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Quebec Is Shedding Image as Hotbed of Political Re


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As i was seeking info about the sponsorship scandal in us website, i found that in the ny times.

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Quebec Is Shedding Image as Hotbed of Political Rest

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS

Published: April 3, 2005

MONTREAL, March 30 - The scene on fashionable Rue St.-Denis looked as if it came out of another era: hundreds of students staging a sit-in in front of a Liberal Party office and blocking rush hour traffic on a Tuesday afternoon. Red and black banners flapped as fists pumped in the air. The police surrounded the students in their patrol cars.

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Drivers appeared to patiently accept their inconvenience by not honking. People enjoying the dazzling spring afternoon at outdoor cafes clapped and joined in the chants of protest against cuts in student aid.

The demonstration and the signs of popular support were among a number of indications that Quebec's political life, a life that has been relatively quiet for a decade, is becoming vibrant and chaotic again. The targets of this public disenchantment are both the provincial and federal Liberal governments, which have been tarnished by scandal and by stalled attempts at policy reform.

While the rest of Canada appears bored with politics and nonchalant about the weakest federal government in a generation, politics in predominately French-speaking Quebec are percolating more powerfully than at any time since the last separatist referendum in 1995, which lost by a narrow margin.

"It is a really special moment," said Julie Ouellet, 22, one of the demonstrators, who is studying sociology at the University of Quebec at Montreal. Suggesting that the narrow objectives of the sit-in had deeper, more radical possibilities, she added: "The cultural revolution can come when people begin asking what kind of society we want. Right now, the government is thinking of nothing other than money."

More than 170,000 college students in Quebec have been on strike for the last month, in the largest student mobilization here since the 1960's, when social revolution and separatism were in the air. Now, students are demanding that the provincial government reverse a plan to transform $80 million of student grants into loans. There have been dozens of arrests and sporadic violence.

College teachers, pressing their own contract demands, went on a half-day strike this week and are threatening more job actions. Elementary teachers and provincial government workers say they will take action to increase wages, unions are pressing to organize Wal-Mart Stores and even the musicians of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra are performing in T-shirts as part of their bid for a new contract.

And while workers and students are mobilizing, a federal investigative commission holding televised hearings here has stirred public rage with revelations over the last month of almost unbelievable waste in the supposed cause of thwarting Quebec separatism - like paying huge commissions to advertising agencies close to the Liberal Party for designing golf balls as well as paying for box seats to Ottawa Senators hockey games and Neil Diamond and Shania Twain concerts for political allies.

The developments, though not all connected, are strengthening the parties that want to promote Quebec's separation from the rest of Canada.

Jean Charest, the Liberal leader of Quebec, whose government was elected two years ago, has been forced to retreat from plans to slash spending and taxes. His policies raising rates for day care and proposals for curbing government wages and cutting social benefits have fueled powerful resistance - and failed to inspire supporters to come to his aid. One recent poll showed his disapproval rating at 70 percent.

A loss to separatists by Mr. Charest's Liberals in the next provincial election, expected in three years, could set the stage for a third referendum on sovereignty, and recent polls suggest the result could be close again. The unrest here could more immediately affect national politics. Prime Minister Paul Martin, also a Liberal, faces the probability that his party will be swamped here by the separatist Bloc Québécois should he lose a confidence vote in Parliament and need to go to the polls in a snap election before the end of the year. A big loss in Quebec would make it doubtful that Mr. Martin could ever win back the majority in the House of Commons that his party lost last June.

The Liberals, who only won 21 of Quebec's 75 seats then, could lose even more ground.

Scandal erupted around the Liberal Party last year, after revelations that the federal government tried to increase its presence in Quebec after the close 1995 separatist referendum, through wasteful spending for sponsoring sports and cultural events. Funds appear to have been siphoned off to influential individuals during the government of Mr. Martin's Liberal predecessor, Jean Chrétien. As much as $80 million went to advertising firms allied with the Liberal Party for little or no work; some of that money may well have been funneled into Liberal coffers, according to recent testimony.

An investigative commission led by Justice John Gomery, which started its work a year ago, has been holding televised hearings in Montreal over the last several weeks, drawing out a litany of private greed and government waste. The province has paid rapt attention; French-language news channels reported a tripling of ratings and added new programming to cover the inquiry into the money flow.

According to recent testimony, an advertising agency owner who is a large donor to the Liberal Party received federal contracts, from which he paid himself, his wife and two children salaries of millions of dollars.

While his firm double-billed Ottawa for work on a stamp promotion campaign, the owner, Jean Lafleur, tried to claim a $1,000 fishing rod, bought as a gift, as a business expense incurred on the government's behalf.

In his testimony in Montreal, Mr. Lafleur said he could not remember who his fishing companion was. But in previous testimony, he disclosed that he had gone on fishing trips with a former federal justice minister as well as a senior government bureaucrat who was in charge of the controversial sponsorship program.

"Gomery is just the tip of the iceberg," said Michel C. Auger, a columnist for Le Journal de Montréal, a local daily. "The iceberg is, politics are not working anymore."

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Good article.  At least Quebeckers stand for something.  They don't bend over and take it like the rest of Canadians (including Albertans).  Actually especially Albertans.  I think Quebec could be a viable independent country.

Please elaborate on the Albertan comment.

