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Monday, September 20, 2010

Vive Le Libre Quebec!

From the province that gave us Wilfred Laurier (HT Sean):

Some of my Quebec friends and I have have been working on building the conservative movement in Quebec. We have decided to have a conference in Quebec city on October 23. 2010. This is not the founding of a new political party but a regrouping of the Quebecers who want less taxes, less spending and more freedom. In no province has the growth of the nanny state been worse than in Quebec. This is to cross link all of us in Quebec in believe in the blessing of freedom. We have been behind the video that has been causing quite a stir in Quebec. The English website is not quite ready yet, but here is the French version. There will be a media blitz in Quebec today. le devoir has already attacked us so that's good.

You can tell a lot more about a movement, especially an intellectual movement, by those who hate it than by its supporters. There is something about the human psyche, perhaps some primal survival instinct, that makes people that much keener and more perceptive about their enemies than their friends. The ability to identify threats is more sharply honed than the capacity to identify opportunities. Being roundly denounced by Le Devoir is certainly a feather in the cap of any self-respecting small government type. 

Getting denounced so soon in pretty impressive too. This is just a bunch of guys, some with political contacts, who are forming what looks to be a discussion group. Roy Eappen provides more details at the National Post. This is something that happens every day in Canada. Most discussion groups, admittedly, have more to do with cooking, or the perennial Kirk vs Picard dialectic, than politics. Yet if a similar group was launched in Alberta, its unlikely they'd get this kind of ink. In part this is because of the atheist in monastery angle. Quebec is suppose to be a bastion of enlightened socialist think, and here are actual Quebecois talking about pro-freedom values. Heresy!

Yet Quebec should have a strong pro-freedom pedigree. The early habitants were no welfare bums, and the coureur des bois was the archetypical Canadian entrepreneur. They were also fearsome warriors. It was not the Canadiens who lost New France, but their often clueless aristocratic commanders brought in from the metropole. With tough ancestor like that, you'd think the St Lawrence would be populated with Heinlein reading libertarians, denouncing the statism of les anglais. No such luck. There are a few valiant classical liberals / libertarians in Quebec, they are akin to old-time preachers standing outside brothels, regarded more as an embarrassing nuisance than guardians of virtue.

In searching for the origins of this Francophone statism, the usual culprits are the church and seigneurial system. The former suppressed dissent and instilled an intellectually hierarchical society, the latter encouraged a paternalistic cultural and economic pattern, which lasts unto the present day. Whatever your theory, the fact remains that the Quebecois like their government big and generous. And when it's other people's money, all the more so. Good times paid for by the stetson sporting troglodytes out West. Rene Levesque once declared, to a federalist politician: "Well, if you want your Rocky Mountains, keep them!" Sure, but keep sending the checks.

This makes the job of the Quebec based pro-freedom intellectual reformer that much harder. This exhilarating call for freedom and low taxes, sounds like so much abstinence and hairshirts in Quebec. Look at from their perspective: Cheap university tuition, cheap day care (for those who can get it) and cushy jobs in the provincial government, or provincially regulated or owned corporations, and some guys are telling you to stop? 

Talk of competitiveness, economic dynamism and globalization simply don't register. Note how quickly the Lucides dropped out of sight, despite the support of Lucien Bouchard, the province's most eminent living statesman (which is perhaps damning by faint praise). A genuine free marketer in Quebec is like the guy at the party warning about the hangover the next morning. Not popular. This doesn't mean attempts to preach the good word are in Quebec are futile. At some point the good times will stop, if only from fiscal exhaustion, and an established network of pro-freedom advocates will have both the opportunity, and the credibility, to be heard. In the meantime we in the ROC can help by turning off the spigot. If the Quebecois want European style socialism, like them pay for it themselves. That sort of clear thinking would help both Canada and Quebec. This not, however, very likely while the incrementalist Stephen Harper lives on Sussex Drive.

Posted by Richard Anderson on September 20, 2010 | Permalink


What freedom you have when you cant send you child to school, cant afford to go to hospital, where your either poor or rich. Want more money? why? to buy that crazy big TV or buy that new car that you dont need? Its not freedom its individualism.

Posted by: FR | 2010-09-20 9:44:02 AM

Freedom is not the freedom to exist at the expense of others, for the reason that this obviously destroys the freedom of others. Freedom from want corrupts the very definition of freedom, which means freedom to attempt to gain the means necessary for a fruitful existence.

