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Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois – An “eavesdropping” short series: Nadeau-Dubois / Payette – Post 1 of 3 (#153)
January 18, 2015 9:49 am / Leave a comment
In this post, you’re going to get quite a dose of Quebec-Reality-Politics 101 (perhaps unlike little else out there – at least not in Anglophone Canada). Basically I’ll give you a summary of what has been playing out in Québec politics from March 2012 to January 2015. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois has been one of the players on this front, and his actions have had ripple effects (actually more like waves) which have shaped public opinion, and thus the politics of the Québec since March 2012 – playing a part in Québec having three different Premiers during that period.
For a couple of months, I have been asking myself what might be the best format with which to introduce you to Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. He’s an activist. He is someone who every person in Québec knows. And he’s one of Québec’s most attention-getting personalities. He is also a very divisive figure, which is why I’ve been somewhat torn on how to present him. But I think presenting him to you in the context of the “eavesdropping” conversation program “L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté” provides the perfect opportunity. Therefore I’ll keep this post in the same format as the last few posts which also were tied into “L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté”.
First, he’s young… very young – born in 1990. I have never seen someone so young in Canada forge their way onto the public stage in the way Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois has. Just to wet your appetite for the following “long” post – I will tell you now that I believe Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was in part responsible for the fall of the Jean Charest government in September, 2012, was one of the reasons Pauline Marois’ Parti Québécois government managed to gain power in 2012, but was also one of the reasons she was not able to achieve a majority government. I also believe he was one of the main figures responsible for creating an ideological division within the Québec public, which resulted in the Parti Québecois losing power in 2014 and which lead to an overwhelming majority and astounding come-back for the Québec Liberals under Philippe Couillard 2014. In the the lastest round, if the TransCanada pipeline fails to go through for political reasons (which is unlikely at this stage, it is almost certain to go through unless there are unforeseen economic or environmental issues), it could be in part because of Nadeau-Dubois’ activism.
Have I got your attention and is your curiosity peaked? If you’re Anglophone living in a province other than Québec, but have never heard of Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, thank Canada’s Anglophone media for keeping the Two Solitudes alive and well by failing to report on some of the most prominent and ideologically powerful people in our country if they’re Francophone. All I can do is shake my head, sigh, and try to do my part in tearing down the Two Solitudes by bringing awareness to key figures, events, and issues. But then again, most Francophones, until recently, had no idea who David Suzuki was – so the door swings both ways.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois: I guarantee you will have never heard of anybody else like him in his generation.
He’s a social activist, on the far left-end of the social activism scale (he’s even considered quite far left by many other left-wing elements in Québec – which should give you an idea just how “left” he is).
He has several major activism milestones behind him on a variety of matters. It’s difficult to peg him in any one single sphere of activism: be it absolute universal government social services advocacy, environmental activism, sovereignty activism, anti-poverty activism, or other. I think he’s simply the sum of his activist “career”. Yet, he has achieved more, in terms of garnering public notoriety (stemming from the fall-out from some of his better known actions), than what most people have achieved in their lifetime. I don’t think he’ll change the world, but boy, Québec’s eye have been focused squarely on him a good number of times – making everyone wonder what he is going to do next.
Perhaps the best way to describe him is through a chronology of events.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was born into a militant union-leader and environmentalist family. He even attended protests as a child in which protestors wore balaclavas.
As a teenager, he was a volunteer anti-poverty activist.
As a student, he became more and more disgruntled with how the world works (I don’t know if he is a pure Marxist-Leninist, but his activities and speeches have pushed the envelope in that direction. It’s tough to say if it’s grandstanding in that sense for the purpose of adding pressure to his causes, or if he does actually desire a true communist state).
The March 2012 to September 2012 Student Protests & General Student Strike:
While Nadeau-Dubois was attending University in Montréal in 2012, the then Premier of Québec, Jean Charest wanted to increase university tuition by 1/3. To Anglophones outside of Québec, I will let you know that there is a difference between how Québec has traditionally viewed the issue of tuition fees versus the rest of the country. Québec too had seen rapid increases in tuition in the last 15 years, but it was not deemed acceptable by a significant part of Québec’s population (perhaps a majority of the population was prepared to accept tuition hikes to some extent, but there were certainly significant portions of the population which were not). In Québec, tuition was a sacred-cow for many people, much like universal healthcare is outside of Canada. Students especially were not prepared to pay more for education. By 2012, post-secondary education was still cheaper in Québec that other provinces (around $2500 a year, give or take, for certain university programs). Thus, most families had not saved money for their children’s education, people had never positioned themselves to qualify for tuition loans, students never took summer jobs (or part-time jobs) because they didn’t expect to have to pay much for their studies, and there was a just a general mentality that cheap education would simply always be there.
In the run-up to the 2012 election, people in economic and political circles were becoming antsy about Québec’s finances, with at least one credit-rating house threatening to degrade Québec’s debt rating. The world recession and a climbing Canadian dollar also took a huge toll on public finances and manufacturing sectors. The Charest government, although not willing to go on an austerity slashing binge, was looking for areas where they felt they could reasonably make fiscal adjustments. Education tuition was one of those areas. What they didn’t expect was that students would essentially go on “strike” against tuition hikes. (At the time, the word “strike” was quite controversial, because it legally was not a strike; it was more of a school “boycott”).
Student organizations banded together, and organized themselves into three separate bodies – each representing different aspects of the student corps. Two of these bodies took the form of student unions against tuition hikes, and the third body took a much more militant form, basically advocating the fall of the Charest government for interfering in what they believed should be an inalienable right to near-free post-secondary education. These three groups worked together to organize mass student protests (the more militant group of the three advocated for a more militant form of protest).
The leaders of all three groups were students themselves. All three have since become extremely well-known in Québec, and they occupied the daily headlines of Québec’s news for months (and they continue to make the news in their latest roles in society).
The first two student union groups La FEUQ and la FECQ were headed by Martine Desjardins (who would later be a defeated candidate for the Parti Québécois, and who today is a very famous columnist in Québec), and Léo Bureau-Drouin (who later became an elected member of the Parti Québécois, but who was later defeated in the 2014 election). The third, more militant student “group” (not a permanent student union) was the CLASSE, specifically formed to counter tuition hikes, as well as to promote universal access to education and counter the economics of globalization in education. This latter, more militant group, was headed by Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.
All three leaders were also supporters for Québec sovereignty.
The leaders of these three groups organized a mass walk-out of students, across Québec, in March of 2012, basically shutting down the entire post-secondary education system for months, and for the remainder of the academic year. Many professors also walked out in support of the activities of these groups, or for lack of having sufficient students to teach. Between March and May, 2013, nearly 200,000 students were on strike, and tens of thousands of people protested in the streets, almost daily. A sign of solidarity became small red squares of fabric pinned to people’s clothes. The term les carrés rouges (the red squares) has since entered Québec’s daily vocabulary. It has come to mean people who are prepared to take militant action to support a leftist viewpoint (you’ll still hear this term quite often – with individuals being referred to as a carré rouge).
