Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Gaffe weekend round-up part three: apparently, it's wrong to suggest that Quebec needs Canada (C-7, L-15, BQ-3, ND-1)

When I ran provincially, one of the other candidates was running for the Alberta Separation Party. He argued at a forum that Albertans send - I don't remember his exact number, but let's say a zillion - a zillion dollars to Ottawa in taxation. The rest of his points during the debate sprang from that first contention: if only we had the zillion dollars back, we could give every Albertan his or her own MRI machine; give post-secondary students free tuition, books, room and board, clothing, and computer equipment; and put a public library anywhere two or three people gather in Alberta's name. The gap in the argument is obvious - we have services in Alberta provided by the federal government, and international commitments an independent Alberta would have to provide for itself. Those might not eat up the full zillion, but if there was a net financial benefit, well, "net" is the key word.

Liberal candidate Helene Chalifour-Scherrer (forgive the misaccenting of her name, but accented characters don't always show up as they should on all browsers, as I discovered any time I blogged the former Prime Minister), member of the Privy Council and former Minister of Heritage, described Quebec as a "very poor province" which requires transfer payments to make ends meet. "Make ends meet" might have been a bit strong, since I'm sure an independent Quebec could manage, if not as comfortably, but Madame Chalifour-Scherrer was speaking the objective truth that Quebec receives a net financial benefit as a result of being part of the Confederation. I'm not complaining. Alberta has been on both sides of that fence, and anyway, though Quebec takes from the country financially, Canada would be much poorer for Quebec's absence.

This is where I notice the cultural difference between Quebec and Alberta. I don't generally think of speaking the objective truth as a gaffe. But, apparently, her comments have been added to the long list of emotional humiliations that Quebec has had to endure since September 13, 1759. And by adding to that list, she has inadvertently reminded voters of that list, and fueled anti-federalist (and therefore anti-Liberal) sentiment. The BQ (and Tories) had a good old time piling on. As a result, she apologised.

I won't pretend to understand it all. She acknowledged it was a gaffe. Ergo, gaffe points. (Sig)1 x (prom)2 = two more for the red team.

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