The Bloc has Margaret Atwood's vote (but not mine)

By Melanee Thomas on Oct 5, 2008

I love Margaret Atwood. I remember nearly losing it for laughing during an oral book report in high school relaying the funeral scene in Life Before Man, being stunned when I finished the Handmaiden's Tale as a young undergraduate, and adoring the uniqueness of the Penelopiad last year. Imagine my surprise when this woman, who I'd characterise as a large influence on my development as a feminist, said she'd vote Bloc if given the chance as there's no real alternative in Quebec.

Of course, Atwood is critical of Harper's cuts to the arts. While Harper was clear to point out during the English language debate what the PCO told him (that these programs weren't particularly efficient), the Conservatives have messed up the spin so much on those arts cuts that the political hay continues to be made. 

I doubt Atwood's comments will sway many voters in Quebec, as the Quebeckers who care about the arts are far more likely to listen to francophone artists. I doubt Atwood would swing many voters in the Rest of Canada either, as those inclined to listen to Atwood are very likely not voting Conservative anyway. 

As for me, Atwood's comments cannot convince me to vote Bloc: Duceppe will easily win his riding, and I don't want to give my $1.75 to a party that seeks to break apart my country. That said, if I was in a more competitive riding (say, Papineau), I might be inclined to be swayed by Atwood's comments. 


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"[...] I might be inclined to be swayed by Atwood's comments."

I'm kinda disgusted by Atwood, how can someone who calls themselves Canadian ever shill for the Bloc?

Atwood wasn't shilling for the Bloc.

Let's be clear: Atwood wasn't "shilling" for the Bloc. She was shilling for the arts, and endorsed the Bloc. There's a difference.

It's important to remember that much of the Bloc's support in past elections has been from discontented Anglophones outside Montreal and rural voters, some of whom are decided federalists. They just want Quebec to get a nice slice of the federal government's pie, and voting Bloc is one way to do that. 

Personally, I wouldn't vote Bloc except in Papineau (as mentioned in the original post). The thing that makes Papineau special is that Justin Trudeau is the Liberal candidate.  

How exactly is voting for the Blog going to help the arts?

They just want Quebec to get a nice slice of the federal government's pie, and voting Bloc is one way to do that.

That's a pretty dubious statement...

Atwood may think that, but do you honestly believe it?

In a word, yes.

Think back to 2006: even Tom Flanagan was surprised the Conservatives won 10 seats in Quebec. It was because those voters, the ones who are at best soft sovereigntists, saw the Conservatives as a different, more effective way to get more of the federal pie.

Sure enough, what does Harper do: hand Charest a cool $1 billion in federal money, allowing Charest to turn around and deliver the most cynical tax cut I've ever seen (and then proceed to say there's no money for schools or hospitals). 

The Sponsorship Scandal was all about giving the goodies to QC, albeit in a way that saw the Liberals hold onto power. 

It's the thing that irritates me the most about living here: there is a sense of entitlement in Quebec that suggests the province is "owed" something for "past wrongs". Friends tell me the learned of all of Quebec's (not France's) "defeats" at the hands of the "Canadians" (not the English). Political history is taught with a particular bent in this province, and it's strengthened by the fact that no federal leader dares stand up to the Quebec provincial government. 

Don't get me started on what this does to health care in Quebec ... I don't have enough space. Suffice it to say Quebec has done more to advance privatisation in Canada than Alberta ever will because no one is prepared to call them out on their abuses of the Canada Health Act.

The fact that the Bloc has

The fact that the Bloc has had to branch away from being a one issue (separation) party in recent years does not erase the fact that they are proponents of separation (at least officially).

Anyone who who endorses a party whose official policy is the seperation of this country has lost my respect, and thats all this comes down to.

Now, to delve deeper into this issue, I think that, if the Bloc were more honest, and told people that they are pragmatists who are not actually for separation, but are a voting bloc FOR Quebec interests on the canadian national level, then Atwood could easily say a vote for the Bloc is a vote for the arts and not a divisive vote.

HOWEVER, as long as the Bloc play the 'Faux Separatiste' card, I will play the 'Faux Outraged Federalist' card. Period.

Melanee, you're not a fan of Canada's Crown Prince?

I'd vote for the Bloc AND donate a month's worth of wages to Barbot's campaign if I lived in Papineau. I should have done the latter anyway.

Dumb? No, offensive!

I for one am thoroughly disgusted by Atwood's actions. As an artist, she is a deservedly acclaimed creative force. She may have a beef with the Conservative party, BUT, indicating support for the Bloc shows a political immaturity beyond belief. Maybe she was "shilling" for the arts, but this was possibly one of the stupidest ways of doing so.

"Much of the Bloc's support has come from discontented anglos outside Montreal"..Really?? that is very big news to me. None of the anglos I know would ever consider voting for a party whose sole and extremely narrow-minded and short-sighted purpose is to destroy the fabric of this wonderful country. I live in Quebec and have to put up with the narrow-minded repressive attitude of separatists chaque jour, 'barnac!

I for one will NEVER buy another Atwood book.

The Bloc would have my vote if...

If only I lived in Quebec and I voted, The Bloc would have my vote -- hands down. As far as I am concerned, The Bloc is the first party to bring common sense to the House of Commons. I am actually astonished that there are not any more regional parties in the federal government.

Also, I consider myself a proud Canadian AND a separatist. For me, "Canada" is not equivalent to the federal government or the state. Canada is MUCH more. I do not need the suffocation of government to delineate my identity -- unlike most other Canadians, it seems.

DISCLAIMER: 1) I do not give a damn about Margaret Atwood. I never read any of her stuff and I have no plans to start. 2) I object to subsidizing the arts and anything, for that matter.

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