Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Politics Of Othering

I don't like Pauline Marois.  I never have.  Frankly, she reminds me of a teacher I had in grade 6 who ruled the classroom through fear and intimidation ... and she keeps on using political tactics that reek of the same stupidity.

Today's entry into the race for the bottom that is the Quebec Election comes from Marois in the form of "voter fraud" claims.

The PQ called a news conference Sunday morning to express concern about media reports of English-speakers and other non-francophones from outside the province trying to vote in the April 7 election. 
PQ candidate Bertrand St-Arnaud wants the province's chief electoral officer to closely examine attempts to register to vote. 
"We don't want this election stolen by people from Ontario and the rest of Canada," St-Arnaud said.
Really?  ... and just who might this sudden influx of anglophone voters be?

The comments come after the head of an electoral office for a downtown Montreal riding, Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques, resigned on Friday over concerns about the registration process. 
Mathieu Vandal told Montreal's Le Devoir newspaper there had been an increase in the number of non-francophones trying to register and he wasn't confident voters were being properly screened.There have been numerous reports recently of English-speaking university students trying to register to vote in the election. 
Some students have complained they were turned away even though they believed they had the necessary documentation. 
Oh ... students.  Well yes, there's so many of them in Quebec that if all of them voted, they might be able to sway a seat or two.

Of course, this is actually the PQ playing two wedges at once.  The first wedge being to riff on Poilievre's claims of "widespread voter fraud" (which we know are BS), along with playing a blatantly racist card - namely whipping up fear of "anglophone voters" trying to steal the election among rural, french speaking Quebecois voters.  (The so-called "pure laine Quebecois" who have been the backbone of separatist movements in Quebec for years)

Quebec has a population in the 8,000,000 range (give or take a bit), with a fairly large number of post-secondary educational institutions - somewhere around 70 colleges, and 17 universities.  Even if all of them are the size of the University of Calgary - some 20,000 students, that's still a relative handful of voters - even if they were all anglophones from outside Quebec in the first place.

Of course, Marois has been playing divisive politics since she rolled out the bogus "Charter of Quebec Values" legislation, and it's only going to get worse as her polling numbers slide.  Like Harper (whose playbook she seems to be liberally borrowing from), she can't seem to see anything other than hostile solutions to the problems she faces.  

It's unfortunate, but not entirely shocking.    In some ways, Harper and Marois are political allies.  

Harper doesn't care what happens in Quebec - it just creates opposition seats as far as he is concerned, so if Quebec chose to separate it's to his political advantage.  Marois, of course, doesn't want to see anything working in Quebec's favour federally so that she can claim that "Federalism Doesn't Work" (which really makes the SCoC decision WRT Marc Nadon a double whammy - it shoots both Harper and Marois' positions full of holes).

Frankly, I don't believe that the majority of Quebec wants to even consider a referendum on separation at this time.  Marois got elected the same way Harper did - it wasn't a vote _for_ the PQ, it was a vote against the incumbent government that had been in power too long.  Now that the referendum discussion is back on the table, she's back-pedalling fast trying to change the channel.

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