When I saw this cover, and I read this cheap little story I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I wondered how desperate Maclean's must be to try to boost it readership by slandering an entire province, and whipping up anti-Quebec feeling. But mostly I thought here we go again.
What part of this country doesn't now hate another? If it isn't East versus West, North versus South, it's urban versus rural, the educated against the ignorant, or everybody against Toronto, and now English Canada against Quebec.
And I wonder where are we going, and whether Canadians ever stop to think where all this animus will lead us?
As you know I have one foot in each solitude, and I love the idea of a vibrant French-speaking nation in a united Canada. I think it makes us stronger, and helps protect us from the greatest threat to our survival, the mad dying elephant south of the border.
But sadly many in English Canada never recovered from the last referendum. And you only have to read the comments in newspapers and blogs whenever the subject of Quebec comes up to realize this hate is now massive and pathological. So crass and ugly I try to hide those comments from my French-speaking Québécois companion who still believes in the goodness of this country.
I don't know if Quebec is more politically corrupt than other provinces. I very much doubt it. What I do know is that René Lévesque's Parti Québécois was the first government in Canada to reform the way political parties are financed. More than thirty years ago.
I also know that the Liberal sponsorship scandal happened because English Canada didn't understand Quebec. So we tottered blindly to the edge of the abyss, and then tried desperately to BUY the love of the province. When in fact Quebecers didn't want to be bought, they just wanted to be respected for who they are.
There may be particular reasons, for some of the scandals in the province. The state of the Liberal Party, and a culture of goonery in some construction unions. But the way Andrew Coyne goes poking around the history of the province, like a soothsayer massages a goat's guts, is absolutely ridiculous.
And intellectually dishonest. Because this is what really bothers Coyne:
Moreover, the distended role of the state in the economy under the Quebec Inc. model, its heavy use of subsidies and other tools of intervention, created a strong incentive to win the favour of those in power, by fair means or foul.
And the real reason he is always putting down the province is because he's a Con, the son of a Bank of Canada Governor, who believes in a survival of the fittest capitalism, and most Quebecers reject his party and his values.
They believe in the power of government to act in the best interests of its people,like many successful European states. As a result they have things like a cheap daycare program, a juvenile offender system that seeks to rehabilitate instead of just punish. And even a government commission looking into the problem of homophobia.
So many English Canadians have become so Americanized they don't realize that Quebec is the last bastion of Canadian values. But Coyne does and that's why he could write something as absurd as this:
Healthy political cultures are marked by contestability: results are unpredictable, success is incremental, and neither victory nor defeat are ever far from view. But the tendency, in federal politics, for Quebecers to throw their support to one party or another en bloc—and the province’s outsized importance, therefore, in deciding elections—has given rise to a peculiar set of pathologies.
And forget to mention Alberta, the one-party
Because one can't help feel that Coyne, like so many other Cons, would love it if the province left Canada, so the country would be conservative FOREVER. Just like Britain would be a conservative country if Scotland separated.
Oh boy. I don't know where we are going. What I do know is that we are heading for a bad place. Because a nation that hates itself will not long survive.
I also know that as much as I like this big beautiful country the way it is, if the day should ever arrive that Quebec is forced to leave, because of all the hatred, and because it wants to preserve its Canadian values in a nation that longer believes in them.
It would rip my heart out. But I'll be going with them.
However. since I'm still an optimist eh? If I was in Montreal tonight, I'd tell my Québécois friends, what I tell Sébastien.
Don't listen to the ignorant bigots, for they know not what they say.
One day hopefully, before it's too late, some of them at least will realize their terrible mistake and love you.
Almost as much as I do...
Because it IS a feeling eh?
And if we can't share it, one day we will lose it...