More left-wing elements of the protests, often aroused or inspired by the boldness of the CLASSE leader, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, became violent during protests; property was damaged and people were injured. Because of the sheer number of people in the streets, a mob mentality often set in, and peaceful demonstrations quickly got out of hand.
Although Desjardins and Bureau-Drouin condemned and discouraged disorderly or illegal conduct of any nature, Nadeau-Dubois would not, and elements of the protests were seemingly emboldened by Nadeau-Dubois’ refusal to condemn violent actions. His justification was that the government was at fault for any illegal activities in the streets because they provoked the students.
Enough was enough for the provincial Liberal government. After three months of people and police getting hurt and property getting damaged, the government passed legislation stating that all public protests must first be registered with the police, the routes must be clearly defined in advance, and that it was illegal to wear any masks during protests (I, myself, was in Montréal for business shortly after this law was enacted – and I saw firsthand that this had the effect of allowing the police to line the streets of anticipated routes in advance, so as to prevent the situation from getting out of control). Any unregistered protests would be deemed illegal and protestors could be arrested or fined. Illegal protests did persist, and Nadeau-Dubois was considered by many as an instigator of them – although he was never formally charged by authorities.
However, everything came to a head when Nadeau-Dubois made public statements inciting protestors to block “dissenting” students from entering universities to pursue their studies. Only a small minority of students were “crossing the picket lines” during the protests, and by law it was illegal for any one person to prevent another person from having access to an education (remember, legally this was never a “strike”, but rather a boycott, thus it was illegal to prevent students from entering schools since the legal concept of line-crossing did not exist). But when one student was actually blocked from entering a university, he made a legal complaint against Nadeau-Dubois, resulting Nadeau-Dubois being initially found guilty of contempt of court. (Update 22 Jan 2015 – He appealed his conviction and was found not guilty on 22 Jan 2015).
By June, 2012, after months of intense protests and government paralysis (the government had to devote all their energies to managing the situation), everyone was exhausted. Parts of the city of Montréal had been paralyzed for three months and its citizens were exhausted. The government was tired, the opposition parties were tired, the police were tired, the students were exhausted, and even Nadeau-Dubois (arguably the most famous face of the whole movement) admitted he too was exhausted. Most “major” protests started dying by June. Protests and the strike, however, did continue into September, 2012, when the government went into an election.
The late 2012 election: The Liberals voted out, and the Parti Québécois voted in with a minority government:
The Jean Charest Liberals lost the fall 2012 election. A new PQ government, lead by Pauline Marois, pledged to freeze tuition fees and the student strike ended.
After the protests, Nadeau-Dubois returned to his studies to pursue his master’s degree. However, his actions, I believe greatly split the ideological Left in Québec, as well as public opinion in general. I think this had several direct spin-off effects, which we’re still feeling today, and which will likely continue to be felt in Québec for years to come.
The largely Left-oriented protests turned a large part of the population of Québec away from certain Left-wing stances (a major shift in Québec politics) – perhaps even making much of the population hostile to far-Leftist politics (after all, Québec’s largest cities were ransacked and overran because of these protests lasting for months). In other circles, Left-of-Centre elements disassociated themselves from elements even further to the left (before the protests, these two Leftist camps generally accepted each other’s differences and rallied with one voice). This had the effect of splitting the left vote between two separate Leftist parties in the 2012 election : those who supported the Parti Québécois, and those who supported the even further Leftist party, Québec Solidaire. I believe this split of the Left, largely stemming from the turmoil caused by Nadeau-Dubois-incited protests, resulted in the PQ not being able to consolidate the entire Left-wing spectrum, and thus cost them a majority government (relegating them to a minority government).
The Liberals, already considered by the public as a “tired” party after being in power for so many years (and having a simmering financing and tendering scandal bubbling to the surface) saw their election loss sealed by how they were perceived to have lost control of the protests — especially in light of the twists and turns the protests took owing much to Nadeau-Dubois’ protest strategies and incitation. However, despite being considered a “tired” party past its due date (9 years in power), the Liberals ironically did likely garner votes in 2012, which it would have not otherwise garnered, simply because so much of Québec’s population was also very turned off by anything Left-of-Centre as a direct result of the strikes (the start of what I believe was the re-Centering of Québec’s politics – with a majority of the population not quite Right of “Centre-Right”, but yet not accepting of anything any further Left than just a tad “Left-of- Centre”). This also contributed to the PQ (a traditionally Left-of-Centre party) not being able to secure a majority government (and ensured the survival of the provincial Liberal party, rather than a crushing defeat for them, which could have been the case had the protests not occurred at all).
So as you can see, a major political shake up, and mixed bag of events came out of the protests. The political dust most likely would have fallen differently had Nadeau-Dubois not pushed the protests so far. What made the shake-up solidify was that the Party Québécois endorsed the student protests, with Pauline Marois going so far as to take part in the protests herself (herself wearing a carré rouge – red badge). There was even a very unflattering YouTube video shot of the PQ Pauline Marois protesting, awkwardly banging on a casserole (pot). The video was one of the most viral videos in Québec history – and may have permanently linked Marois with the protests in the minds of Québécois – the new power of the internet. You can view how the Liberals at the time capitalized on this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7ZXyfb0ozE.
In a nutshell, in the year-and-a-half following the protests and the election of a minority PQ government, the PQ pushed a Leftist social and overtly progressive reform policy agenda, likely in a bid to try to reconsolidate the far Left which split off, in large part, as a result of the protests. That was a bit too much for the rest of the population to handle (a very large part of the population was already put off by Leftist measures during the protests, and now they had to contend with the PQ taking them back in that direction). What really doomed the PQ was that they developed additional risky and controversial policies, which on the surface at least, were interpreted as trying to isolate groups who would not otherwise support them, but yet integrate swing-voters who traditionally could have voted PQ – but who were perhaps turned off by the Left-of-Centre PQ stance during the protests (thus switched their votes to the Liberals or CAQ in 2012). Specifically, this group the PQ sought was white Francophone voters who lived in suburbs or small cities. Part of the PQ’s strategy to win back these voters was to try to push through a Charte des valeurs (Québec values charter) which would forbid anybody who receives a government paycheck from wearing anything which would associate them with any religion (no head scarves, no crosses on necklaces, no turbans, nothing religious at all would be allowed if you worked in the medical, education, or civil service professions). More radical elements of the party wanted to take it further and spoke of extending the charter to force immigrants to attend French-language colleges only, of forcing the Federal government to cease offering English services in Québec. Grassroots fringe groups (such as the Jeanettes, supporters of Jeanette Bertrand’s outspokenness for the charter) sprung up – which took matters out of the control of the PQ’s own public relations unit. It was all a bit much to bear for most people in Québec. When Pierre Karl Péladeau joined the PQ in March, 2013 with his famous fist-in-air declaration that he wanted to make Québec a country as soon as yesterday, the public had enough – and the PQ was finished. Marois apparently grossly miscalculated public sentiment (perhaps it was because she was constantly surrounded by huge crowds of cheering supporters anywhere she went, including during the 2014 protests, or campaign trail rallies). This likely gave her and her entourage the false impression that they were adored and that they were safe to call an election only 18 months into their mandate to try to change their status from a minority government to a majority government (the danger in doing this is that parties can no longer rely on polls to give them an accurate reading of public sentiment – as we saw in Alberta, BC, and Ontario in the last couple of years. This is owing to the fact that pollsters no longer have home phone numbers they can call in the age of cell phones and the internet).
