With the official end of spring a few weeks ago, I think it can be said without fear of error that Quebec will never be the same. This Quebec spring was a time of accelerated consciousness raising. As if the mild weather melted the thick layer of ice that froze our spirits, so that we ceased to be passive victims of our dispossession, taking comfort in banal entertainments.
This collective consciousness raising occurred on several levels. In particular, we became aware that our next generation is articulate, stirred up and mobilized. We became aware, once again, of the power of collective action. We became aware of the excesses of a government solely serving an elite class who contribute to its election fund.
We also became aware of the fragility of social peace and the dangers inherent in manipulating the divisions within the population for purely partisan ends.
Time seems to have validated Jean Charest’s “grotesque” scenario. Unable to campaign on his record (on this subject, you absolutely should see liberaux.net), the Premier and the Liberal Party needed a crisis to make the voters forget the government’s scandals, divide the population, and then present him as a savior. This is a flagrant example of “wedge politics”, as explained here.
This strategy, advocated by George Bush and Stephen Harper, among others, can work although it is very risky. In throwing cauldrons of oil on a fire to make it burn to their advantage, politicians also risk losing control of the blaze. In seeking to whitewash themselves by smearing and demonizing others, they increase the risks that they will drift off course.
In this video, we can appreciate the Premier’s demolition job, as he dodges any question by stigmatizing his opponent, instead of addressing the substance of the debate. The consequences of this strategy are starting to be felt in the field. During Grand Prix weekend, dozens of people were arrested, solely because they were wearing the red square. Recently, some young people were refused access to a bar because they were wearing the red square,
Several similar cases are currently documented. One of the latest incidents? In Quebec’s capital, two members of the FIQ National Executive Committee were ejected from a taxi simply for wearing a red square.
Personally, this worries me deeply. What would have been said if these people had been refused access to the bar, to the taxi, to St. Helen’s Island, due to their ethnic origin or sexual orientation? Is it any more acceptable to discriminate on the basis of political opinion?
This should worry all of us. Regardless of the colour of our square, regardless of our political allegiance, regardless of whether or not we agree with the tuition increase or fees for public services, we should at least be aware that the Premier is trying to divide us and mask the stink of corruption with the smell of pepper spray.
Take care of yourselves this summer. Store up on vitamin D and sleep. Because very early this fall, it will be time to reap what was sown this spring.