to lead to civil war. The general consensus is that a majority of voters, if asked a clear question, voting to separate from Canada will lead to negotiations for terms of that separation. There are differences of opinion regarding what those terms would look like, and how much of a majority is needed (50%+1 seems mighty thin). The military will play no role. There have been 2 referenda to date, the second one in the mid-90s coming down to a razor-thin victory on the “No” side, but with a mealy-mouthed question.

  15. 15
    DaveH

    @cmv:

    Worth pointing out that the Supreme Court’s opinion on the matter was that a province or other constiuent entity of a federation only has the right of unilateral sucession if the province doesn’t have “the meaningful exercise of its right to self-determination within an existing nation state”. To quote the opinion:

    For close to 40 of the last 50 years, the Prime Minister of Canada has been a Quebecer. During this period, Quebecers have held from time to time all the most important positions in the federal Cabinet. During the 8 years prior to June 1997, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons were both Quebecers. At present, the Right Honourable Chief Justice and two other members of the Court, the Chief of Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian ambassador to the United States, not to mention the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, are all Quebecers. The international achievements of Quebecers in most fields of human endeavour are too numerous to list. Since the dynamism of the Quebec people has been directed toward the business sector, it has been clearly successful in Quebec, the rest of Canada and abroad.

    Actually, forget all that. That is not the point. The point is that this guy is a crazy and demented loon. The sovereignty debate is not the issue. The fact that he felt the need to kill somebody to make a political statement in a modern democracy is.

  16. 16
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    I think the English are awakening comment might have something to do with the very rhetoric placing separtism on the back burner. As in the US, there are people who are mentally ill who simply don’t have good reality processing filters (the way I don’t when trying to assess my own life and value sometimes – I don’t mean to imply value judgements here). However there are also those groups that don’t have a mental illness per se, but have seriously disordered ways of interacting with the world. The Orly Taitz of Canada see that rhetoric as trying to lull Canadian native English speakers to sleep while PQ works their evil separtist magic behind the scenes. Like the fact that Obama *doesn’t* say something is often supposed to be a tell that he’s working evil in a particular area. Sleep/wake metaphors are often used in those circles in the US, and though I’m only just now becoming familiar with Canadian politics it appears (not just from this incident, but from other things I’ve read) that this is also true up north.

  17. 17
    Didaktylos

    The ironic thing is that the Quebecois are largely descended from Bretons – and there is a modern-day movement among Bretons who want to be independent from France.

  18. 18
    cormacolinde

    Unlike the US media, who love to speculate and throw off wild theories regarding such events, the Canadian and Quebec media are a lot more sober and so far I’ve heard very little of the sort.

    Maybe he’s deranged, sick, or deluded. We will know after he’s interrogated and submitted to a psychatric evaluation. Speculation about his state of mind at the moment is completely useless.

    Others have given commentaries and (mostly) correct information regarding the state of politics in the province, so I won’t repeat it here.

    Regarding the wearing of religious symbols, a lot of people are in favor of banning all of them for public officials and from official buildings, but there is still some resistance.

    Quebec is a strange mix of secularism and cultural catholicism. I say cultural, because the religion itself plays very little part in our society, but we still have a certain attachment to its rituals (baptism, weddings, funerals, christmas mass) and its affiliated organizations (a lot of NGOs and charity groups here are affiliated with the catholic church). I expect this to last for 10-20 more years, while the older generation that still nominally cares about religion dies off, and the younger generations who don’t give a fuck enter the political sphere, before we are completely rid of these last remnants of the catholic beast.

  19. 19
    Synfandel

    I offer a few clarifications of Gregory in Seattle’s civics summation.

    the Parti Québécois is the Francophone party

    All of the parties in Québec politics operate mainly in French, because the majority of the province’s population are Francophone.

    They never got over the French losing them to the English in the French-Indian War.

    The “French-Indian” War is an American term. To everyone else, it was the Seven-Years War. Québecers got over the conquest of New France in 1760 long ago. The separatist movement is not rooted in bitterness over history; it’s based on national aspirations and the sense of social distinctness from English Canada.

    Parties run in the province’s 125 ridings (called districts in the US)

    They are correctly called ‘electoral districts’ in Canada, but the term ‘riding’ is used quite commonly. It comes from the British custom of making the district the size that a man could ride around on horeback in one day. These days, the size is based more on population than on geograpical area, but the term ‘riding’ remains.

    If no party wins a majority, then the party with the plurality pulls together a coalition of other parties until it has a majority.

