O’ Quebec, why hast thou forsaken progressivism?

Quebec used to be what made Canada cooler than the US.  With a genuine social democracy, a childcare program the envy of the rest of us backwards provinces and more affordable tuition, Quebec was arguably the sole reason why our federal politicians couldn’t drift too far to the right like their American counterparts.

With Quebec now having shifted drastically to the right after Monday’s election, it looks like all that’s over.  The surge of Mario Dumont’s far-right ADQ is even making waves in Britain where The Independent is calling Dumont (correctly, in my opinion), Canada’s Le Pen.

Moreover, if the surge of the ADQ was not enough, this nice little bit of propaganda does a good job of adding insult to injury.

The article notes that “The legacy of those years – Quebec’s vaunted welfare model – is now under the strain of an aging population, while Quebecers have made sport of grumbling about high taxes and longer emergency-room wait times.”

So I guess the archaic legacy of progressivism in Quebec is their welfare model which is under the strain of an aging population (damn baby-boomers and their stubborn aging).  And, apparently, emergency wait times would be improved if it weren’t for the government of Quebec spending all that money on, you know, doctors and stuff. 

I guess I missed that memo.

With Quebec now shifting to the right, the real question becomes, which province will keep our already right-wing federal politicians from having the incentive from becoming more like their American counterparts?  Ontario?  BC?  Neither seems like it would step up to the plate.

So, despite the fact that the people of Quebec had a truly progressive and fresh option (Québec solidaire) to chose from that was polling at the highest rates seen by any genuine left-wing party in this country since before the days of the NDP, “Le Pen”-lite is now being portrayed by the media as the “fresh new face” of Quebec politics.  And, what is worse, the media is praising this as a vindication for the unity of Canada when, in actuality, all it merely does is shift the threat to Canadian unity away from internal fracture to even further and deeper economic subjugation from abroad.

The politics of “Le Pen”-lite, flat taxes and hyper-capitalism are neither new nor are they fresh, and we should start treating them accordingly.

14 Responses to “O’ Quebec, why hast thou forsaken progressivism?”

  1. 1 Annie 29 March, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    Is Dumont not a Closet separatist, and a good friend of Harper.. now that is a good laugh!

  2. 2 devsmind 29 March, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    Annie: Dumont is a federalist, but he supports Quebec having more independence as a province (if that makes sense).

    I’m pleased with the outcome of the election. I would have liked to see the ADQ form the government, but I can wait until the next Quebec election for that.

  3. 3 ferrethouse 29 March, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    Proof that socialism is an attractive theory but fails miserably in practice. How many times must it fail before you folks get it – IT DOESN’T WORK! We don’t need to bring up the extreme socialist countries like Cuba and the former USSR to prove our point. Just look at Sweden’s move away from socialism. Ireland has moved away from it. And now Quebec. And don’t give me this “progressivism” crap. Without competition we would still be amoebas. And that isn’t very “progressive”. How much “progress” is made in Cuba? You should be calling it “backwardism” or “counter-productivism” or “anti-human naturism” or “anti-instictivism”.

  4. 4 paulitics 29 March, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    Ferrethouse – since you’ve clearly never read Marx and get your information about him from places like National News Watch and the National Enquirer, I’ll assume you have no interest in what socialism actually is. That said, in the off chance that I’m wrong and you’re actually interested in learning something, I’ve discussed the fallacy of your argument in depth here:


    If you want to argue that socialism is misplaced, then it is intellectually dishonest to say that it doesn’t work considering that IT’S NEVER BEEN TRIED (you can, however, be intellectually honest can claim that it doesn’t work in theory). Cuba, Quebec, Sweeden, China, the USSSR: none of these were socialist (and certainly Ireland has never even approached socialism). Quebec was always pure capitalistic and the others were state capitalistic (except Sweeden which has only been social democratic). State Capitalism is not Socialism and if you had bothered to read something before demonstrating your ignorance, then you’d know that.

  5. 5 Larry Gambone 29 March, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    Just wait till these scum actually try to force Quebec to the far right. Remember what the students did to Charest. The ADQ’s support is a mile wide and an inch deep. People voted for them because they did not want a referendum and they hated Charest. Combined, SQ and the Greens got about 8% of the vote, and the Quebec Greens are well to the left of the Fed Greens. As well, there are a great number of community organizations etc. Things could get hot in Quebec. It could back fire on the loony right.

  6. 6 Larry Gambone 29 March, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    By the way, I second you on ferret’s total ignorance over what socialism is. It is not state capitalism. What socialism is can be seen in http://porkupineblog.blogspot.com/2006/05/myth-of-socialism-as-statism.html

  7. 7 Jorge P. 30 March, 2007 at 12:49 am

    It is so convenient to say that socialism has never been tried, what does that even mean? How many more Soviet Unions and North Koreas does the world need until the “real” socialism finally reveals itself. It has never been tried because it is impossible! It is merely a utopian theory hammered into the heads of young idealists who deny historical case studies. The fact is that it has been tried but fails every time. Western politics is finally reaching a level or rationalism that has been missed since Reagan and Thatcher.

  8. 8 paulitics 30 March, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Jorge P. – Considering that people who’ve never read Marx feel that they have some sort of privileged position to be able to write statements like that, I would argue that it is actually profoundly inconvenient that state capitalism isn’t socialism.

    I’ll refer you to my earlier comment & linked post.

