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Media Failures During Quebec Election Campaign

The Grope and Fail has decided to endorse a CAQ / Liberal ‘agreement’ of sorts .

If we could wish anything for Quebec, it would be a minority alliance of the established Liberals and upstart CAQ, one that melds experience, daring and willingess to work with the rest of Canada on our shared challenges that lie ahead. It is an imperfect comparison, but on another Sept. 4 (1984), Brian Mulroney brought together similarly strange bedfellows. It worked for a time at the federal level. Quebeckers may hope for a provincial alliance that may just produce a new and better age in Quebec politics.

Their editorial is quite funny, entertaining, really.  It oozes of the usual right winged hypocrisies among things. Hypocrisy because I seem to remember that writers of that very same paper all stoking populist anger amongst the masses when in the fall of 2008,  federally, the Liberals and the NDP were setting up a coalition of sorts with an agreement with the Bloc Quebecois that they would back them for a year.  It confirms what I’ve known all along… coalitions, agreements and cooperation are only ok if the parties in question are right winged or have no Quebec nationalist bent.  Really rich.  I won’t say it’s illegitimate, illegal or even unconstitutional as most of them claimed about that fateful 2008 coalition agreement between the 3 center left parties, because it isn’t.  A precedent in Ontario of the 1980s between then NDP’s Bob Rae and Liberal’s David Peterson, if anyone remembers and it seemed to function for a period of time.  I just want to point out the latest conservative hypocrisy in corporate media these days.  Worse, most of those Angryphones of the West of Montreal who all called CJAD, slamming that fateful coalition in 2008 with the feds will all be ga ga giddy over the potential of some quasi coalition between CAQ and the Liberals.

In fact I predict that if the Parti-Quebecois merely eke out a minority,  that’s exactly what CAQ and the Liberals will do. If the polls are to be believed, it would appear that CAQ and the Liberals could easily win more seats combined than the PQ will.

Oh sure, ol’ Franky Legault can protest and deny all he likes that he will never form a coalition or agreement with the Liberals, saying that they’re too corrupt, but in reality, the construction scandals are a decades old problem that go way back before ol’ Premier Johnny-boy Charest.  However, Franky Legault doesn’t have clean hands himself. Furthermore, both parties have very similar right winged values and both want to either hold on to or gain power.  Also, let’s not forget that Franky Legault has said time and time again that his party were the “Parti de l’Entrepreneur” — The party of business.  We have all seen what damage “parties of business”  do and we all know and have seen not only in Canada, what effect political parties and big business have when they collude.

We must also not forget that some of Franky Legault’s candidates are not so squeaky clean. For example, his star candidate and health guru for the party, Dr. Gaetan Barrette running in Terrebonne may not be so clean himself. He is to appear in court this month for illegal lobbying along with a colleague this month . Google translation here .   Another example of the media’s failings.  After much search, the only paper to have carried this story to date was La Presse .  It appears that La Presse didn’t really carry this further. Dr. Gaetan Barrette is getting an easy pass here.

Maud Cohen, another candidate running in Laval-des-Rapide was the head of the Order of Engineers. They have been no strangers to the scandals plaguing this province as engineering companies were being embroiled in these scandals. Why did no one ask her why she didn’t do anything about the corruption? As head of the Order of Engineers, she could’ve made a difference.

The PQ to some degree did not escape these systemic problems.   In fact, one good question I’ve noticed the media hasn’t asked either Pauline Marois or Franky Legault is that while they were MNAs and cabinet ministers, they never did much to end the corruption.  Neither one of them took any stand to correct the situation. Granted that the Liberals had been more embroiled in this, after all, they are the party who appears to collude more big business, but still, it’s no excuse for  La Marois or Franky Legault to have sat on their hands while they were in government.  Worse, the media did not spend any time hounding the two of them during this entire campaign.  Both claim they will clean up the National Assembly, but  that is easy to say when you’re campaigning to win.  The media should know this by now.  Why weren’t either of them grilled more in depth on this subject?

Back to the Grope and Fail’s editorial, they are pushing the doomsday scenario of a Pauline Marois win.

The party has taken a dangerous left turn; it’s there for all Quebec to see. The PQ’s financial projections are irresponsible, from keeping electricity rates, daycare fees and tuition low, to creating disincentives for enterpreneurship, to a big tax bite for the rich.

Gee, where do I sign up? Too bad that first phrase about the party took such a great turn to the left is false.  But, I do find that “dangerous turn” thing entertaining to say the least.  Time to wake ‘n’ bake, Grope & Fail, neo-Liberal policies of austerity among others have been proven to fail over and over again.  Quebec is no exception.  Expansion of private for profit health care and the Charest Liberal’s laissez-faire attitude toward it along with that 200$/year health tax has not helped our public health care system one iota.