The PQ’s overconfidence in calling an election, their pursuit of even more Leftist and progressive policies, the divisive Charte, the PQ government’s lack of desire to cooperate with other provinces for the economic advancement of the province, and the appearance that a PKP-Marois team would push a referendum as quickly as possible all contributed to giving a majority of the population the impression the PQ was a party even more out of touch with public sentiment than the Liberals were, who were voted out only 17 months earlier.
Along came Philippe Couillard, the new Liberal leader. To many, he didn’t seem so bad (he was saying things people could identify with, and he didn’t give the impression he was a part of the “old Liberal guard”, despite having a cabinet portfolio during the Charest years). He seemed to have firm stances on numerous issues (he concentrated on several concrete issues to move the province forward, financially, and socially). As the most Federalist party leader in decades (and now as the most Federalist Premier Québec has perhaps ever seen), he vowed to work hand-in-hand with other provinces and to work with the Federal government to advance Québec’s economic agenda (Couillard has always been very open about his Federalist views and his strong convictions towards a united Canada. In this respect, he has never tip-toed around the issue in the media or with the public). He vowed there would be no more shenanigans, and people grabbed hold of the whole package, almost like a life-line – as an end to the mayhem of the prior couple of years. All this seemed good enough for a majority the population, and they ran with it.
The 2014 election: The Parti Québécois voted out and the Liberal government voted in with a strong majority government.
When Pauline Marois called an election based on a false-read of the tea leaves, she basically unknowingly signed her own resignation letter. PQ policies were perceived to be so far out of touch with the realities of a globalized 2014 which required concentration on economic matters rather than major new, intrusive progressive and Leftist agendas, that the population seemed to jump at the chance to retract their prior ouster of the Liberals 17 months earlier. The Parti Québécois was finished, at least for four to five years. The PQ suffered their biggest defeat in 30 years, and the Liberals were brought back into power with an overwhelming majority, a new leader, a new purpose, and a pledge to clean up the province’s finances. They also pledged to end divisive politics and to work with everyone as best as possible to move agendas forward (incidentally, the Premier’s conference in Charlottetown, PEI last September, was probably the most productive in Canada’s history precisely because of this new Liberal pledge – despite Steven Harper’s absence). Although the Liberals have made serious budget cuts since taking power in September, as of today (January 18, 2015), they’re surprisingly still riding a honeymoon wave with polls showing they continue to be the most popular party with the most popular leader (between 40% – 55% – very rare for any government which makes such deep cuts).
How Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois fits into all of this and his ongoing activism:
I sometimes wonder if the scenario and the results described above would have all turned out differently if Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois had not pushed the 2012 protests so far – which would have not pushed Québec’s population to its breaking limit and tolerance for anything further left than just slightly left-of-centre. That’s why I say I believe his actions played a role in the election of the PQ party, the defeat of the PQ party, and the rise of a Liberal majority. (It’s something poorly understood in many Anglophone media circles, which tend to view Québec politics in Black & White terms of Left or Right / Sovereignist or Federalist. But then again, Québec’s Francophone media also views the politics of other provinces in overly simplistic terms – thus the maintained existence of the Two Solitudes).
Between the time the protests ended until the Couillard Liberals were elected, Nadeau-Dubois was given a short-lived talk-show, was a regular on the talk-show circuit, and held paid activist contracts. He remained in the news (that’s quite something for a 22 – 23 year-old).
But Nadeau-Dubois’ activism seems to be far from finished. And now there is a new twist…
In August, 2013, Nadeau-Dubois, at the age of 23, released his book entitled “Tenir tête” (an appropriate translation could be “Holding your ground”, or “Don’t relent”). From the title, and in light of the events described above, I’m sure you can infer what the contents of the book are about. Nadeau-Dubois talks about his activism, but more from an ideological standpoint to serve as a guide for future actions (hence, he’s holding his ground, and it appears he plans to place himself and his ideas front-and-centre for a long time – and due to their sensational media appeal, we will likely see much much more of him).
The book in itself did not create waves or garner a large amount of attention, but the prize it won certainly did!
Nadeau-Dubois won the 2014 Governor General’s award in the essay category. Yes… The Head of State of Canada – the Queen’s direct representative – awarded Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois one of Canada’s highest awards in literature. Nadeau-Dubois has been, for much of the past three years, one of Québec’s most vocal advocates for sovereignty. I’m not too sure how to describe it – but I think everyone (I mean everyone) was caught off guard: I was dumbstruck, Nadeau-Dubois’ allies, his foes, and entire Québec public were surprised. Nadeau-Dubois himself even said he was shocked when he found out. It was one of the most ironic things of this entire three-year saga.
With the award came a $25,000 prize. Picture this: If you were a 24 year-old die-hard sovereignist who sees yourself as having a duty to pursue ideaological-based activism to separate Québec from Canada, what would your instinct tell you to do with this award? I think most people believed he would have immediately declined the award and denounced the institution of the Governor General itself. Yet that is not was Nadeau-Dubois did.
In secrecy, Nadeau-Dubois informed Guy A. Lepage of Tout le monde en parle what he was going to do. Lepage therefore gave him centre-stage on Tout le monde en parle (Québec’s most-watched television program) to announce to everyone what was going to happen. The public was given one week’s notice that Nadeau-Dubois was going to surprise us all. I don’t know how many people tuned into that episode of Tout le monde en parle, but my guess is the numbers were in the millions. They hype and suspense was thick, to say the least.
On the evening of 23 November, 2014, I, like everyone else, sat down in front of the television to find out what was going to come next in the Nadeau-Dubois activism saga.
I watched, I listened – and then I was shocked (probably most of us were!). Nadeau-Dubois, after taking a jab at the Governor-General as an institution, accepted the award, accepted the money, but cooperated with Guy A. Lepage to use Tout le monde en parle as the launching stage to transform the award into a public lightning rod with which to begin an entirely new activism campaign. He donated the money to a grass-roots citizens movement (named “Coule”, translation: “flow”) against TransCanada’s Energy East oil pipeline running through Québec. (You can refer to the previous post “Oil Pipeline in Québec – A Hot-Button Issue” to get a bit more general insight on Québec’s collective “feeling” towards pipeline issues).
Nadeau-Dubois challenged the Québec public, live on air, to begin pledging money, right then and there – as if it were a telethon. He asked the public to double the $25,000 award, and to send a message to Stephen Harper, of all things. The show ended at 11pm on 23 November. Four hours later, by 03:00am, $100,000 was collected. By the next evening, $250,000 was pledged. It seemed like it was the only thing being talked about that week – and it put the subject of oil pipelines at the top of the discussion pile (knocking the PKP leadership campaign from the top spot – Wow!). Public relation departments in TransCanada, all political parties, and environmental movements went into overdrive; either on the offensive in certain instances, on the defensive in some cases, or just plain damage control in other cases.