And good to Quebec, glad to see the youth taking interest in politics.

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QUOTE (I miss Reagan @ Apr 4 2005, 07:06 PM)

I think Quebec could be a viable independent country.

Then we can send in the Military and take it back by force.

My goodness! How masochistic!

Well it's fine if they want to separate, but don't expect AYNTHING from Canada after they sign the deal. Once you are out, you are OUT.

No money, no help, no support. They want to play this little game, well, we can play as well. If they need money, I'm sure Ontatio would be more than happy to sell them their garbage.

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Good article.  At least Quebeckers stand for something.  They don't bend over and take it like the rest of Canadians (including Albertans).  Actually especially Albertans.  I think Quebec could be a viable independent country.

Please elaborate on the Albertan comment.

And good to Quebec, glad to see the youth taking interest in politics.

Alberta does a lousy job of standing up to Ottawa. All our government does is talk tough. Even Newfoundland put up a fight when wronged by PM by taking down the flag. Albertans continue to vote in a big spending PC government which continues the same kind of democratic deficit that we have federally. But they sure do like to lecture Ottawa. Klein refuses to implement the Alberta Agenda AKA the Firewall, which would give us more leverage against the Feds. Albertans bend over and take Kyoto, Gun Registry, etc. etc.

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Very good observation IMR. Now, can you tell us why the Kleinsters are so self-serving?

Power I suppose. Klein was good for a couple terms. We needed some tough love cleaning out. But as time goes on he starts getting lazy and drunk on the power. He starts spending more to maintain the power, he starts rewarding his pals. He does what ever the hell he wants.

I'd take him over the libs or the NDP's any day though. What are you getting at BD?

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Power I suppose. Klein was good for a couple terms. We needed some tough love cleaning out.

Notwithstanding the troublesome tidbit that public spending in Alberta (save for private sector subsidies) had been declining for several years and was even below the Canadian average when the Klein government came along.

So it's not as though Ralph started out great and got corrupted. He was corrupt from day one. Patronage, corporate welfare: these are cherished traditions in Alberta's political establishment.

I'd take him over the libs or the NDP's any day though.

So in that respect you are identical to an ardent federal Liberal supporter: "Sure, I'll take corruption, greed and lies anyday, so long as the greedy liars are my kind of people."

What are you getting at BD?

Me? I'm just riffing...

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So in that respect you are identical to an ardent federal Liberal supporter: "Sure, I'll take corruption, greed and lies anyday, so long as the greedy liars are my kind of people."

Good point but I wouldn't say identical. I believe the ardent Liberal supporters are ignorant and suckers to the scare tactics of the Canadian media. Me, I voted AA. But I prefer the tough talk of Klein to the ass kissing we'd likely see from the other parties. I also prefer Klein's keeping within the budget that we wouldn't see with the other parties. Of course I disagree philosophically with most of the libs and ndps policies. I just disagree with Klein to a lesser degree. So really I'm nothing like the ardent Liberal supporter.

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But I prefer the tough talk of Klein to the ass kissing we'd likely see from the other parties. I also prefer Klein's keeping within the budget that we wouldn't see with the other parties.

BWAHAHAHA!

Stop. My sides.

Klein's budgets are smoke and mirrors. His regime could teach Enron a thing or two about creative accounting. A slush fund here, a lowballed revenue estimate there....

Of course I disagree philosophically with most of the libs and ndps policies. I just disagree with Klein to a lesser degree. So really I'm nothing like the ardent Liberal supporter.

But you are. Let's see what you said:

I believe the ardent Liberal supporters are ignorant and suckers to the scare tactics of the Canadian media.

So then you're more lik ethe people who grudginly support the Liberals becaus ethey don't like the alternatives. Same difference.

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BWAHAHAHA!

Stop. My sides.

Klein's budgets are smoke and mirrors. His regime could teach Enron a thing or two about creative accounting. A slush fund here, a lowballed revenue estimate there....

Hyperbole. Now you're just looking for a fight.

So then you're more like the people who grudginly support the Liberals because they don't like the alternatives. Same difference.

No. I'm more like the Quebeckers who vote for the alternative, (AA in our case) to send the corrupt ruling party a message.

Bringing us back to the topic, the Quebeckers at least have guts. Besides, Gilles Duceppe is a far better leader than Layton or Martin could ever be, even if he is a communist.

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So then you're more like the people who grudginly support the Liberals because they don't like the alternatives. Same difference.

We don't grudgingly support the Liberals; with the alternatives available we pray like mad that the Liberals win.

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I believe the ardent Liberal supporters are ignorant and suckers to the scare tactics of the Canadian media.

We didn't need the media to convince us that Harper is not the person to lead this country; neither are the policies of the Conservatives acceptable to Canadians that want Canada to make its own decisions rather than follow the USA wherever its aggression leads. We believe there are some things much more important than the almighty Yankee dollar.

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  • Forum Admin
This forum is a hotbed of extreme right winged Conservatives.
We don't like attacking other countries without just cause; just cause they have control of oil.

Cut the off-topic trolling out.

Greg

Admin

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Only Liberal bashing and turning every thread into Gomery inquiry allowed eh

If that happens, contact me and I'll remedy the situation. Otherwise, I can't be blamed for your inaction.

Greg

Admin

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