Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hats off to Mario Dumont!

Five days ago, the leader of the Action Démocratique du Québec (ADQ) Mario Dumont declared that some accommodation granted to religious minorities lack a “big common sense”. While the Parti Québécois’s (PQ) leader André Boisclair clumsily demolished Dumont, Quebec’s premier Jean Charest, and leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec (LPQ), said that we must take the time to think about this very not-so-complex debate. Thanks to his intellectual sincerity, Mario Dumont proved one thing: Jean Charest and André Boisclair are both unable to bring forward questions that matter to us.

Boisclair dared to say that Dumont is “bold” enough to defend Quebec’s identity. Furthermore, when his concerns were voiced, the PQ’s leader also stated that Mario Dumont released his point of view about “reasonable accommodation” to make some “easy political gains”. Really? If Mario Dumont is “worser than the oldest American conservative Republican”, how should André Boisclair label himself? As a smart diplomat? Nothing came from André Boisclair although he voiced an empty opinion, as usual.

After his laughable and dim proposal to “dust the Quebecker Charter of Rights and Freedoms”, the leader of the PQ asked Jean Charest to hold a debate at the National Assembly. With such an evasive and insignificant answer to the events that all Quebec is facing, it’s easy to see that André Boisclair is not only distorting the gist of Dumont’s remark, but he’s also trying to make some pathetic political gains among “ethnic votes”. Is it in the interest of Boisclair to talk thoroughly about religious accommodation? Maybe. Maybe not.

Nonetheless, just like any soft and weak-minded politicians, André Boisclair wants to stay in the politically correct zone (just like Jean Charest) and some remarks about religious accommodation will obviously tarnish the PQ’s image. Why? Well, the PQ, a party that wants the separation of Quebec from Canada, is still dragging the image of an ethnic political party because of Jacques Parizeau... Moreover, many members of ethnic communities would have mindlessly interpreted any remarks about religious accommodation from Boisclair as sheer racism.

However, it becomes very easy to tell that at the next election, the PQ might inevitably lose ridings that are viewed as Quebec’s regions, which are the PQ’s ground base. Attempts are made by Boisclair to open his party to ethnic minorities. However there’s one big problem for the PQ. This problem can be explained like this: it’s almost impossible for André Boisclair to juggle simultaneously with the desire to defend the ethnic communities and the willingness to defend the political values that most French-speaking Quebeckers living outside Montreal care about.

As for the LPQ, it has always taken for granted ethnic votes. Not only, will a remark about religious accommodation by Jean Charest be perceived as an act of racism, but this fear goes further: Charest doesn’t want to alienate influential voters and ethnic votes always gave a chance for the LPQ to seize a parliamentary majority at the National Assembly. For Quebeckers, the message was quite clear: the LPQ and the PQ both wants power. This probably explains why Charest and Boisclair are so irrelevant and that they can’t handle a question that Quebeckers presently see as the centre of public attention.

By robotically omitting to authoritatively deal with the issue of religious accommodation, not only do Charest and Boisclair ludicrously think about the next provincial election, but they’re also forgetting that as politicians, they must do their best to take in consideration all the opinions that shape the ideologically pluralistic political landscape of Quebec. As for Jean Charest, the leader of the LPQ, by refusing to talk about religious accommodation, he looks like a soft leader who is walking on a minefield!

This week allowed us to see that as opposed to Jean Charest and André Boisclair, Mario Dumont is able to tackle tough questions like a real head of state without saying anything racist at all. Whether Jean Charest and André Boisclair appreciates it or not, since the opinion of the ADQ’s leader was thrown in Quebec’s political sphere, it will become hard for them to ridiculously reject most Quebeckers’ opinion about this issue that involves a handful of people who wants to defend secularism and those who advocate religious accommodation.

Even though I don’t always agree with Mario Dumont, this time, I take my hat off to him, because he really showed us what Charest and Boisclair are: soft opportunists who want power without thinking about the biggest social interests of Quebec’s population. If Mario Dumont was repudiated by Quebecker voters because of the program that he presented in 2003, the next election will certainly give him the chance to show us that he really represent the ordinary Quebeckers, but it would be so much better if Dumont favours a secular law that is inspired from the French.

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