Prior to Nadeau-Dubois’ appearance on Tout le monde en parle, the subject of pipelines were merely a subject of heated discussion and societal reflection. After his appearance, it was a flash point of grassroots action backed by collective donations of cash. Coule collected $350,000 in the days following the airing of the show. In absolute numbers, that is not a lot of money – and objectively speaking, the Energy East and Enbridge 9B pipeline projects will still likely go through (unless falling oil prices thwart the project for economic reasons alone). But Nadeau-Dubois’ and Guy A. Lepage’s activist coup ensured that the public’s eye is turned towards the project’s development, more so than ever in the past.
The Couillard government was forced to re-pledge (much like Ontario) that they would not approve the pipeline unless strict environmental conditions were met. Perhaps related to this heightened public awareness, Environment Canada also refused to approve Cacouna as an export base for oil and to look for a new location (Nadeau-Dubois ensured the public was aware that waters off the port of Cacouna were a sensitive Beluga Whale breeding and nursing zone).
What will the future hold for Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois? I have absolutely no idea – I don’t think anyone does. He seems to keep his cards close to his heart. But judging from his impulsive nature to act when subjects begin to get heated, I have a guess that we may see him if there are mass protests in the spring of 2015 against government funding cutbacks (after the winter weather subsides and protestors no longer have reason to fear the cold 😉 ). But that’s only a guess – I really don’t know.
If you want my thoughts on potential future flashpoints, I added an addendum today to the earlier post “Julie Snyder”. If you find the above interesting, you may also find the addendum to the Snyder post an interesting read. We may see Nadeau-Dubois involve himself in grandiose style in some of these potential future flashpoints.
The next post will be on Lise Payette, an elderly “stateswoman” of sorts; one of Québec’s foremost prominent political and feminist activists, and one of Québec’s most famous former politicians of the past 40 years. The post after that will allow us to see what happens and what was said when Nadeau-Dubois and Payette sat down for a meal (I guarantee you it will be interesting, and it may hold a couple of surprises for you).
Stay-tuned, and happy reading !!
ADDENDUM 2015-04-01: A couple of paragraphs above I mentioned that the student strikes and protests all may start again this spring. Last week and this week they started again. But this time the student strikes are just plain bizarre and not related to the 2012 strikes. They are primarily against two things: (1) Liberal government measures to balance the books (fiscal restraint — but the fiscal restraint being exercises is nothing even close to what we saw in Europe), and (2) against the world… nothing more… just the world (environmental problems, globalization, too much government interference, too little government interference, too much trade, too little trade, and everything else). I get the impression even the media doesn’t know how to report the strikes.
The funny thing is that the political parties are not talking about the strikes. After 2012, the PQ probably learned to steer clear of them, the SQ and NDP probably learned from the PQ’s mistakes, and the Liberals & CAQ are probably banking that the strikes will just die out since they’re not making much sense. We’re only a week and a half into the strikes, and they are already sputtering like an old car that is backfiring. One of the largest groups of student strikes (ASSÉ, with is the direct descendant of Nadeau-Dubois’ CLASSE) is even talking about calling the strikes off until this autumn (because they feel their strikes will be more “effective” then…
I don’t see the logic, but whatever).
This time around the numbers are much smaller than 2012 (40,000 instead of 200,000). I personally don’t think the strikes will go very far. There will be some die-hards of course, but there is no election coming up, and they’re not getting political endorsement (and they certainly will not get any political support if only the most fanatic of the 200,000 continue the strikes). I think it may be the beginning of the end of the strikes, even before the beginning got off the ground.
Who knows, something may breath new life into the strikes at a future date… but I personally don’t think the public will support them unless something unbearable happens with respect to budget cuts, and unless the strikes seem to make more sense (which they’re not at the moment… you can’t just strike because the world exists, and expect to have everyone’s support).
Oh… and where is Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois in all of this? Dunno! Never showed up.
As usual… time will tell (it’s still a story being written).
MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES
- Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois – An “eavesdropping” short series: Nadeau-Dubois / Payette – Post 1 of 3 (#153)
- Lise Payette – An “eavesdropping” short series: Nadeau-Dubois / Payette – Post 2 of 3 (#154)
- “L’autre midi, À la table d’à côte”; Nadeau-Dubois / Payette discussion summary post 3 of 3 (#155)
No way, le Figaro (#76)
November 4, 2014 1:37 am / Leave a comment
A word of caution: Subjects discussed here are rapidly evolving, and certain matters quickly become outdated. Refer to the addendums at the bottom for the most updated information.
French President, François Hollande, is on a state visit to Canada. Because of the strong business relations being forged between Alberta and France, he chose to visit Alberta as his first stop to Canada, Ottawa as his second stop, and Québec as his third. This was a break from tradition which sees French Presidents or Prime Ministers generally visit Ottawa first and Québec second (or sometimes the other way around if the trip to Québec is viewed as a private visit). This trip to Alberta was not to be considered a snub to Québec. There are simply important business matters developing between various provinces and France, and President Hollande made note during his trip that he viewed the economic activities of Alberta as being vital to France and Québec alike.
Hollande decided to give Alberta a nod of confidence, and Canada a nod of confidence, including Québec. For Albertans, it was a humbling gesture — the people of Alberta were very honoured and grateful (media coverage within Alberta was extensive — I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so much local coverage granted to any other visited head of state to Alberta, including those of US Presidents… that in itself should speak volumes). This gesture will go a long way to building Alberta’s feelings of interest and affection towards France, and towards all of our cousins in La Francophonie in general.
Then Le Figaro, a major national newspaper in France, in one fell swoop, came out with a thunder stealing article, and gave Alberta a few hard kicks to the gut. Quote:
Le camouflet de Stephen Harper à François Hollande: À la veille de la venue du président de la République français au Canada, le gouvernement dirigé par Stephen Harper a décidé de rebaptiser le pont Champlain, à Montréal, en pont Maurice-Richard, du nom d’un joueur de hockey populaire. Le Français Samuel de Champlain, fondateur de Québec en 1608, passe à la trappe, alors même que François Hollande a choisi de se rendre dans la très francophobe Alberta. Un symbole fort.
Ok, Le Figaro… you had your word. I’ll now have mine...
Quand vous nous appelez “la très francophobe Alberta”, précisément de qui et de quoi parlez-vous ?