    Coalitions are extremely rare in Canadian politics, including provincial politics. When a provincial party wins a plurality of seats but not a majority, the province’s Lieutenant Governor calls on the leader of the party that won the plurality to form a government. The government then survives only as long as it can compromise enough to garner temporary support from other parties, usually on an bill-by-bill basis. Typically, a minority government lasts somewhere between a year and three years, but rarely reaches the maximum term of five years before it is defeated in the legislature and an election is called.

    Typically, the head of the party will become the Premier (Quebec’s provincial president).

    A president would be a head of state. The head of state of a Canadian province is Queen Elizabeth II and her representative in Canada is the province’s Lieutenant Governor. The premier is the province’s head of government. It’s an executive position, not a state position.

  20. 20
    abb3w

    As a cynical pragmatist, I disagree that “murder solves nothing”. Cato the Elder could provide a historical counterexample to the basic thesis.

    More accurately, it generally is a solution rather more limited in scope of benefits than those who try it would hope, frequently is less efficient than more clever alternative solutions, and often as a side effect creates problems considerably larger than the original ones it would solve.

  21. 21
    Gregory in Seattle

    Alright, alright, mea culpa. That’s what I get for relying on the US public educational system and friends in British Columbia to understand Quebecois politics.

  22. 22
    jacksmith

    “When will people learn that murder solves nothing?”

    Says who? You? What a strange comment. First off, who said this guy was trying to solve anything? And if he was, perhaps he achieved exactly what he wanted to achieve.

    Making “touchy-feely” comments like these to assert sanctimony is silly. Clearly murder DOES solve things for many people and organizations, else …. uh …. you know …. people wouldn’t be murdered regularly.

    As a straightforward example, just ask the mafia about whether or not murder solves problems for them from time to time. I think they’d differ with your unscientific assessment quite strongly.

    If what you’re really saying is “I think murder is always wrong”, then say so. To assert it solves nothing is not supported by the facts.

  23. 23
    steve oberski

    Well, the Quebec license plate does say “Je me souviens” (I remember) so perhaps keeping alive ancient conflcits is part of the culture.

    I’ve asked a few Quebecois what it is that they are remebering but have never gotten a clear answer.

  24. 24
    Synfandel

    Gregory, your summation was not bad. I’m impressed that you know as much as you do about Québec politics. I generally applaud any American who can find Québec on a map.

  25. 25
    richardh

    the term ‘riding’ is used quite commonly. It comes from the British custom of making the district the size that a man could ride around on horeback in one day.

    Folk etymology. From the Pfft!:

    The word riding is descended from late Old English *þriðing or *þriding (recorded only in Latin contexts or forms, e.g., trehing, treding, trithing, with Latin initial t here representing the Old English letter thorn). It came into Old English as a loanword from Old Norse þriðjungr, meaning a third part (especially of a county), cf. farthing. The modern form riding was the result of initial th being absorbed in the final th or t of the words north, south, east and west, by which it was normally preceded.[2][3]

    A common misconception holds that the term arose from some association between the size of the district and the distance that can be covered on horseback in a certain amount of time.

    The “third part of a county” meaning was preserved in the subdivisions of Yorkshire until 1974.

  26. 26
    ballio

    As a Quebecer that just voted in this election I can offer a few items that may be of general interest to this blog:
    1) The Parti Quebecois would like to introduce “secular” policy that would ban all religious symbols, except for the cross, in public institutions.
    2) This progressive/regressive duality is pervasive in Quebec – the same politicians and parties that endorse secular policies and just social programs are often those that have a strong anti-immigrant bent, even though immigrants are more likely to learn to speak French than us W.A.S.P.Y third or fourth generation anglos in the west end of Montreal (I’ve at least made the effort and enjoy both languages).
    3) As is the case in much of the developed world, nationalism and parochialism are on the rise in the face of an increasingly connected society. The popularity of separation and state-independence in Quebec waxes and wanes, but what persists is a fear of culturally homogenizing forces. Unfortunately, and is often the case, the drive to assert and create a “Quebecois” identity is often given to racism and isolationist policies.
    4) Tension and division over language politics often reach the tipping around election time in Quebec, and this was, sadly, not the first politically-motivated murder in our province.

  27. 27
    raven

    Well, the Quebec license plate does say “Je me souviens” (I remember) so perhaps keeping alive ancient conflcits is part of the culture.

    I’ve asked a few Quebecois what it is that they are remebering but have never gotten a clear answer.

    Maybe it means, they remember where they parked their car.

    Speaking of Quebec loons, no one has mentioned the shooters name. I doubt it has the initials DM but you never know.

