Monday, February 23, 2009

An Economics Lesson from Pauline Marois

Oh! This one is rich (pun sort of intended.)

Pauline Marois (who has been accused of talking and acting too much like a rich person, get it?! Get it!?) , the leader of the seperatist, opposition Parti Quebecois has suggested that the panacea for Quebec in the latest global economic crisis is, you guessed it, the same as the miracle cure for everything else awry in Quebec, separation, independence! In a rough translation from her speech at a PQ party meeting Ms. Marois said that sovereignty is the cure because with it Quebec can: 'have more leeway to develop a strategic economic plan, support workers and families. We [Quebec] would not have to waste our energy on pilgrimages to Ottawa.' Well, there may be a kernel of truth in that statement, but if saving energy is what this is about, I can suggest a few other ways Ms. Marois can clear her schedule.

For example, perhaps Ms. Marois can, rather than threaten to break up Canada, make more efforts to work collaboratively with other Canadians who want a strong unified Canada which would include a strong, culturally vibrant Quebec. Cooperation tends to be far easier than confrontation and contrariness, I find. With the extra energy, perhaps Ms. Marois could then propose some ideas to lift Quebec from its artificial "have-not" province status and let it become the powerhouse that it should be. Unfortunately though, it seems that any spare time Ms. Marois has will be spent putting together an actual plan to guide Quebec towards sovereignty because it seems she doesn't even have one. All she knows is that once it happens, however it happens, it'll be grand, and all will be right in the world (provided you're not a patient in a Quebec hospital).

I find it a little insulting to the intelligence of Quebecois to tell them that sovereignty will somehow cure their economic woes. Never mind that prior to the 1995 Quebec referendum the Canadian dollar fell over 2 full cents--a strong indicator that talk of separation and political instability are bad for the economy. Never mind the billions of transfer payments that Quebec City received from Ottawa every year either. What is so insulting, is that as the world is in economic shambles, the WHOLE world, Ms. Marois thinks that Quebecois will accept that the reason Quebec is suffering, is that it is part of Canada.

I hope I'm right and Quebecois will see through this, but I have my fears. Parties in power during hard economic times rarely do well when it comes time to return to the polls. Though in Quebec this may be several years off, with the right of centre ADQ party leaderless as of today, and the federalist Liberal party as the incumbent, I hope the PQ do not gain any momentum with their reductio ad absurdum strategy.

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