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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Martin Masse: No need to lament the demise of Mario Dumont

Martin Masse, editor of Le Quebecois Libre, Canada's longest-running, no-nonsense libertarian online publication, used to get excited about the prospects for the right-of-centre ADQ. Under Mario Dumont, the party looked like it would be a defender of individual liberty, free markets, and greater sovereignty for the individual relative to the state. But that was ten years ago.

In "No need to lament the demise of Mario Dumont," Masse makes the case that the rest of us shouldn't get too upset about the devastating losses of the ADQ, or the resignation of its leader Mario Dumont:

Contrary to his idealised image as a right-wing politician," writes Masse, "Dumont is, like Charest, a confused opportunist who has veered left and right over the years in a desperate search to find support. True, his political base consists mostly of suburban and rural families with more traditional values than average. And over the years, the ADQ has stood for more private health care, cuts in the public service and government programs and an end to multiculturalism and the proliferation of wacky state-given privileges disguised as 'minority rights.'"

Even though this list might sound good to our libertarian ears, Dumont's platform also included big government programs and "family-oriented policies."

But “family-oriented policies” can be understood in many ways and some are not exactly consistent with libertarianism (perhaps more with big government conservatism of the type we have in Ottawa and Washington -- but that’s another issue). The ADQ in fact became the champion of all kinds of government interventions and subsidies favouring families, which directly contradicted its small-government message. In recent years, it even adopted an economic platform that advocates propping up the regions, centrally planning industrial investments across the province, promoting local goods and services, and all kinds of other policies that even Québec Solidaire [the radical left-wing party that secured an MNA in yesterday's election] would not disagree with.

The ADQ denounced the tax cuts enacted by the Charest government, saying that we should spend more on families and reduce the debt instead. The last point is of course not a bad one, but a real conservative party should advocate spending and tax cuts to reach that goal. It would have been impossible to say, during the past two years, which of the ADQ or the Quebec Liberal Party was the better (or rather least awful) choice from a free-market perspective.

Read the rest of Masse's column here.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on December 9, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink

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