Monday, October 11, 2010

The Colors of Fall

Autumn is the ideal season to marvel at the changing colors and, for politicians of wobbly principle, it must be their favorite time of year.

There are reports former Parti Quebecois ministers Francois Legault and Joseph Facal are in the process of forming a sovereignty-free political movement. Its focus would be the economy, although most observers seem fairly certain the movement will never become a party. For his labelling of the Clarity Act as "crap", his accusations that Stephane Dion had "totalitarian impulses" and  his dismissal of  a possible revival of constitutional talks as a "schizophrenic pipe dream", the ever-eloquent Facal is certainly known to Quebecers.

Luckily, credibility, integrity and moral substance are not prerequisites for becoming a politician. To change one's political color from black to white is to invite the burning question, "What were you thinking?" Yet, on it goes, men and women pulling their political stripes on and off  like childrens' Halloween costumes!

It's utterly nonsensical! Stand up for what you believe in and believe in what you stand up for, otherwise, go back to the hole you were living in and spend a little time getting to know your own mind!

Before becoming Liberal justice minister and, more recently, honorary monkey wrench, Marc Bellemare was a Parti Quebecois cabinet minister.

Before becoming a Liberal cabinet minister, Raymond Bachand was a former private secretary to PQ leader Rene Levesque. Five years ago, Bachand decided Quebec can easily develop and flourish within the federal framework, which is why, he pointed out, separation is not needed. Former Parti Quebecois Premier Pierre-Marc Johnson said in 1992, he was no longer convinced separation could be justified. He said the four reasons for a nation to become independent, oppression, cultural affirmation, overlapping constitutional jurisdictions and economic autonomy, could all be dealt with within federalism. A year later, Pierre-Marc Johnson was being talked about as a possible leader of the Quebec Liberal Party!

How can you work to pull our great country apart and then, abruptly, stop and say, hey, we really don't need to do this after all?

Guy Bertrand, in 1993, dismissed separatism as the work of a frustrated nationalist elite involved in an "outmoded debate which is full of hate". Bertrand was a founding member of the Parti Quebecois and, at one time, ran for its leadership.

In 2000, Nic Leblanc, a founding member of the separatist Bloc Quebecois, renounced sovereignty and, together with fellow Bloc MP Richard Belisle, jumped to the Canadian Alliance.

Richard LeHir resigned from the Parti Quebecois in 1996 and, two years later, called federalism the best bet for the future of Quebec. He also urged the provincial government to set aside the linguistic debate, arguing it "projects an image of racism and intolerance".

In 2004, former Bloc Quebecois member Jean Lapierre announced he was running for the Liberals in Outremont.

Lucien Bouchard was fitted for a "top of the line" impact-resistant helmet in the hopes of preventing repeated concussions as he bounced like a blurred pinball from federal Tory cabinet minister to the separatist Bloc Quebecois and Parti Quebecois.

While separatists seek to build fences and destroy the Canada we know and love, federalists seek to improve upon what we have now. To think politicians have the inherent ability to switch from "destruct" mode to "construct" mode is as ridiculous as saying PQ leader Pauline Marois speaks English to her children at home, or former PQ leader Jacques Parizeau chooses to be treated at a predominantly English hospital.

Marois does speak English to her kids and you know where to find Jack when he's sick.

Politicians are not that sophisticated. They're regular people pursuing power, not people promising poise and principle, but therein lies the strength of the democractic system; "government of the people, by the people, for the people".

You get what we are, warts and all.

Thankfully, some of our political leaders know what they're talking about and manage to stand, solid and strong, like oak trees, in the face of howling winds of change and suddenly shifting political climate.

With their intensity and variety, the colors of fall stun and dazzle, but perhaps their most astounding characteristic is their unpredictability.

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