LOG CABIN CHRONICLES

Ontario's vote will affect West Quebec

Posted 5.26.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | One thing the Liberal government in Ontario has accomplished is to keep Quebec tightly engaged with the federation -- as a deliberate policy. While this would likely be continued under an NDP or coalition government, it's unlikely that relations with Quebec are even on the Ford/Conservative radar.

It's conceivable that a Ford win could strengthen Quebec's independence movement; he could easily shoot his mouth off at the wrong moment, and, besides, who wants to be part of a country which elects a junior Trump? Ford could make us all independentistes!

No doubt Wynne has promised more than will be delivered, ever, à la that other big-promising Liberal, but this is not our problem in Quebec. Our own problems will come to a boil as our election nears this October and we're drowned in similar grand promises.

The circumstance we'd hate to see is Ontario voters selecting a party which offers only reverse gear -- much the way our Yankee neighbours selected the door leading to authoritarianism just to avoid voting for Hilary Clinton (who does share comparisons with Ms. Wynne).

Interesting is the similarity in media-landscapes with the US, with a couple of large hedge-fund-owned corporations dominating the real-news landscape across Ontario. Quebec, at least, has a more varied mediascape -- plus a more varied political-party menu. (Not saying we Anglo-Quebeckers have the slightest reputation as politically adventuresome.) If Ontario goes the American way next month, West Quebec will feel it.

Mr. Ford has made protectionist promises to Ontario businesses and working people who see Quebeckers, as well as immigrants, stealing jobs from Ontario workers, all aided by the not-so-marvellous job Ontario's media has done in reporting trends and effects, a job remarkably similar to that of US media sloppiness.

As one example, the Feds' radioactive dump proposal for the Ottawa River can expect little opposition from a Ford administration, just because they are so unlikely to give a damn what Quebec cities downstream think about its dangers -- Ottawa's Village Council has already said long-term dangers appear irrelevant. Quebec can expect more competition from Ontario if any new NAFTA deal is worked out, as provinces fight over crumbs left from a Trump deal on, say, automotive, forestry and dairy production.

We can expect environmental standards to drop with a Ford government, which could draw investors -- in mining, for example -- away from Quebec. Likewise for Indigenous empowerment and its 'threat' to free-range investors. And Ford could cut French and bilingual government services to deliver on his wallpaper-promises of 'cheaper government.'

A Horvath government would continue cooperation with Quebec on cross-border issues which impact local economies: linking Ottawa's light rail with Gatineau's transit or a new bridge between the two cities, both needing provincial government approvals and funding. At the speed of Gatineau's condo-building, a new bridge will move to Necessity One within two years.

Add to this any possible surprises in Quebec's fall election affecting our side of the Quebec-Ontario relationship, and we can easily glimpse impacts and changes from Ontario's election, even though it's in another jurisdiction altogether.

john@johnmahoney.com




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