    I also suggest that you read Marx and if, after having read Marx, you can find virtually ANYTING of similarity between what he wrote and what the USSR and North Korea have done, then do let me know because, as a genuine Marxist scholar who actually knows what he’s talking about, I can tell you it’s slim pickin’s in terms of any similarities.

    Indeed Marx himself would have abhored both the USSR and North Korea and a huge corpus of his writings (for people who actually bother to read them) demonstrate this fact conclusively.

  9. 9 Terry 30 March, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Well argued Paul. A true Marxist society has never been achieved, not yet anyway.

    Jorge P. – You argue that Marxism is ‘merely a utopian theory hammered into the heads of young idealists who deny historical case studies’ and then you seem to confuse the term ‘rationalism’ with Reagan and Thatcher!? Is that what the television told you? You see, those ‘historical case studies’ don’t exist, and Reagan and Thatcher aren’t even in the same room as ‘rationalism’ – fascism perhaps, but not ‘rationalism’.

    I’d argue that capitalism is the most abhorrent ideology ever devised by mankind. If you support that then you must support the exploitation of other human beings, children even; you must support the plundering of our planet, and the destruction of our ecosystem; you must support mass murder in the name of profit, the ownership of everything of any value, not just in the material world, but every concept, every idea, every thought; you are supporting the destruction of our entire species and the planet that gives us life. Please don’t talk about ‘rationality’.

    Perhaps, I’m being melodramatic – it’s late, I’m tired – but seriously, what will it take to wake you people up. Capitalism is responsible for more bloodshed, pain, suffering, exploitation, alienation, poverty, disease and death than any other concept ever devised.

    Do yourself and the rest of the world a favour and educate yourself properly and critically. Have you ever read Marx, Engels, Lukacs, Sartre, Gramsci, Weber, Adorno, Foucault, Althusser, Jameson? Nietzsche even? Enlighten yourself and see the world for how it truly is.

    Viva la Revolution!

  10. 10 Lina 30 March, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    Although I do not and probably never will consider myself an expert in any realm of politics, I am observant. So, however insubstantial my theory may be, you cannot discredit my observations.

    I work with children, and therefore, I am able to see first-hand how our government affects its most vulnerable bystanders.

    “Quebec is now moving in the right direction,” Gelso (Coalition des Esprits Libres) says. “It’s moving more towards rationalism, a more free-thinking society and … trying to stop government paternalism.”

    Rationalism states that the criterion of truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive. Ah, yes, of course. Reducing people into cold calculations and colourful pie charts does make me sleep better at night (with a mattress stuffed full of money). As for “Free-thinking,” could someone please explain to me how this shift equates to freedom of thought?

    I also greatly resent the use of the pejorative words “government paternalism” because I believe that governments should be, at least in some sense of the word, “paternal” (though not indulgent). After all, parents take care of you when you can’t take care of yourself, provide you with the tools necessary to become independent, and of course, punish you when you break the rules.

    The children I work with are barely scraping by on the social assistance they have. Currently, they do not have clean drinking water and many do not have enough food to eat. I know that it sounds like I work in Rwanda, but I don’t. This is in Canada; Alberta, in fact. So add to the list: extreme neglect, abuse, alcoholism and drug addiction.

    Now, due to the few (though inadequate) social programs we have, bottled water is being shipped in and families are receiving welfare cheques. For people making comments equating capitalism to freedom, come work with me. When you have a child tell you that their biggest goal in life is to get off of welfare, maybe you’ll understand that these programs do not “coddle” the population. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” inherently refutes the idea that Socialism is overprotective or indulgent.

  11. 11 paulitics 1 April, 2007 at 9:43 am

    Alina, as always, magnificently put.

    I don’t think that any amount of the theory that I would have responded with would have been half as powerful as your comment. I don’t think there’s anything that I can add to that.

  12. 12 Dan 1 April, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    I wonder, with Sarkozy in France as well as Dumont in Quebec, whether the Francophone populations of the world are on the verge of the sort of reactionary revolution (counter-revolution?) that the anglosphere has had to endure for the past quarter-century or so (starting with Reagan and Thatcher).

    If that’s the case, it is, as The Rheostatics once said, a bad time to be poor.

  13. 13 jaimepaslasoupe 9 April, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    Quebecers (like myself) voted for the ADQ for a couple of reasons. Let me share my reasons :
    -After 40 years of existence, the “PARTI QUÉBÉCOIS” just couldn’t put anything new on the table except the status quo (considered unacceptable by the majority of quebecers). Our debt is too large, our infrastructures are crumbling, education and healthcare need a lot of rework.
    -I don’t want another referendum (even though I voted YES the last time and I would vote YES if the chance occurred). The PQ wanted a referendum ASAP even if they had no chance of winning. A really stupid idea.
    -The liberals made the exact same promises as in 2003 (wich they miserably failed to deliver). They were very unpopular during their mandate and it showed in this election, no one “bought it”
    this time around.
    -The ADQ is far from perfect, I don’t agree on everything with them BUT still, they were the only party to propose a form of “realism” in their spending plan.
    -Quebec is the poorest province in CANADA…we don’t need more social programs.

  14. 14 paulitics 10 April, 2007 at 2:23 am

    Silly me, and here I’ve been going around all this time advocating social programs because I want people to be poor and because that’s a natural consequence of them.

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