Si vous parlez d’un peuple ou d’un gouvernement dans son ensemble (ce que vous me laissiez croire), en êtes-vous au courant que le gouvernement de l’Alberta investit, chaque année, de plus en plus d’argent dans l’édification de nouvelles écoles francophones et d’immersion, y compris leur soutien croissant dans l’éducation du français en général? Il le fait non seulement de nécessité pour les francophones de la province, mais également comme démarche afin de rendre les anglophones plus bilingues – qui d’ailleurs, a pour effet de faire en sorte que l’Alberta puisse s’intégrer davantage dans la francophonie à la fois pancanadienne, à la fois globale. Et ce, sans toutefois parler de son investissement dans le rendement des services en français
Au niveau individuel, en êtes-vous au courant qu’en ce moment, le nombre d’élèves en Alberta qui suivent des cours de français est l’équivalent de la population totale de toute la ville de Montpellier en France? Saviez-vous que la demande des parents d’inscrire leurs enfants dans les cours d’immersion est si accrue qu’il existe maintenant des listes d’attente en raison d’une manque de professeurs? (Note aux lecteurs et lectrices de France: si vous êtes professeur et vous êtes à la recherche d’emploi, Alberta en a besoin de vous. Salaire de première année 40,000 € (55,000$CAD), salaire de cinquième année 55,000 € (75,000$CAD), avec prestations pour professeurs aussi bonnes en Alberta qu’en France – et ils/elles seront aceuilli(e)s à bras ouverts).
J’imagine, à moins que j’ai tort, que vous ne parliez pas de moi, ni de ma famille, ni de mes voisins, ni de ma ville, ni de mes amis – qui, pour la plupart, résident dans les régions rurales de l’Alberta. De plus, je n’ai jamais vu de la francophobie ni à Edmonton, ni à Calgary (nos deux villes les plus grandes). C’est d’ailleurs étrange, n’est-ce pas, que mes amis francophones qui habitent un peu partout en Alberta ne m’en ont jamais parlé d’avoir été victimes de la francophobie.
Alors, compte tenu de ce que je viens de décrire, je présume que vous ne parliez ni des deux grandes villes de l’Alberta, ni des régions rurales de l’Alberta, ni du gouvernement de l’Alberta. Alors, veillez m’excuser si je demeure un peu bafoué.
Je continue me casser la tête… Il doit y avoir de la logique quelque part dans votre article. Peut-être devrais-je me diriger un peu vers le sud de la province pour trouver la réponse? Malgré tout, c’est le sud de l’Alberta qui est “censé” être la région la plus conservatrice Mais à ma grande surprise, c’est en effet cette région-là qui reçoit le plus haut niveau d’immigration en Alberta… y compris des français de France! La ville de Calgary (toujours dans le sud, et dont le maire est musulman pratiquant), a un taux de minorités visibles de 30% à 35%, un chiffre qui ne cesse d’accroître en raison de l’immigration internationale (encore, veuillez me corrigez si j’ai tort, mais je croyais qui les immigrants ont tendance d’aller où ils croient que la discrimination n’existe pas et où ils peuvent trouver l’esprit le plus ouvert).
Et bien, je pense peut-être enfin savoir de quoi vous en parlez… Je ne peux croire que j’aie raté le coche à ce point. Vous devez sans doute être en train de parler de Sun News TV, basé à Calgary… Ce poste de télévision qui sert d’exemple d’une idéologie qui cherche, avec difficulté, à trouver des fidèles — et qui est tant considéré par les médias au Québec comme l’incarnation du Québec-Bashing. Ce poste, oui, on le connaît tous. Mais avec mois de 1% des cotes de téléspectateurs (oui, moins de 1%… c’est ça ce qu’on dit, le chiffre cité dans les médias)… je ne vois guère comment ce poste pourrait représenter l’Alberta en quelque forme que ce soit. Peut-être est-il dû au fait qu’il n’est qu’un poste de chroniqueurs à l’extrème bout d’une échelle, plutôt qu’un poste de vraies informations et d’actualités (même la CRTC en a dit autant, refusant de l’accorder une désignation catégorie “A”). Apparemment, ce poste a subi des pertes annuelles de l’ordre de 10 à 20 $ millions. Alors, tout le monde — même en Alberta — reste perplexe face au fait qu’il puisse demeurer toujours en ondes. Les chiffres exactes restent à vérifier (si vous avez les chiffres exactes, genez-vous pas de me les faire parvenir — car j’ai même lu quelque part que leur cotes pourraient être aussi bas que 0,2%). Moi, je ne trouve rien d’étonnant dans ces chiffres car je rencontre très très peu de gens, soit en Alberta, soit en C-B, soit en Saskatchewan, qui sont des fidèles de Sun News TV.
Alors, on se demande quel genre de propriétaire de chaîne de télévision pourrait tolérer une telle perte sur son bilan. N’est-ce sans doute une personne qui aurait perdu toute vue de la réalité? Autrement quel genre de personne serait incliné vider ses poches, année après année, pour garder un tel poste en vie ? Avec des pertes annuelles de 20$ millions par an, des cotes d’écoute de moins de 1%, et sur la surface du moins, un poste qui ne sert que de semer, par exprès, le désaccord entre le Québec et la Canada anglais, quel genre de personne ayant du bons sens pourrait vouloir garder un tel poste en vie? (N’oubliez jamais que ce sont les reporteurs de Sun News TV qui se font pointer du doigt le plus souvent lorsque les médias au Québec cherchent des exemples du Québec-Bashing de la part du reste du Canada — souvent par les chaînes Québecor de TVA et LCN, mais également par certaines émissions-débat / d’interview télévisées très populaires de Télé-Québec, Radio-Canada et certains chroniquers de journeaux). Sous n’importe quelle autre prétexte, un poste de télévision comme Sun News TV aurait déjà fait faillite il y a très longtemps.
Mais un instant! Le propriétaire de Sun News TV, n’est-il pas Pierre Karl Péladeau? (Le propriétaire de Québecor lui-même). C’est bizarre, car je croyais qu’il avait déjà vendu ses actions de Sun News Media. Mais non… au deuxième coup d’œil, il a seulement vendu ses actions dans la presse écrite de Sun News hors Québec… Et depuis qu’il est devenu député à la scène du Parti Québécois, il semble avoir décidé, mettant à disposition une bonté innée, garder Sun News TV en vie… et il faut se poser la question, pourquoi? Il va sans dire que ce mélange du monde des politiques, des ambitions personnelles pour la souveraineté, et des affaires dans l’industrie des médias est très dangereux, très très dangereux — et un conflit d’intérêt obscène. Cette fois, non seulement les Québécois sont bernés par ces tactiques, mais les Albertains se voient utilisés dans ce jeu dangereux, et presque personne au Québec ne leur donne la voix juste pour contrer ce stratgème – un stratagème pour faire que les Québécois nous haïssent.
M. Péladeau est un homme très intelligent, un homme d’affaires très astucieux qui sait comment utiliser son empire médiatique et ses investissements pour atteindre ses buts ultimes. Mème si ses stratagèmes qui ne sont pas annoncés prima-facie, et même si ses actions de Québecor sont mises en fiducie sans droit de regard, le fait qu’il y a une compagnie médiatique associée à son nom avec des investissement qui s’en écoulent toujours (dont il doit surement avoir un droit de décision, tout comme il l’aurait eu dans la décision de garder Sun News TV en vie) aurait toujours de répercussions politiques. C’est souvent le “pouvoir discret” (“soft power” comme on dit en anglais) qui compte plus que le “hard power”.
