By Harvey Oberfeld
September 22nd, 2015
You won’t have to speak French to watch/hear the upcoming French language Leaders’ Debate on Thursday: it will be carried with English translation on both CBC Newsworld and CTV News Channel. Or if you prefer to hear it without translation, CPAC will carry it in French.
For Canadians outside Quebec, that debate could prove even more enlightening than the two English language debates held so far. (No great challenge there!)
Why watch the French debate?
Because this debate will offer a unique look at how far all three major parties/leaders are prepared to go to win votes in Quebec.
You will hear ALL of them saying things and making promises in French to Quebeckers and about powers and spending and special influence for Quebec in Ottawa they do say or make or deliver to other provinces … in either Official language.
I hope I’m wrong … I actually do … because that would indicate the leaders and parties are truly dedicated to the equality of all Canadians.
And why not?
Didn’t the Opposition parties castigate Stephen Harper for referring to “new” Canadians and “old stock” Canadians … Mulcair and Trudeau saying ALL Canadians are equal … we’re all just Canadians!
They accused Harper of dividing Canadians … and harrumphed about that to any media who would listen … and, of course, all of them lapped it up.
Funny though …or maybe not so funny … neither of them felt that way just weeks ago when BOTH promised that, if elected, they would negotiate with Canada’s aboriginals “Nation to Nation” … clearly indicating that they do NOT see our First Nations citizens as part of he Canadian nation, but actually as a separate nation living among the rest of us.
The same is true of Quebec.
The truth is our parties and our leaders DO play favorites: the degree of preferential treatment directly proportional to the number of seats up for grabs AND the penchant of the local population for being paid off.
Quebec offers both: 78 seats; and, a superb historical track record of demanding and getting special status, distinct powers, and preferential spending (never forget the CF-18 contract debacle!) … and just plain bribes (like a FREE new Champlain bridge now being built over the St. Lawrence , not only paid for 100% by the federal government … but also forever toll-free if the NDP or Liberals are elected. (Take that, taxpayers in other provinces! )
Who knows what largesse, what new powers, what bribes will be promised on Thursday?
EVERY voter should tune in: it’s YOUR money too they’ll be dishing out.
And more importantly, remember: when one person or one group or one province is given EXTRA power or status or influence … everyone else gets LESS.
Maybe I will be proved wrong: let’s hope so.
But my money … literally …is on promising MORE for Quebec, MORE than anyone outside would ever imagine … or be told about on the leaders’ visits to their provinces.
Certainly worth tuning in: could be enlightening … and even fun.