Speaking of health care, let’s remember that Pauline Marois was the minister responsible for having bought out doctors and closed down hospitals in the late 90s.  Granted she was reacting to the cuts in health care transfers from the feds. However, she could’ve found other ways to compensate. Not buying a noiseless toilet would’ve been a start. Now I know that the price of her noiseless toilet barely scratches the surface, but it is indicative of the wasteful spending  of our tax dollars that could’ve been diverted to make up for the shortfall of health care dollars back then. She also said a few years back that if she had it do again (the closure of hospitals and purchasing of doctors’ contracts, that is), she would .  She did quickly backtrack on this.

Premier Johnny got a free pass on this. He could blame the PQ all he likes for the state of our health care, but he was in power for 9 years, 8 of which leading a majority government.  He did nothing to help matters.

What about Franky Legault. His solution? Expanding private for profit even further, like that has worked so damned well.

Both La Marois and Franky Legault promise to scrap the 200$ health care tax. However, Franky Legault has not said how he would compensate this. The media, again, has not pumped him hard enough as to how.   At least La Marois had explained how her party would make up the supposed shortfall .

Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois said Friday she’d scrap the province’s health tax and make up for the lost revenue by creating two new tax brackets: for those earning more than $130,000 a year and for people earning more than $250,000 annually.

Marois has been talking about abolishing the health tax, which is $200 for individuals and $400 for families, since February and throughout the first 10 days of the election campaign. Quebecers cast ballots Sept. 4

Oops! I think this is where the Grope & Fail started clutching their pearls over the poor, downtrodden rich.  Truth be told, the idea of taxing the rich is long overdue.  Politicians of many stripes are afraid of this.  Perhaps the idea of taxing the rich is what has much of right winged media predicting doomsday scenarios should the PQ win.  The question becomes if La Marois and the PQ form government, will she stick to this?  Sadly, I think most of media are hoping she won’t.  Let’s remember that taxing the rich is likely what the Grope and Fail mean by “a dangerous turn to the left”.  That and no austerity measures appear to have been promised by La Marois. However, it doesn’t mean that she wouldn’t down the road.

The doomsday scenario being promoted nowadays as well is that the debt will balloon! Well, one thing that seems to have missed the media’s radar is that the debt significantly increased under 9 years of Premier Johnny since Bernard Landry’s PQ left office in 2003 .   What did Johnny do with that money? It certainly wasn’t improving our social programs, that’s for sure.  I don’t recall that money helping anyone except for, perhaps, his corporate friends.

What’s really disappointing about the media’s handling of the election, in addition to not asking the right questions or pursuing important issues, was how they hounded La Marois every 5 minutes about when she was going to hold a referendum should the PQ form government.  All this talk of ‘hardliners’, who, by the by, for the most part have left the PQ and went to Jean-Martin Aussant’s Option National or they’re not running for reeleection.   Of course she kept changing her mind. I think we can conclude that she doesn’t even know when or if she holds a referendum on sovereignty.  Hell, she and her party haven’t even won the election yet and they all jump to referendum, or as many pundits and media types have implied, the PQ will skip the referendum!  It’s too bad that she and her party were not subjected to more in depth grilling on other issues such as the economy, health care or education. Lord knows they, as any party running for office, deserves that.

Franky Legault was misquoted on the referendum question.  He said he “could” vote no on a referendum on sovereignty. That didn’t stop them from running, saying he “would” vote no.   “could” and “would” mean two different things. The media would go on hammering him over whether or not he would be a cheerleader for federalism.  What stupidity! A life long sovereigntist  would cheer for federalism.  Uh yeah.

Legault’s campaign was mainly about cleaning up government and  ridding the province of its’ decades old scandals. Well, he should’ve been further grilled on this, as I’ve mentioned above.

Premier Johnny got off easily, simply because he and his party would not hold any referendum.   Premier Johnny called this election so soon largely in part because he didn’t want to wait for the Charbonneau Inquiry into the construction scandals and party financing scandals to resume on September 17.    A few things did come out that the media didn’t pursue.  Namely,  disgraced family minister Tony Tomassi  has his preliminary hearing on September 4.   I realize that preliminary hearings are not the most sexy, but still, it should’ve been pursued further. As we’ve seen, pretty much only La Marois challenged Johnny to denounce Tony Tomassi’s acts.  He couldn’t bring himself to do so. Yeah, yeah, I know, with the court hearing coming, maybe Johnny can’t talk about much, but still,  one could get the impression that Tomassi was only kicked to the curb after Johnny and the rest of his party began to find themselves under siege.

Another thing that wasn’t pursued was when Radio-Canada broke a story on Eddy Brandone, longtime Liberal Party donor and was Secretary-Treasurer at F.T.Q who was under investigation by the Surete de Qubec and then wasn’t after meeting with the premier in 2009 , supposedly. Johnny denied having asked the SQ to ignore Brandone.  The SQ had also denied this interference, of course.  It should’ve been further pursued.  Or perhaps Premier Johnny’s lawsuit against the CBC has made them timid?

