Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hey Quebec! What Are You Waiting For? Take It to the Streets

Maybe it's just me. When the president of the association of the province's crown attorneys declares publicly that the Quebec government is acting in a manner that is unconstitutional, irresponsible, and immoral, you would think that given the political context in Quebec, corruption and collusion at all levels of government, that people would get riled and take their protests to the streets.

That didn't happen. Instead, a former PQ minister releases a tepid manifesto that may or may not lead to the formation of a new political party. Wow.

In the Arab world, citizens are putting their lives on the line to depose of despotic rule. Even in Madison, Wisconsin, tens of thousands take to the streets to protest the government's desire to strip some of the collective bargaining rights of its public sector workers.

Here in Quebec, we signed an on line petition asking for the Premier to step down; there was supposed to be a protest march in front of Quebec's National Assembly, but it was cancelled so it wouldn't interfere with the winter carnival; and, oh yes, 50 thousand people did assemble in Quebec City to express their desire for a professional hockey team.


Having just spent the last several years in the Quebec Courts pushing forward the question of the constitutionality of the electoral system, I have cause for concern with the government's decision to enact legislation to force the crown attorneys back to work.

In our case, I was quite surprised by the lack of resources and the quality of arguments put forward by the Crown, especially since a decision in our favor would have huge consequences on Quebec's political system. In my opinion, their arguments were hastily prepared and they didn't seek out any expert witnesses who could speak with authority on the subject of voting systems. In fact, just two of us with very limited means could totally out resource the Crown with regard to assembling a legal team and obtaining expert witness testimony. Just imagine what happens in criminal cases where the defendants are capable to hire the best legal team available.

So what, coconut.

Adding the legal system to the long list of government services that don't function very well doesn't make much of a difference. What really counts is how far the Habs go in the playoffs and which couple wins the tele-reality show, Occupation Double.

Brave New World anyone? No thanks, I already live there.

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