Alors, quelle serait la prochaine étape? L’Achat des Ramparts de Québec comme étape additionnelle envers le repatriement d’une équipe LNH? C’est sur que ça va arriver car les affaires de la planification de l’amphitéatre de Québec, du gouvernement Marois, de Québecor et des contrats qui l’entourent était trops entremêlées pour en croire autrement. Mais comment reconcilier l’apparence (et la forte probabilité) que le tout aurait pu être planifié pour servir comme outil pour gagner les coeurs et âmes dans une région où il en a besoin de gagner le plus de votes possibles?
Je n’ai rien contre le fait que M. Péladeau s’engage dans la politique, à titre d’individuel et même à titre d’homme d’affaires. Le débat publique des idéologies devrait faire son chemin, et tout le monde y a droit. Mais il y a un problème lorsqu’on est homme d’affaire et ses placements puissent influencer les “sentiments” des gens. Ce sont les sentiments qui mènent aux votes — et à ce niveau les règles du jeu ne sont plus équitables (face à une telle situation, quel autre politicien, peu importe leur affiliation politique, pourrait vraiement livrer concurrence?).
Le “pouvoir discret”, ça parle fort.
Peut-être c’est dans ces histoires où vous trouverez votre vrai scoop.
Monsieur ou madame l’éditeur ou l’éditrice au Figaro, on ne vit plus dans l’époque de la visite du Général de Gaulle. On est en 2014. Peut-être c’est le temps de revisiter ce que vous en savez de la situation actuelle en Alberta. Peut-être c’est le temps de différencier l’époque de la visite de M. Hollande de celle du Général de Gaulle.
M. Hollande semble en avoir pris conscience. Peut-être c’est également à votre tour.
Sorry folks, but Alberta bashing is so not cool!
There are new developments in this saga (see below), and so I think it’s appropriate to translate the above so add coherency. The translation is as follows…
Summarized paragraph of Le Figaro’s article:
On the eve of the visit of the President of the French Republic to Canada, the government of Steven Harper has decided to rename the Champlain Bridge, in Montréal, the Maurice-Richard Bridge, after a popular hockey player. The French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, founder of Québec in 1608, was tossed aside, just at the same time that François Hollande decided to visit the very francophobic Alberta; quite a message that sends.
My response to that:
When you call us the “very francophobic Alberta”, exactly who and what are you talking about?
If you’re talking about a people or a government in its entirety (which you’re leading me to believe), are you aware that the government of Alberta is investing, year-after-year, more and more money in the building of new Francophone and French immersion schools, as well as an overall support for French education in general? It is doing this not only out of necessity for the province’s Francophones, but also to help Anglophones become more bilingual – which has the effect of also allowing Alberta to integrate further into Canada’s and the world’s French fabric. And this is not to mention the additional services in French that the Alberta government now provides.
On an individual level, are you aware that at this very moment there are more students in Alberta who are studying French than the number of individuals who make up the entire population of the city of Montpellier in France? Are you aware that the parental demand for French immersion placement outnumbers the number of places available, resulting in waiting lists due to a lack of a teacher shortage? (Note to readers in France: If you are a teacher and you’re looking for a job, Alberta needs you. First year salary, $55,000, fifth year salary $75,000, with a benefits package just as good in Alberta as it is in France – and you can expect to be welcomed with open arms!).
Unless I’m wrong, I can only guess that you’re not talking about me, nor my family, nor my neighbours, town, or friends – who, for the most part, reside in rural regions of Alberta. Whats more, I have never witnessed Francophobia or Francophobic Acts in Edmonton or Calgary, our two largest cities. So isn’t it strange that my Francophone friends in Alberta, who live a little bit of everywhere in the province, have never ever mentioned being the victims of Francophobia?
In light of what I’ve just described, I can only assume you were not referring to our largest cities, nor our rural regions, nor the government of Alberta. So excuse me if I’m left a little perplexed.
I’m still racking my brains over this one… I mean, I’m sure there has to be some logic somewhere in your argument. Maybe I should look to regions a little further South in Alberta to find the answer. After all, it’s the South which is “supposed to be” the most conservative. But… to my huge surprise, it’s actually the Southern parts of Alberta which have the highest rates of immigration in Alberta… including French immigrants from France! The city of Calgary, in the South (and which has a practicing Muslim mayor) has a visible minority rate of 30% to 35%, a number which continues to climb. So excuse me again if I’m wrong, but don’t immigrants tend to go where they believe discrimination does not exist, or at least where they feel people have the most open minds?
Oh, but wait a second… I think I finally might know what you’re talking about… I can’t believe this one went past me. You most certainly must be talking about Sun News TV, based in Calgary. Yes, this is the television station which upholds an ideology which is still looking for people to hook on to – but which is having such a difficult time finding those people. It’s also the television station which is considered by Québec’s media to be the incarnation of Québec bashing itself. This station, yes, we all know it. But with no better success than attracting less than 1% of television viewership (yes, less than 1% … that’s what they say, it’s the number cited in the media)… I can’t possibly see how this station is representative of Alberta in any form of substance. Perhaps all of this is due to it being nothing more than a station of columnist opinion-makers at the extreme end of a scale, rather than a true news station (even the CRTC said as much when they refused to grant it category “A” status). Apparently this station has been suffering annual losses of around $20 million. Thus, everyone — even in Alberta — remains a bit baffled that it can manage to stay on air. The exact numbers need to be verified (if you have them, please don’t be shy and let me know — because I’ve even read that their share of market viewership may even be as low as 0.2%). Personally, I don’t find anything shocking in such numbers because I know of very very few people in Alberta, BC, or Saskatchewan who actually watch Sun News TV. I watch it from time to time, but only to find out what absurdities they’re talking about, not because I agree with them — and I think that’s the case for the other few who also might tune into it once or twice a month.
So… It begs the question: What kind of an TV station owner could ever tolerate such a loss on their balance sheet? It could only be someone who has lost touch of all sense of reality. Otherwise, what person would be inclined to empty their pockets, year after year, to keep such a station alive? With annual losses approaching $20 million, viewership numbers of less than 1%, and on the surface at least, a station which appears to have a main goal of causing division between Québec and English Canada, what type of person in their right sense would ever want to keep such a station alive? (Never forget that its the reporters of Sun News TV who are on the receiving end of fingers pointing at them when Québec media looks for examples of Québec Bashing on the part of the rest of Canada… and it’s often Québecor’s TVA, LCN and debating / opinion-maker interview programs on Télé-Québec, Radio-Canada, and certain newspaper columnists who do the finger pointing).
In any other context, a station like Sun News TV would have gone bankrupt a long time ago.
But wait a second! The owner of Sun News TV, isn’t he Pierre Karl Péladeau? (The owner of Québecor himself). That’s strange – I thought he already sold his shares in Sun News Media. But no! On second glance, he only sold his shares in the written press outside Québec. Since he became a Member of the National Assembly within the Parti Québécois, he seems to have decided, in all his goodness, to keep Sun News TV alive and well…. And now the question begs to be answered: WHY?
