May Day: Workers of the World … Celebrate Quebec’s Election Results!
By Harvey Oberfeld
OK … maybe a bit much to expect workers of the entire world to rejoice in the recent Quebec election results … but certainly workers across Canada …coast to coast … should be happy on this May Day about the outcome.
It was a day I will not forget: there I was … out in the middle of the Atlantic, literally, on a cruise ship headed towards Europe … but being a news junkie, still checking in on the Internet to keep up with events at home.
Wow! A Liberal majority in the Quebec vote! A resounding rout of the Parti Quebecois … with even Leader Pauline Marois sent packing.
Incroyable! Merveilleuse! Quelle bonne nouvelles!
And although my emotions were more of wonder, joy and even amusement … it was the reaction of a Francophone Quebecois, about 60 years old, whom I had met a few days earlier on board I will always remember when I gave him the news:
“Robert, as tu entendu les nouvelles?,” I inquired when I saw him on deck. “Les Liberaux ont gagne l’election: avec un majorite. Et Marois a perdu sa siege!.”
“Really?” he replied in English, “Really, Harvey?” A BIG smile on his face!
“Oui…vraiment …je vien de le lire sur l”internet,” I repeated. ”Un majorite pour les Liberaux! Et Marois est fini!”
A BIGGER smile from Robert.
“I’m just shaking,” he laughed. “We were so worried. I’m … how you say … shuddering …so good news?”
Yes, Robert was shuddering ..with unexpected joy.
Because he … and apparently most Quebecois …. had realized more than most of the rest of us the tremendous implications we would have faced with a PQ majority victory … especially one built on division, racism, exclusion and, make no mistake about it, plans to develop a scenario for another referendum.
No pussy-footing around for them; no faux support for intolerance in the name of cultural preservation; no sympathy for shallow outsiders who thought it fashionable to turn their backs and say nothing about the excesses of the PQ’s anti-ethnic agenda: instead a hard realization of the reality that yet another dance with xenophobia and separatism would have brought working Quebecois.
The impact of all … or any of that …on the Quebec economy, on the Canadian economy, on investments and ultimately on the jobs of working people in this country, from coast to coast would have been “negative” at least and “disastrous” at worst.
Just imagine the uncertainty had the PQ achieved a majority and adopted its racist rules, ramped up its anti-Ottawa rhetoric, stirred up political nationalist Quebec demonstrations, and actively manipulated all kinds of issues in search of a “winning” formula for another referendum.
The Quebecois majority said “Non” and we should under-estimate the importance of the recent vote.
It’s game over for any separatist agenda for at least a generation: the PQ had been counting on its outrageous xenophobic agenda winning majority support in rural and even small urban areas off the island of Montreal, up north and in the eastern parts of the province … especially among the old-fart bigots I have written about previously.
Indeed, the pre-election polls showed they had their support.
BUT what the PQ had not foreseen was that YOUNGER Quebecois, everywhere in the province, ARE changing: they are better educated, more sophisticated than their parents, grandparents; they no longer fear people of other ethnicities, other colours, other faiths; they are learning and speaking English without fear of losing their culture; they travel more; and, they … like their counterparts throughout the rest of the country … are less concerned about raging against turbans, skullcaps and Muslims.
And they voted!
For the Quebec economy! For their families’ futures! For jobs!
And this May Day … all Canada’s workers are benefitting from the actions of their Quebecois brothers and sisters.