The very fact that Premier Johnny was in such a hurry to call an election before Charbonneau resumed indicates that Premier Johnny has much to hide.  But that was ignored.

Regarding La Marois’s more restrictive immigration policies, the Grope & Fail’s editorial indicates that we need immigration to sustain the economy. Yes, we do. So does the rest of Canada for that matter, yet the Grope and Fail’s many writers have supported Jason Kenney’s citizenship guides and English proficiency tests along with  he and ol’ Vic Toews’ own ideas of  detaining refugees, particularly those with dusky skin and funny sounding names. Again, Grope and Fail, your critique of La Marois’s restrictive immigration proposals rings hollow coming from you.  Yep, Ol’ Jason Kenney, Vicky and Stevie too have decided to restrict immigration to basically those who are rich and share their neo-con values.

Something else that is forgotten in the cheerleading of the Liberals regarding language and culture. It was the Liberals under Robert Bourassa who first declared French as the language of Quebec.   Before Bill 101, t here was Bill 22, enacted by Robert Bourassa in 1974 . If language was to be pursued, the Liberals certainly deserved the same amount of  grilling.

No, the PQ are not worse xenophobes as the rest of Conservative cheerleading Canada and the Harpercons themselves. My point is that with our corporate media,  what’s good for the goose ain’t necessarily good for the gander. Let’s also remember that the Harpercons with their xenophobia included were endorsed by most of the mainstream media before last year’s election.

We’ve survived PQ governments before. The sky didn’t fall. There are still many unilingual Anglos who manage to live and work in Montreal as well as receive services.  Can the other provinces say the same for unilingual Francophones? With the exception of  perhaps New-Brunswick, that is not possible.

Following the 1995 referendum, the PQ went on to govern under Lucien Bouchard (later, by Bernard Landry) for the next 7 years, even winning one more majority without much talk on another referendum. They went about the business of  governing the province for better or worse as any other provincial government does.  What is so different now?

The Montreal Gazette is endorsing CAQ , despite what even they admit is dangerous to Quebecers should they win government.

His proposal to have a CAQ administration play an interventionist role in the private sector by backing enterprises favoured by the government with money from the provincial pension fund is worrisome in itself and has turned out badly when tried in the past.

Well, it’s out, boys ‘n’ girls, he would spend hard earned pension contributions from public sector workers on his corporate friends in the private sector. I realize that anti-union, public service bashing righties would love this, but  they should perhaps think about how they would like it if their pension contributions were spent by the government on a few select friends.  Sounds like yet another recipe for corruption. Yeah, Johnny has been doing it as well.

Another thing that has gone ignored. CAQ plans to let go of 4000 Hydro Electric employees yet it was revealed in the all leaders’ televised debate that CAQ would hike Hydro rates. So Quebecers would be subjected to fewer services and will have to pay more for that trouble.

The Montreal Gazette doesn’t seem concerned enough to not endorse these buffoons though.

…the party with the best chance of preventing the economic and social turmoil into which a PQ government would plunge the province is, for all its warts, the CAQ.

Did they imply that only the PQ would plunge la belle province into social turmoil? Have they not forgotten how much social turmoil already exists under Johnny?  Did they forget the unrest in the mid 70s under Bourassa with the Cliche commission and the teachers’ strike and other labour unrest at the time?  If Franky were to form government, I have a feeling we will see a lot more unrest as he lays off 7000 public service employees, further privatizes health care or decides to go a frackin’ for shale gas (believe me, Franky would go a frackin’ and damned the consequences).
Speaking of social unrest. What would happen when they start construction in Northern remote areas to begin Plan Nord? Count on Aboriginal bands in the area taking issue with the appropriation or exploitation of their land.
All this to say that social unrest in Quebec history is not caused solely by PQ governments. Simply put,  Quebecers, themselves are not as complacent as the rest of Canada or the US. They don’t take what their governments throw at them without question. Something all should be engaged in.
The candidates and their parties may have failed at many things this election campaign, but most of the punditry and the corporate media have failed voters more, I find.
As I’ve mentioned, if La Marois ekes out a minority as most polls and pundits predict,  I predict that the CAQ / Liberals will defeat La Marois from the get go and approach the lieutenant governor with some kind of cooperation-quasi coalition between each other.  While the media for the most part were too busy predicting doomsday scenarios of the PQ winning or in the case of  some French language media outlets betting when a referendum would take place, no one, other than perhaps the Grope & Fail’s humourous endorsement, has really dealt with that possibility.

2 comments to Media Failures During Quebec Election Campaign

  • myna lee johnstone

    are you following the french language papers and popular radio?

    ck Reply:

    La Presse is only marginally better. However, they have always and still do write with a Liberal or ADQ now CAQ bent.

    98.5 FM is right winged for the most part.

    Only Le Devoir has decent writers.