Freedom cannot, and should not, come at the expense of enslaving others.

Posted by: Dennis | 2010-09-20 11:08:31 AM

FR's comment is the typical scary argument that statists love to rant so that they can find an excuse for more control of our lives. The typical Left-wing elitist outlook. We know better than you how to spend your money is their attitude.

This reminds me of Liberal Party staffer Scott Reid's Dec 2005 infamous "beer and popcorn" outburst. It goes like this, "(Children) need care that is regulated, safe and secure and that's what we're building here. Don't give people $25 a day to blow on beer and popcorn. Give them child-care spaces that work."

Reid later made a half-hearted attempt to back out of his gaffe saying "no responsible parent" would squander the money but added nonetheless "The point remains that Mr. Harper offers a tax cut, not a child care plan."

But it got a lot worse. Another Liberal spokesman gave strong endorsement for Reid's comments. Leading off a political question period program a CTV host asked Liberal spokesman John Duffy what he made of Reid's "demeaning" remarks. Duffy responded, "I don't think any insult was intended to the beer or popcorn producers." The CTV host responded, "What about to Canadians John?" Duffy responded, "The fact is Jane there's absolutely nothing to stop somebody from pocketing Stephen Harpers $1200 supposed child-care baby bonus and spending it however the heck they want."

Horror of horrors people actually spending their OWN money on what they want. To a Leftist that is an opportunity lost, money lost for social engineering.

Posted by: StanleyR | 2010-09-20 4:59:50 PM

Ultimately, the destruction of the leftist agenda will come when there is no one left to steal from. Taxed, regulated, and legislated to death, the population will have nothing left to pay for the wildest dreams of a socialist utopia. At that moment, the state will collapse from its own excesses. Of course, the leftists will pass another law, perhaps one that will declare that they are essential to assure the existence of everything, therefore, more valuable than anything. Such is the socialist mind.

Posted by: AB Patriot | 2010-09-20 9:06:35 PM

Where I talk about control? Please comment on what I say, dont put meaning when theres none. Stop thinking in black and white. Right and left. Everything is in between.

Posted by: FR | 2010-09-20 9:27:56 PM

FR you seem to be decrying the attack on socialism that Publius writes about.

Posted by: StanleyR | 2010-09-20 10:34:42 PM

To see everything as various shades of grey is an exact example of the leftist agenda to make everything irrelevant, including arguments built on the ancient precepts of Reason. In the end, there can only be right and wrong. Of course, where one must determine which course of action or thought is best, it is Reason that will guide the way. Guidances known as Faith, Tradition, what have you, are no more than mistaken notions, likely formed under the opiate of religion.

Posted by: AB Patriot | 2010-09-20 11:22:16 PM

No politics can be purely right, or purely left, its always some of both. Pure right politic is just anarchy without government. And for me freedom have nothing to do with money.

Posted by: FR | 2010-09-21 5:48:35 AM

An independent Quebec would increase the misery of both Quebec and the ROC and strengthen the autocrats. Given the natures of the two entities, english in Quebec would be further suppressed while french in the ROC would be more vigorously promoted. The reason for this is the way the conquered are treated by the victors. The cost of independence on the financial state of Quebeckers would be offset somewhat by investments from France and possibly the United States, but this would come at an unhappy cost to the political freedom of the new Quebec.

Posted by: Agha Ali Arkhan | 2010-09-21 12:57:20 PM

Liberty cannot exist without money. Indeed, to even suggest that one can have wealthless Liberty reveals a mind that has been throughly infected by the Leftist Agenda. Prepare to be disinfected! It is via the high crimes of taxation, regulation, and excessive legislation have statists drained and bled the wealth of the individual. By this bloodletting, statists have robbed individuals of their Liberty. With the loss of wealth, one is greatly limited: with the ability to increase earnings severely impaired, one is consigned to terminal poverty; and with the loss of wealth, so goes Liberty. Wealth and Liberty cannot be separated under any circumstances; without one, the other will perish.

Posted by: AB Patriot | 2010-09-21 6:38:46 PM

"And for me freedom have nothing to do with money."

Posted by: FR | 2010-09-21 5:48:35 AM

So if the state takes 100% of your income do you still have freedom?

Posted by: StanleyR | 2010-09-21 7:38:37 PM

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