With regard to politics, we have learned that the engineering and construction firms are the principle illegal funders of the two political parties that control the province. As well, criminal charges have been laid against the Mayor of Laval and the interim Mayor of Montreal. This week charges were also laid against the former director of the provincial police and three of his high-ranking subordinates for fraud, breach of trust, and theft. Previously, we learned through the work of the Bastarache commission that judges lobbied political fundraisers in order to obtain a promotion. Most recently, we discovered that the Premier's husband allegedly had a special deal with one of the largest unions in Quebec, the same one that has ties with organized crime, and that the former Premier of Quebec allegedly received a contribution to his political party in return for a contract.
Literally, the roadways are falling apart and it will take tens of billions of dollars that the province doesn't have to make the repairs. Quebecers are already the highest taxed citizens in North America and it's only going to get worse. During the market crash, the Quebec pension funds lost 25% of their value, in other words, 40 billion dollars. Like the concept of a balanced budget, changes to the pension plans have also been put off.
You would think that given this state of affairs, we're swimming in a cesspool of corruption while the credibility of our political class sinks further and further, we would see a political gesture aimed at restoring confidence in the political process.
Far from it.
Instead, we are treated to the theatre of the bizarre. The minority PQ government is trying to sell the population of an odious Charter of Values that would discriminate against religious minorities in Quebec, a proposed law that even the province's human rights commission has denounced.
Playing to the nationalist xenophobia of its electoral base, this move is electoral politics at its best. It diverts the population's attention from issues that really matter.
The said part of the story is that the population is effectively held captive. Since the first-past-the-post electoral system provides an alternance of two governing parties, both unable to effectively govern the province, there is no way out of the mess we have gotten ourselves into.
Democracy you say. Not here. The only truly democratic gesture that remains for me is to vote with my feet and get the hell out of here.