  28. 28
    janiceintoronto

    Re: Proposed hijab ban

    From the Toronto Star 5 Sep ’12

    “Marois has also pledged to bring in a secular charter that would prohibit public employees like school teachers and bureaucrats from wearing religious symbols like head Muslim headscarves and Jewish kippas in the workplace. That same charter would exempt symbols belonging to the Catholic faith, like the crucifix hanging in Quebec’s National Assembly, which the PQ claims are part of the province’s history and heritage.”

    So the crosses can stay up, but everyone else is outta luck. Now that’s some kind of equality, ain’t it?

  29. 29
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    Raven @27:

    I was going to make the DM reference, but thought it was one of those ‘too easy, writes itself’ things. ;)

  30. 30
    chigau (違う)

    There were a large number of “Indians” involved in the “history and heritage” of Quebec.
    How come their religious symbols don’t count?
    /rhetorical

  31. 31
    maudell

    From my experience in Quebec since 1995, no one is really speaking of separation in the PQ, it’s not a threat (which is why there was a new party, Option Nationale, with a purely independentist platform). For people familiar with the clashes of culture in Quebec in the 2000s, it is almost purely due to language laws, not separation per se. Since there are laws for French education and French signs in businesses, many anglos see that as a racist repressive state.
    Now I don’t know, the shooter might have been sleeping for 20 years, but it is much more likely his actions are due to language issues.

  32. 32
    David

    CBC news has reported the suspect is a 62-year old man named Richard Henry Bain.

    So pointless. He seems to be a Quebec anglophone that is enraged by the PQ victory. As if that was some kind of ‘reason’ for this despicable act.

  33. 33
    Synfandel

    richardh, well spotted. Apparently, I had bought the “common misconception” about the origin of the term “riding”. I’ve learned something. Can I go home now?

  34. 34
    DaveH

    “Can I go home now?”.

    No. Not until the indoctrination is complete.

  35. 35
    peicurmudgeon

    I suspect that Bain (Bain=killer. Definitely a reference to Bain Capital), is an individual with serious anger issues who exploded in violence from his own frustrations. The Quebec campaign was bery heated this time, and perhaps the rhetoric and the election result were the triggers.

    I really don’t see this as a political incident or as the result of any movement.

  36. 36
    Ing

    “Can I go home now?”.

    No. Not until the indoctrination is complete.

    THIS HURTS YOU. ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL

  37. 37
    Ing

    “When will people learn that murder solves nothing?”

    Says who? You? What a strange comment. First off, who said this guy was trying to solve anything? And if he was, perhaps he achieved exactly what he wanted to achieve.

    Making “touchy-feely” comments like these to assert sanctimony is silly. Clearly murder DOES solve things for many people and organizations, else …. uh …. you know …. people wouldn’t be murdered regularly.

    As a straightforward example, just ask the mafia about whether or not murder solves problems for them from time to time. I think they’d differ with your unscientific assessment quite strongly.

    If what you’re really saying is “I think murder is always wrong”, then say so. To assert it solves nothing is not supported by the facts.

    Hey JM I think we found your soul mate.

    christ what an asshole

  38. 38
    screechymonkey

    Gregory@6:

    It is theoretically possible for one party to win a plurality, and the other parties to join together to form the government, but I’ve never hear of that happening.

    At least one provincial instance I can think of: Ontario in 1985, when Frank Miller’s Tories won a very slight plurality, but the Liberals under David Peterson and the NDP under Bob Rae signed an accord. Technically that wasn’t a coalition: the NDP did not obtain cabinet posts or sit with the government, they merely agreed to support the Liberals on all confidence votes in exchange for certain policy concessions.

    It also happened at the federal level in 1925, when the incumbent Liberals won only 101 seats compared to the Conservatives’ 116, but remained in power due to the support of the Progressive Party and their 28 seats. (Again, it wasn’t a coalition.) About a year later, the Liberals lost the support of the Progressives and Prime Minister Mackenzie King asked the Governor General Byng to dissolve Parliament and call a new election. Byng refused, sparking a constitutional crisis of sorts, and invited the Conservatives to form a government, which didn’t last long.

    And it almost happened again recently, when the Liberals and NDP banded together, with support from the Bloc Quebecois, and advised the Governor General that they could form a government with a majority in the Commons, although it was the Conservatives who held the most seats. Prime Minister Harper successfully persuaded the GG to prorogue Parliament instead, and by the time it returned the proposed coalition had fallen apart.

