I had two of many choices to consider as how I wanted to spend last night (June 15, 2004).
I could have sat in front of the television and watched four men avoid the issues in a debate that is more about not making a mistake than it is about verbal battle.
Or, I could have spent several hours in the barn with Anne, grooming and playing with our 4 horses. The horses won, and so did we.
I had lunch yesterday in downtown Montreal with a French Canadian client whose non business relationship with me has become as important as our business interests. He is quite an interesting guy.
Like many French Canadians within Quebec, he too flirted with Quebec nationalism when he was a younger man, but as a responsible and worldly working adult, he sees ethnocentric Québécois nationalism for what it really is. A dead end.
In our discussion concerning many different issues, he caught me somewhat off-guard when he stated unequivocally that the Quebec Separatist Bloc Québécois Party should not be at the national television debates.
“Why should they be there”? He asked. “Do they have any chance whatsoever of forming the next government? Do they want to form the next government? Are they interested in making Canada a better country”?
These are the questions he posed to me. All of them pertinent. All of them needing a real answer.
The answer is simple. There was no reason whatsoever for the Separatist Bloc Québécois to be sitting at any of the national debates.
Think about the Green Party.
Here are a group of individuals with a common CANADIAN platform. They are also running candidates in all 308 electoral ridings, while the Parti Québécois is running candidates only in Quebec (75 ridings), yet; the Greens were frozen out of the national debates.
Not only is this unfair. It is a slap in the face to all Canadians and our democratic process.
On one hand we have a Separatist Party which wishes to destroy Canada, that is given national prominence; while on the other hand we have a party that wants to make Canada better, but is treated as if it were insignificant.
As much as I used to be aggravated by Lucien Bouchard’s assertion that Canada is not a real country, for which he later apologized, he was nonetheless right.
Because of Quebec and its constant threat to leave Confederation unless it gets its UNFAIR share of the national wealth, Canada has become somewhat of a joke.
When he called this election, Paul Martin said it will be one of Canada’s most important elections. I had no idea what he meant by this, and probably neither did he. Nonetheless however; he was right.
If the Bloc Québécois becomes a king-maker in spite of the will of the rest of Canada, the rest of Canada will not take it lightly, specifically Western Canada.
If however; Harper wins a majority, and has the opportunity to implement the changes he wants to make to the fundamental way Canada operates, Canada will become a very different country, where what Quebec wants will become somewhat irrelevant, and all provinces will be required to carry more of their own weight.
I have received several excellent letters about this election from people with varying views from different parts of Canada. They are very much worth the read in the LETTERS TO THE PUBLISHER section of this Web Site found just to your left on the menu.
As for my decision to play with the horses rather than watch the debate, I made the right decision. The horses absolutely loved the attention. Anne and I got great exercise. And we both enjoyed tremendous pleasure.
In seeing the high-lights or low-lights of the debate; I missed nothing.
The only question that should have been asked that would have had any relevance to the debate was not asked at all.
Mr Duceppe: Why are you here?
Fantastic editorial Howard. Luckily enough, in today’s Ipsos Reid poll the Ontario PC’s are edging the Liberals by 2%, and it’s looking like Conservative voter turnout will be huge these elections: http://www.ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=6516 .
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