Over the weekend, someone from the Conservative Party “leaked” the news that if Stephen Harper becomes Prime Minister, his Conservatives will end the unfair trade practices imposed on Air Canada by the federal government when it became a private corporation.
The unfair trade practices were mostly all about Quebec.
1) Air Canada had to maintain fully bilingual services wherever they flew, meaning that all Air Canada employees had to meet government bilingual status to work in the flight cabins and in the overall structure of the corporation.
2) Air Canada was obliged to keep its head office in Montreal, even though most of its business and profits emanated from Toronto.
3) Air Canada had to maintain service centers in Montreal, Winnipeg and Toronto. However, I’m certain the federal government would have had little trouble allowing Air Canada to close down its Toronto service center if necessary. But NEVER its center in Montreal.
Harper’s question about why should Air Canada, a private company be subjected to rules and conditions none of its competitors have to abide by, including the enormous extra costs and limited talent pool is right to the heart of it.
Because it’s all about Quebec.
Having this policy “leak” was no mistake. I am convinced the Conservatives did this on purpose for two reasons.
The first being: they want the rest of Canada to understand where they stand on the stupidity of language laws that restrict free competition, especially in parts of Canada where use of the French language is virtually non existent.
The second reason was to lay a trap for Paul Martin, that he was actually stupid enough to willingly jump into.
Martin, who will get creamed in Quebec no matter what he does or says, as he will in Alberta and a good part of BC isn’t focusing on the province that matters the most.
The real battleground to see who will become Canada’s next Prime Minister will be decided in Ontario, where the vast majority of voters couldn’t give a damn about keeping Air Canada bilingual.
As a matter of fact, most Ontarians are plenty fed-up as it is with Quebec always getting unfair advantages. So, the news that Stephen Harper wants to level the air carrier playing field is probably quite welcome to most Ontario voters.
The fact that Paul Martin tried to make such an issue out of this unfair bilingual policy has to have Ontario voters scratching their heads.
For Paul Martin to have taken the bait is an unbelievable demonstration and testament to his really bad judgement. What he did in fact, was blow even more of his credibility in the province where he must be most credible by passionately campaigning for a policy that only benefits Quebec.
It seems very doubtful that Stephen Harper will win any seats in Quebec. So what did the Tories have to lose by “leaking” this common sense policy? Had Martin not swallowed the bait; hook, line and sinker, Harper would have scored points anyway.
But, because Martin couldn’t wait to be the fish on the hook, not only did Harper score points, but Martin did himself some real harm.
As far as I’m concerned, especially since leaving Quebec for a mostly French speaking community in South Eastern Ontario, practical bilingualism a la Pierre Elliott Trudeau is nothing more than a myth.
Canada is not a bilingual country.
Therefore; why spend BILLIONS of dollars pretending it is?
Officially, Quebec is not a bilingual province according to Quebec’s primary law Bill 101, which declares that the French language is Quebec’s ONLY official language. And all other languages are subject to selective and limited legal use, including the English language.
So why impose bilingualism on the rest of Canada, SPECIFICALLY for the benefit of a province that officially rejects it? More than that; why impose it upon a private corporation?
Paul Martin, his federal Liberals, the province of Quebec, and the Trudeau legacy are about to be shaken to their very foundations, especially if Harper wins enough votes to form a majority or even an ample minority.
For the first time in my memory, a federal politician with a chance to become Prime Minister is asking the unspeakable question.
What’s good for Canada?
Because of our busy schedules, Anne I took advantage of advance polling and cast our votes late last night (June 21, 2004). Let me tell you how refreshing it was to finally vote for someone.
The last time I voted for someone was in 1984, when Mulroney conned Canada into believing he would be good for the country. Since then, I’ve either held my nose and voted against someone, or have simply destroyed my ballot with an X through all of it.
This time however; it felt great to vote for the Conservative candidate in my riding. I am looking forward to a real change in government, the usual government names and faces, and for policies that really make sense for Canada and hard working Canadians.
It’s time that we have a Prime Minister who can see beyond the borders of Quebec, and see what our country really looks like from sea to shining sea.