Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Marois has a seat in the National Assembly, politics changing in Quebec

Pauline Marois, the new leader of the Parti Québecois, has won the by-election in the constituency of Charlevoix.

What does this mean for Québec and the rest of Canada? For federalists, this is in fact good news. Marois has stated that she, at least at this time, doesn't have the intention of pursuing the dominant sovereignty aspect of the PQ's platform. So with Marois winning this seat with 59% of the vote, showing her popularity, it means that Marois should be sticking around for awhile holding back the sovereignty agenda. What she'll do in the Assembly is something that we'll have to keep an eye on.

This adds to the list of recent events that shows a change in direction of Québec politics. All of a sudden in the past year, we have experienced the following:
- the first minority government in Québec since the 1800s
- the rise of a Francophone conservative party (the ADQ), and its position as the Official Opposition
- the federal Conservative Party going from zero to ten seats in Québec in one election, followed by another seat in a by-election
- an uncontested female leader of the PQ who has no immediate intention of pursing the sovereignty of Québec
- the first NDP MP in Québec since 1970

Remember Québec in the 60s and 70s? The passion, the patriotism, the anger of the public were all present; people were genuinely involved and passionate about the future of their province. Also, people were fairly centre-left. Nowadays, it seems as history is no longer an insight into Québec politics. More and more people are going Right to the conservatives, which thirty years ago would have been unthinkable.

In the August 13th edition of Maclean's, Québec filmmaker Pierre Falardeau was quoted as saying, "Quebecers have become imbeciles. This is a population that lives in the suburbs and shops at Wal-Mart. It's a collective problem. Where are the intellectuals? Where are the artists? Where are the thinkers, the ones who are meant to make us reflect?"

While many people would disagree with that interpretation, the former revolutionary-type province of Québec is changing. How much more it will go to the Right, and be like the rest of Canada, is yet to be determined.

Monday, September 24, 2007

California politicians close to deal on health care

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is close to reaching a deal with the opposition Democratic Party on introducing universal medical coverage in the State of California.

While members of Schwarzenegger's Republican Party are very skeptical about it, and even publically against it, many of the groups who are traditionally against such health care reforms haven't really spoken out against it as was expected. Some major corporations aren't even really against it as they, too, are facing problems with rising health care costs.

Click here to read Schwarzenegger's health reform plan

A recent poll found that 72% of Californian adults support the governor's plan.

Isn't it great to see that even a Republican governor is fighting for health care for all, regardless of their ability to pay? We should all hope that this will go forward and become law in California. Between Schwarzenegger and the two leading federal Democratic leadership candidates, the health of low-income Americans is looking a lot better.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thibault to be questioned by National Assembly

A former lieutenant-governor of Québec, Lise Thibault, has been asked by all three parties of the National Assembly to explain some excessive expenses before the Public Administration Commission.

These excessive expenses, in fact, totalled up to $700,000 which she spent on personal gifts and meals; sometimes these expenses of hers were made simultaneously in different cities! During media questioning, she has said that she doesn't regret anything.

In my opinion, it is despicable for a public official to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of non-business expenses using tax money. While she did have some 'royalness' because of her position, that still doesn't make her the God of our money to do whatever she pleases with it.

The Commission is investigating to ensure that this doesn't happen again, and the president, Gilles Taillon (ADQ MNA), even mentioned criminal charges. In the case that these were wrongful expenses of tax money, I hope that the Commission will find out information that could possibly create criminal charges against Thibault, like anyone else, doesn't have the right to misspend so much of other people's money; money that could have been put to healthcare or other beneficial programs.

This case is not closed yet; we'll have to see what the Commission finds out and decides. After Thibault has made her appearance, I'll blog on this again.

P.S. What are your thoughts on this potential scandal? Have any other info? Please leave a comment.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Outremont and Quebec politics

I noticed something recently, there is currently no Blogging Dipper who is regularly blogging on Québec politics. For that reason I am going to take up monitering Québec politics along with federal and Saskatchewan politics, until a Québec resident takes up blogging from the NDP perspective. Since it is necessary that the NDP be an active and noticed presence in Québec for it to make significant gains, there needs to be a blogger who regularly provides his or her take on Québec politics.

Since I have a new 'mandate' in my blogging, I will try to blog more in the future, time permitting.

And finally, my best wishes to Thomas Mulcair in Outremont tonight, along with the other two NDP candidates in the Québec by-elections. Let's get Thomas in the House!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fall federal election to go with provincial elections?

Stephen Harper has finally decided that he'd like to wipe the order papers free of the opposition's bills from last spring and start a new session with a throne speech. Of course, a throne speech brings up a very good point for the opposition parties to call an election.

Already, Gilles Duceppe, leader of the Bloc Québecois, has said that his party will vote against the throne speech if it does not make a firm commitment that Canada will withdraw from Afghanistan in February of 2009. Stéphane Dion, leader of the Liberal Party, has stated that his party will vote against it if it doesn't say that it will comply with Kyoto.

So it is starting to look quite possible to have a fall federal election. However, the opposition parties may be a bit more reluctant (hopefully they'll be reluctant, for the sake of election workers) to bring down the government when there is an Ontario election scheduled for October and the likelihood of a Saskatchewan election, too.

While I think it is a good idea to end this Harper-cratic government as soon as possible, I just don't think this fall is the time for that; let's wait until spring.