At the start of this election, Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party, thought he had his Quebec base all sewed up. Buttoned down. Solid.
But his front runner status in Quebec was suspect.
What happened to the seemingly indestructible Orange Crush in Quebec?
Let me explain:
In the 2011 federal election, NDP leader Jack Layton and his Quebec lieutenant Mulcair supported the controversial policy of Quebecers separating from Canada and breaking up Canada, provided a 50% plus 1 vote was obtained in a Quebec referendum on a question, that may or may not be clear.
This policy taken from the separatist BQ ( Bloc Quebecois, a separatist/federal party, oxymoronic much?) playbook, catapulted the NDP in Quebec, to win an extraordinary 59 seats in Quebec with about 43% of the popular vote in the 2011 federal election. And thus become, overall in the entire Canada, the official opposition party, to Stephen Harper’s majority Conservative Party in Ottawa, the federal capital of Canada.
So at the outset of the 2015, Mulcair thought that this similar position together with his very family friendly Federal childcare proposal, ( based in large part on the Quebec model), his progressive, anti-corporate platform to raise the taxes on big corporations, and his pro environment and anti-oil and gas policies, would further solidify NDP support in Quebec. And with his solid Quebec base intact, permit Mulcair and his party to expand in the rest of Canada, and win the federal election and form a federal NDP government for the first time in Canadian history.
Mulcair forgot the golden rule of Quebec politics
But Mulcair forgot the golden rule of Quebec politics. Quebecers don’t vote with their pocketbook, like those in the rest of Canada, they vote with the heart and what’s in their guts. And outside Montreal, oblivious to the downtown NDP intellectual elites,- Francophones, Anglophones and Allophones were questioning once again, who is a true Quebecer and what are Quebec’s true values. What are the values for which Quebecers must stand and fight?
After decades of turmoil, the consensus among those three above-named groups, was that Quebec was first and foremost a French-speaking province. If any Quebecer wanted to work in the Quebec public service or properly obtain services from the Quebec government or even provide services or products to the Quebec government, that person or persons must deal exclusively in French. It is not a matter of personal choice.
That’s a fact, Jacques!
Secondly, after centuries, Quebec, to a large extent, in the 1960s and going forward, finally liberated itself from the shackles of Catholicism and emerged as a secular state. The Catholic Church, or any church, temple or mosque was no longer welcome in the legislature, the boardrooms, the factories or the bedrooms of the Quebec state.
Thirdly, as to emphasize the above second point, the provincial Liberal government in the province of Quebec, headed by Premier Couillard, introduced a bill this summer, which stipulated that employees of public bodies must “exercise their function with their face uncovered,” and in addition persons receiving services from personnel must have their face uncovered. “
This bill has been met in Quebec with overwhelmingly approval by all the major parties and is supported by a vast majority of the Quebec electorate.
In other words, the wearing of a niqab or burka was to be banned. Because another value essential to the Quebec identity was the equality of men and women.
And the majority Liberal government in Quebec and the opposition parties in the Quebec government, representing the vast majority of Quebecers, believe that the wearing of a niqab or burka reflect the values of a foreign culture that is contrary to essential Quebec values and to Quebec’s identity.
And in Quebec, it is always about Quebec’s identity.
To the majority Quebec government and in fact the majority of the elected representatives in the Quebec legislature and to the vast majority of Quebecers, the wearing of a niqab or burqa is not a religious expression or a personal choice, that takes precedent over the essential values and character of the Quebec identity.
Just as the speaking of English to or in the Quebec public service is not a personal choice that takes precedent over the essential French character of Quebec.
Ironically, Prime Minister Harper, an Anglophone, born in Ontario and educated in Alberta, instinctively understood what the wearing of the niqab and burka represented to the Quebec people and how the wearing of these face-covering garments is an existential threat to Quebec’s identity.
Mulcair and his lefty downtown Montreal elites, similar to those clueless, narrow-minded, ignorant, arrogant downtown Annex-based Toronto lefties, thought what was good enough for their intellectual elitist friends in Montreal’s Plateau and on CBC’s Radio-Canada, was good enough for the rest of Quebec.
So when Harper seized the moment, and doubled down and proposed to enact federal legislation banning the niqab, similar to what Quebec Liberal Premier Couillard had proposed, that old master political genius, lit a fire in the Quebec hinterlands, that has spread as Tory political wildfire, engulfing and destroying vulnerable NDP strongholds in its wake.
I predict the haughty and arrogant Mulcair and his minions will go down to horrible defeat in Quebec and in the rest of Canada on October 19 and thus will be reduced to third party status in Canada, behind the victorious Conservative and the resurgent federal Liberal party .
Because paradoxically, the Bible said it best. Book of Proverbs, 16:18:
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”