  39. 39
    lordshipmayhem

    The biggest problem the PQ has is that it’s trying to balance (1) getting elected and actually running the province with (2) dealing with the hard-core séparatistes who don’t really care about making the Province work within Canada, but rather prefer their gossamer dreams of a Republic of Quebec that includes Labrador and northern Quebec – areas whose residents patently want little to nothing to do with such a concept.

    And make no mistake: there’s a large element of racism involved in the PQ stance. If you’re not “pure laine”, you’re not considered REAL Québécois, even if your family has lived here since the War of 1812 (for that matter, even if your family was living here hundreds of years before Samuel de Champlain was even born). I’ve heard from friends who went to or through Quebec and getting deliberately terrible service – in one case, they were told the campground was full. When the campground owner heard the family talking to each other in Hungarian, then he realized these might not be “les anglos”. After confirming they weren’t from Ontario, he suddenly discovered that he DID have some sites available.

    Add to that kind of petty discrimination a hefty dose of anger management issues, and you’ve got the recipe for a nutbar walking into the PQ victory party and letting loose a few rounds.

  40. 40
    whheydt

    IIRC (and it’s not a topic I pay especially close attention to), the last time there were at least semi-serious negotiations over regional autonomy or secession for Quebec, they discussions foundered on two issues…

    One being what part of the Canadian national debt Quebec would have to assume when such a separation took place (and at least one article on the current incident noted that Quebec has a fairly substantial debt of its own).

    The other being that some of the Native American groups in northern Quebec (the parts with *substantial* hydroelectric facilities) wanted the right to separate from Quebec if Quebec got to separate from Canada. The Quebec side of the negotiations was adamantly opposed to letting the northern regions go, while the national government took a “what’s sauce for goose…” approach.

    On the “killing never solves anything”…that kind of depends on just what one is trying to solve, plus how much one is willing to live with the consequences. For example…if the goal is to stop Osama bin Laden from being in charge of Al Qaida, then killing him solves that “problem”…even though it creates a host of others. See also the death of Archduke Ferdinand…

    –W. H. Heydt

  41. 41
    broboxley OT

    I lived In a suburb on Montreal from 1973-1976 The issues of that time were a very real exclusion of the french from all aspects of the Anglais Rule. Discrimination was blatant, obvious, and bitter. Not much different than the American Deep south of the 1960′s. Around that time the French rose up and voted for home rule. The Anglo business powerhouses all left for Toronto so they wouldn’t have to learn to speak in the language or write in the language of the province where their rule had just ended.

    Yes the Bloc’s get discriminated against a bit in Quebec just like the french are hated in the other 9 provinces and treated only slightly better than the aboriginals.

  42. 42
    David Marjanović

    the Quebecois are largely descended from Bretons

    Huh. Ref, please!

    The other being that some of the Native American groups in northern Quebec (the parts with *substantial* hydroelectric facilities) wanted the right to separate from Quebec if Quebec got to separate from Canada.

    Yeah. The borders of the province and the borders of the French-speaking region don’t have much in common.

  43. 43
    DaveH

    @David Marjanović:

    And there is stuff like Churchill Falls. A hyrdoelectric station in Newfoundland and Labrador, about 2/3 owned by NL&L, the other 1/3 by Quebec. But because the power has to or be sold to or through Quebec, NL&L, Quebec gets $1.7 billion per year, NL&L $63 MILLION (according to ex-NL&L Premier Danny Williams, so grain of salt and such).

  44. 44
    tomfrog

    The ironic thing is that the Quebecois are largely descended from Bretons – and there is a modern-day movement among Bretons who want to be independent from France. (@Didaktylos, #17)

    Those “modern-day” movements in France are quite the fringe actually. Since regional customs are allowed again, things have gotten better (you’re allowed to speak/learn regional languages when it was once forbidden for example).

    I guess the worst case could well be Corsica and even there I think (not very persuasive I know) it has more to do with some people not wanting pricey villas for Parisians built on the coastline and things like that (things for which I would probably agree, except they blow the houses with explosives).

    People realize that even if you could leave France (which I don’t think you could), you can certainly not leave Europe so as long as France plays it cool, things are cool (well, except on some occasions, did I mention houses being blown away?)

  45. 45
    ck

    So the crosses can stay up, but everyone else is outta luck. Now that’s some kind of equality, ain’t it?

    I don’t see how this kind of law could ever survive a challenge from section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms unless they want to invoke the “notwithstanding clause”, and be forced to renew this law every few years.

  46. 46
    DaveH

    unless they want to invoke the “notwithstanding clause”

    Which Quebec has historically been more willing to do than anyone, though they haven’t had to use it for a few years since they got chided by the UN Human Rights Council, and rewrote their language laws to conform to the Charter. Politically, it might be touchy, might not. The notwithstanding clause isn’t very popular.