It goes without saying that this mix of politics, personal ambitions for sovereignty, and media business is very dangerous — and an obscene conflict of interest. This time, not only have Québécois had the wool pulled over their eyes, but now even Albertans are being used as pons in this dangerous game — and almost nobody in Québec is giving them a fair voice to counter this strategy — one which is to make Québec hate us.
Mr. Péladeau is a very intelligent man, a very acute business man who knows how to use his media empire and investments to attain his ultimate goals. Even if his strategies are not announced prima facie, and even if his shares are placed in a blind trust, the fact that there continues to be a company associated with his name – with all the repercussions which stem from such a company’s investments (for which he surely has a right of decision, such as keeping Sun News TV alive) — makes it so that there will always be political repercussions. It’s often soft power which counts more than hard power.
So, what will be the next step? The purchase of the Québec Ramparts hockey team? After all, this would go a long way to promote ticket sales with which to attract an NHL hockey franchise back to Québec City. I can’t see how such a purchase will not go through. After all, look at what has happened with the contracts and laws surrounding the construction of the new Québec coliseum, the Marois-lead PQ, Québecor’s involvement, and how it has all been interconnected. In such a scenario, it’s difficult to reconcile the appearance (and strong possibility) of a conflict of interest, in the sense that it was all pre-planned as a tool with which to win hearts and minds (and thus votes) in a region where PKP and the PQ needs to win them the most (that being Québec City).
I have nothing against Mr. Péladeau becoming a politician, as an individual or as a businessman. The public debate of ideologies and the future of Québec needs to run its course – and everyone has a right to their ideologies. But the problem arises when a businessman’s ownership in massive conglomerates can influence the “emotions” of people. It’s always emotions which lead to votes – and in this sense the game is no longer equal (in the face of such a situation, what other politician, regardless of their political adherance, even those in the PQ, can actually compete against this?).
“Soft power” speaks loud.
Perhaps it’s in this story that you’ll find your real scoop.
Mr. or Mrs. Editor at Le Figaro, we no longer live in the period of Général de Gaulle. We live in 2014. Perhaps it’s time to revisit what you know about Alberta. Perhaps it’s time to differentiate between the eras of Mr. Hollande’s visit, and that of Général de Gaulle.
President Hollande seems to have realized it. Pehaps it’s now your turn.
Guess who I just found out bought Les Ramparts de Québec a couple of days ago! Tonight’s hometown first match under new ownership: PKP/Québecor vs. Les Olympiques de Gatineau.
And to Louise Beaudoin, Pierre Curzi and Lisette Lapointe… things seem a lot clearer now, and you three must have seen this coming. Now I can understand how difficult your decision must have been in 2011 to leave the PQ. It appears now that you three acted with extreme integrity when confronted with la loi 204 — My level of respect for all three of you just went up 100 points.
The next few months are going to be interesting.
Write about that, Le Figaro.
A couple of days ago, Patrick Bellerose (a published commentator) wrote an article in the Québec (French) addition of The Huffington Post.
In his article, he draws many of the same inferences I am with respect to the appearance of PKP making strategic business investments attain votes and his political goals – leading to the eventual independence of Québec through the winning over a population which is currently not hot on the idea.
However, what I find extremely interesting about Bellerose’s article is that he found a completely different business deal, but with the same kind of end-goal as those I mentioned. Combine Bellerose’s inferences with those of mine, and it seems we’re seeing a very dangerous pattern beginning to develop.
We’re now way beyond the realm of soft-power vote-buying for something like the re-paving of a highway or the location of a government office in a riding. Rather – we’re now entering the realm of the future of a Canada, and its 35 million+ inhabitants. The stakes are high, and the game being played on PKP’s end has the appearance of being a dirty strategy. This is worrisome because there are no other politicians who can compete against PKP’s personal money being used in this way to secure votes, hearts & minds.
Here is the link to Bellerose’s article: http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/12/11/vision-globale-achetee-pour-aider-la-campagne-de-pkp-_n_6310470.html
In a nutshell, what he is saying is the following…
PKP is a member of the National Assembly (MNA) representing the relatively rural provincial riding of St-Jérôme. Mirabel International Airport (Montréal’s former main international airport), which has been closed for years to commercial passenger traffic, is physically situated close to where the majority of the St-Jérôme riding’s population lives. Following the closure of passenger traffic, Mirabel’s passenger terminal has been in a state of limbo, but has found new life as a backdrop for movies (if you watch Hollywood movies which contain airport scenes, you may sometimes notice that they’re filmed in Mirabel terminal — it’s the only major large-scale terminal of its type which is not being used in North America, making it perfect for movie sets).
The Québec film company, Vision Globale, is responsible for filming movies around Mirabel (it includes Mel’s studios). In June, after PKP became an MNA, he proposed to purchase Vision Globale. TVA Group (owned by Québecor, which is owned by PKP) recently just concluded the purchase, for $118 million. Prior to the purchase, PKP, in his capacity of a sitting MNA, attended a government committee meeting in which he urged government support for the purchase because it would keep Mel’s Studio ownership within Québec (PKP’s company was the only Québec bidder – so by default, it would see PKP become the owner of it). Making this proposition in committee was a blatant conflict of interest. The government’s ethic’s commissioner investigated it and agreed as such – but concluded it was an unintentional error on the part of PKP. Fine, ok, no problem. That’s conflict of interest #1 in this affair, but I can let it slide.
But there’s now another conflict of interest (conflict of interest #2), which is more serious, and this one shouldn’t be allowed to slide…
The purchase of Vision Globale (& Mel’s Studios) for sure will secure jobs for PKP’s riding, and will help to ensure his popular support in his riding. That’s the real conflict of interest (not the fact that he brought it up in government committee). But what’s worse is that it Bellerose alleges PKP made the purchase at a significant financial loss (Vision Globale is losing money, and minority shareholders in TVA Group say Vision Globale should not have been worth $118 million). Allegedly, this has greatly upset minority shareholders in TVA Group, because they never would have approved the deal. However, because they were only minority shareholders (PKP has the majority of shares), they had no say. Adding insult to injury, Bellerose presents evidentiary statements which claim that, as part of the deal, PKP’s company issued a slew of additional shares as part of the deal, which further diluted any say existing TVA Group minority shareholders would have had.
Bellerose states that minority shareholders are now proposing that any further moves in this affair be put to a shareholder’s vote, presumably so that true shareholder sentiment and views can be made public. Bellerose says that TVA Group says these accusations or inferences are groundless.
My thoughts now?… The Radio-Canada investigative reporting program “Enquête” (similar to W5 or The Fifth Estate) did an amazing job of piecing together small indicators and chunks of apparent wrong-doings in a former scandal (unrelated to PKP), and using them to uncover one giant corruption scandal involving municipal governments and the construction industry (road resurfacing, bridge construction, etc.). It was the biggest government scandal in Québec’s history.
