Let me whisper in your ear . . .

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Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan


Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan

On your mark . . . get set . . . Sochi?  No, no . . . yesterday’s news. Today it’s a provincial election! And so what if we just had one; it’s only another $70.6 million to come out of the provincial budget instead of going to seniors’ homes, youth in trouble, road repair, forestry or job training. $70 million is not much in the big    picture.
The big picture? Yes, the one which has Premier Marois and her husband avoiding testifying before the Charbonneau corruption hearings thanks to the election. That’s one big picture: no examination of the Premier’s    husband’s financial      relations with the unions, no examination of her meetings with certain    figures around those   dealings – hey, the $70 million will save us from hearing all that testimony. And no one goes to jail.
Or is the election really being called to support some bold new initiative by the government? To deal with Quebec’s $1.6 billion deficit, it’s continued job losses, our need for a new referendum?  Funny, the premier hasn’t mentioned any new jobs plan . . . only that motion by the National assembly to require her and her husband to testify, unless this election is called.
So much for what Quebec gains by this    election. What will Pontiac gain? Stop laughing. Has Pontiac ever gained anything from an election, you reply. 
We don’t need an    election here, actually. We already know who will win. We vote by party, because we’re sure the other parties will treat Pontiac worse than do “our” benefactors, the Liberal Party of Quebec. We have not a shred of evidence for this belief, but we believe it nevertheless.
What about a Pontiac Party? In Gatineau’s municipal election last fall, a new municipal   political party, Action Gatineau, was considered a good bet to win the council. But one expected shoo-in was challenged by a soft-spoken business woman. Facing the big, bold, colourful banner of Action Gatineau, she told her ward she was running for “the Aylmer party.” 
She won.
Could Pontiac use a Pontiac party candidate? Why do we need someone loyal to the Liberal, PQ, CAQ, Bloc-Pot, Option-vegetarian, etc, etc, parties and their inability to deliver anything of       substance to our region? Pontiac is the poorest of all of Quebec’s MRCs ­ – since 2008. That’s what Liberal and PQ policies have created here. Every Liberal and Pequiste should bow out of politics. They’ve failed miserably at governing, and have failed the Pontiac      exceptionally.
But the Liberals have picked a new, young      candidate, linking himself to the Justin Trudeau wave on the federal scene. Will this new voice become a Pontiac leader, or one more face in Quebec City? That’s his option, I guess, not ours.
How do we cease being mere election fodder? How do we get an MNA who represents us, not always his party? 
Do we break the mould and vote for another party? Wouldn’t we have the same problem – a party rep, not a Pontiac rep?
Could an independent candidate do more for us?
Or should we not vote at all? That would leave the field open for the party loyalists and special-interest groups. But if no one voted, isn’t it a warm thought that our             non-MNA’s salary might go instead to, say, the Snow Suit Fund or Food Bank, and then wouldn’t Pontiac actually, for once, get a benefit from our relationship with Quebec City?