  47. 47
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    Don’t read too much into the PQ’s election this time.

    This was mostly a protest vote against Jean Charest, the current crook from Parti Liberal (don’t let the name fool you, Charest is first and foremost a conservative with quite amiable relationships with Harper & co). Charest is involved with a series of shady dealings with his decadently rich friends, ranging from illegal contract attribution to distribution of daycare permits to specially connected people to the cheap sale of our natural ressources.

    Charest, in a despicable attempt at strategy, simmered the student protests in the hope of making people forget about the forthcoming results of a public inquiry involving his government, the results of which were due this september.

    Everyday he would beat his chest pretending to be the only one who could keep society from erupting into chaos by bravely standing up (with pepper spray, rubber bullets, beatings and mass arrests) to the “intimidation” and “violence” of student protests. When even he could see that most people found this laughable, he propped up the fear of “political instability” of a PQ government.

    It somewhat worked since despite all this, the election was a very close thing – even though Charest himself was beaten on his home turf.

    I rather suspect that a T-shaped torture device is not included in the “overt signs of religion”.

    PQ was born during the revolution tranquille and holds no love for any flavor of xianity.

    Religious school boards became linguistic school boards under a PQ government, and it is among the PQ’s current policies to introduce a “Secular Charter” (Charte de la Laïcité).

    Opening your mouth about your religious convictions in an election in Quebec is an almost certain way to lose. We still remember the children of Duplessis.

    I suspect that Bain (Bain=killer. Definitely a reference to Bain Capital), is an individual with serious anger issues who exploded in violence from his own frustrations.

    I suspect some of Bain’s issues are serious mental health ones.

    The guy was wearing a bathrobe and mumbling incoherent nonsense, for dog’s sake. I saw him arrested and he did not look sane.

  48. 48
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    @lordshipmayhem

    There’s a special reciprocated hatred between Ontario and Quebec that’s not really there in other provinces.

    As I remember from my early visits as a teenager speaking mangled frenglish, people with suspiscious french accents tend to be very badly treated in Ontario.

    I have less problems now because I’ve acquired a weird, hard to pinpoint british-indian accent from associating with a bunch of bengalis.

  49. 49
    blf

    On “riding”, from the Online Entomology Dictionary:

    riding
    One of the three districts into which Yorkshire was divided, 1295, from late O.E. *þriðing, a relic of Viking rule, from O.N. ðriðjungr “third part,” from ðriði “third” (see third). The initial consonant merged with final consonant of preceding north, west, or east.

  50. 50
    Thomathy, Such A 'Mo

    An unfortunate event. I can’t say more.

    On the matter of the PQ’s win, however, I can say more and I’ll have to echo kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith. Quebec voters have a history of voting …strategically …in order, largely, to punish a person or a party that they believe have wronged them.

    This win is not an indication that sovereignty is on the horizon. The rhetoric from the PQ, confused as it may seem, firmly establishes that sovereignty won’t be an issue …for now.

    Not that it matters very much anyhow, as was pointed out up thread, since Quebec has no grounds on which to unilaterally secede from the union (never mind that due to the requirement of the Clarity Act that all provinces be a part of the negotiation, any negotiation would probably break down, especially considering that mouthy piece of illegitimate Quebec legislation wordily titled, An Act respecting the exercise of the fundamental rights and prerogatives of the Québec people and the Québec State).

    Besides which, the matter of sovereignty was put to rest at the national level by PM Stephen Harper when, in his singularly calculated way, he made the ingenious decision to declare Quebec (and I’ll parahprase) a nation within a nation. No matter how it’s sliced, Quebec won’t be seceding. Not least of all because a majority of Quebecois aren’t sovereigntists.

  51. 51
    Thomathy, Such A 'Mo

    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith, I hardly think that the animosity between Quebec’s and Ontario’s citizens remains as anything real among the majority. It was once, though.

  52. 52
    hellboundallee

    The guy was for the Federalists.

    The Parti may have won, but the politics are actually shifting further to the right.

  53. 53
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    The guy was for the Federalists.

    And apparently gave much importance to religion in his life.

    Among the comments from people who know him is a weird statement about how he gave up a deal with another businessman because “he was not enough of a good xian” (this kind of comment here is regarded as weird and cultish).

    He is also described as hating people speaking french around him, and calling them names.

    The more we learn about the guy, the more I think the only sane thing he should have done for his own wellbeing was to get the hell out of quebec.

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