Good bye, Dr. Couillard



Everywhere I looked yesterday, which was election day in Quebec, factories, dairies, and shops had signs saying “nous embauchons” – we are hiring.  Despite the surge of employment and investment , the people of Quebec decided to replace the governing Liberals under Phillippe Couillard, a former thoracic surgeon, with  Francois Legault, of Coalition Avenir Quebec. The CAQ is said to be “populist” but what that might mean in the Quebec context is less than clear, since Quebec politics is always “populist”.

French Canada takes for granted that the purpose of politics is the preservation and enhancement of the French Canadian nation, to which all other considerations are subordinate. I frequently describe Quebec politics as “national socialism without the interesting uniforms” but like many a good jab it is unfair to say so. There is no secret police, totalizing ideology, or lack of personal tolerance, yet the shared and assumed goal is that politics has no other purpose.

When nationalism of this kind is even suggested, let alone practised, in English Canada and the United States, it is denounced by all enlightened opinion. Hence Trump and his opposition. But nationalism is taken for granted in Quebec. Thus the idea that Quebec is following any trend started elsewhere is rubbish. Maybe the rest of North America is catching up to Quebec.

I have not seen Quebec look so prosperous since I was a teenager in the 1960s. Huge factories and industrial installations are being erected near highways. I see projects abandoned since the 1970s that are under construction again.

After 15 years of Liberal government, I understand why the Quebecois decided to end the provincial Liberal regime. Clearly they did so without concern that the prosperity would fail to continue under the new guys.

I have remarked in various postings over the past year or so that Quebec’s forty year long bad mood is over. Maybe this is another sign that this is so. Let us hope the CAQ continues the drive to prosperity. After forty years of economic decline, of and people being depressed and rude, prosperity and happiness make a welcome change.