There seems to be the makings of a pattern in this new story too, which piece-by-piece are leading to a bigger picture. It’s perhaps time that something like Enquête takes this one on too. If there’s nothing there, fine. But if there is… we need to know. Too much is at stake (the future of a country is bigger than the future of the resurfacing of a road).
FURTHER ADDENDUMS, END 2014:
- PKP, in his role as a “politician”, speaks out in the National Assembly to limit Netflick’s potential harm to Québec culture, and seeks restrictions on Netflick… and who will that directly help? PKP’s own company, Québecor and TVA. Hmmm… conflict of interest?
- The CEM (a department of Université Laval) was requested by Premier Couillard to investigate PKP’s conflict of interest allegations. The CEM refuses to investigate, citing the situation is too politically sensitive and charged for them to become involved: http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/12/18/le-cem-refuse-detudier-le-cas-de-pkp_n_6348758.html
- PKP gives less-that-stellar performance when faced with hard economic Questions by Gérard Fillion. Normally this would be big news (PKP is Mr. Québec Business Tycoon) but Argent doesn’t mention even two words about his economic viewpoints or performance in economic interviews … it appears PKP is still their boss and will return one day. Info regarding the interview can be viewed HERE.
- Another clear example of the influence of PKP’s media empire and its conflict of interest with PKP’s political life. A few days ago PKP was at a major music festival (attended by another PQ candidate, Alexandre Cloutier, mayors, other officials, and large crowds of fans). During the concert, an Anglophone band was playing a song and PKP shouted out “En français!” as they were singing in English – enough to throw the band off, not knowing how to react. Seriously?!? What kind of place with Québec be should he come to power. Neither Pauline Marois, nor Bernard Landry would have done this. Quite possibly, even Mario Beaulieu (known as the most nationalist of all sovereignty leaders) likely would not have done this either. This was covered and carried by all the media, in detail, over a few days, including all the television stations, except (drum roll)… TVA. Yup… I’ve been waiting for a week, watching everyone else talk about it over and over… but am still waiting for TVA to say something. I guess they “never heard of it”.
- Radio-Canada’s coverage can be viewed by clicking HERE.
- La Press’ coverage can be viewed by clicking HERE.
- (Yes, his newspapers did carry it… but only because they’re stacked with opinion-makers like nothing else): Journal de Montréal’s can be viewed by clicking HERE.
- Sun News TV is closing tomorrow morning… the reason: nobody is watching it (only 8000 people at any one time), and annual costs of $16 – $18 million per year. The other reason: It looks like PKP really really wants to avoid being forced to sell his company Québecor for conflict of interest. It remains to be seen what happens next. Nonetheless, if you read the above, you will notice that sometimes the crystal ball is right (another article for you, Le Figaro).
- I will say this — and I’m very categorical in this statement — : I did NOT want SunNews to shut down with the aim of stifling their manner of disseminating information, or the dissemination of their ideologies. What I AM happy about is that many of their ideologies did not resonate with Anglophone Canadians – to the extent that they were not financially viable. I am a full supporter of free speech — loud and clear speech of all ideologies, from all directions. It just happened that Anglophone Canada did not like what they were saying. That, my friends, is the crux of what I am happy about (not the fact that they were shut down for the sake of being shut down). And like I said earlier in this post… Write about that, Le Figaro! (and while you’re at it, send a copy of your article by express mail to PKP’s constituency office, you know, for good measure, “en français SPV”!).
- Billet au Huff-Post Québec: Le jeu de la loyauté http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/louis-michel-gratton/le-jeu-de-la-loyaute_b_6707782.html – Ça va de soi. L’Entête: Depuis que PKP s’est lancé en politique, il m’est impossible d’écouter les nouvelles de LCN ou encore de lire un article du Journal de Montréal, sans me demander si les journalistes sont en mesure de faire abstraction de l’idée que leur « ancien patron » reviendra un jour en affaires. Louis Michel Gratton)
- Here’s yet another one with a familiar ring to it. Last week PKP was taking questions at a press conference. National assembly rules do not state that reporters are only allowed one question each. Other politicans do, and always have, taken follow-up questions from the same reporter. But PKP changed the rules at his press conferences; one reporter, one question. Even if others have a problem with that (and many do) I have absolutely no problem with that. He can run his show any way he wants. After all, at election time voters will ultimately decide if they do or do not like how he runs the show.
- But here’s the beef… Québec’s non Québecor carried this news like a wildfire takes to a mountainside. It was one of the top headlines and most trending new stories in Québec last week. But funny how TVA didn’t seem to know about it. Not a peep. There’s another one for you to write about, Le Figaro.
Is official without being official… Drainville withdrew from the leadership course and endorsed PKP. He’s now the defacto head of the PQ. He now has three years to realign the PQ to try to convince voters to endorse sovereignty. To do so he will likely re-centre the party. This will isolate and turn off the more left-wing elements in the party, but he will do so in the hope that he will pick up new centre and right-of-centre supporters to off-set the losses from the left.
The question now will be if he will consider the next provincial election a “referendum election” (ie: to hell with a referendum, and just go straight to sovereignty if the electors elect him after being forewarned).
Let the games begin!
- Yesterday Dominic Maurais of Radio-X interviewed Vincent Marissal, a well-known newspaper columnist. Marissal wrote a column in which he touched upon a massive star-studded rally Snyder is trying to put together for the crowining of PKP as head of the PQ.
- Marissal states that he has inside info that Snyder is wielding her influence as one of Québec’s best connected media and cultural personalities to call in favours from many in the artistic world her owe her one (singers, artists, TV personalities, etc.). She is trying to get 101 personalities to appear in a massive show to support PKP on May 8th.
- Marissal asserts that this has left many artists uncomfortable, but many owe her for past favours. It is a conundrum for many artists. In addition, many fear being damage to their careers if they refuse to Snyder’s call, and subsequently find themselves locked out of Québecor’s (TVA, and by extension Productions J) media sphere (which controls 40% of Québec’s media).
- Later on the same interview show, Pierre Céré, one of those running for the head of the PQ, insinuated that Vincent Marissal’s assessment is not necessarily wrote. He stated that it worries him, That is big news – and it is going over the head of most people.
- To add to all of this, the purported rally is to take place in Québec City’s new Ampithéatre ($90 million hockey & multi-purpose stadium) owned by Vidéotron, which is owned by Québecor, and thus owned by PKP. It may take the defacto form of a giant “Thank-you PKP” festival (after all, Québec City die-hard hockey fan residents have been desperate for the construction of a new stadium with which to try to attract the Nordiques back to the city). The rally’s goals would thus be to win the hearts and minds in the Québec City region, and turn them to PKP, AKA Jesus — all in a region where PKP and the PQ desperately need votes.
- If people were only aware…
- My thoughts: An extremely dangerous situation, if it’s true. What single other politician (provincial or federal) can compete with such Snyder-PKP tactics. Whether it works or not will be whether people manage to see through it.
(there y’are, Le Figaro!, have at ‘er!!)