MONTREAL NOW: Québec’s Upcoming Election, or Pulling the “pure laine” Over the Voters’ Eyes

Zsolt gives gentle guidance if you are perplexed about how to vote in our upcoming election.

After decades of teaching, Zsolt Alapi is a born-again writer, editor, publisher, who has made his home in Montreal for over four decades. After decades of teaching, Zsolt Alapi is a born-again writer, editor, publisher, who has made his home in Montreal for over four decades.

On October 1st,  Quebecers will be called to the polls to elect a new government (or to affirm the current Liberal one).  But what to do, and how to vote?  The Liberal Party, led by Philippe (the Wolfman) Couillard, has promised much and delivered little, especially in its savaging of health care and social services.  The CAQ and Francois Legault (a closet separatist, by the way) say they are working for the “common man,” as long as that person is not an immigrant.  The quick pronunciation of the name (CAQ) itself should make the voter wary.  And let’s not forget Jean-Francois Lisée of the PQ, someone who excused the anti-Semetic rhetoric of one of their candidates, Michelle Blanc, by “gallantly” asserting that he will support the right to criticize religion to his “dying breath,” a breath that is as putrid as his party’s politics. Manon Massé of Québec Solidaire is the only one of the politicians who seems to have a soul and moral character, yet at the top of their platform is the idiotic notion of Québec separating from Canada. Still, I love their social platform despite the fact that I can’t stand Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois (leader of the student protests to eliminate university tuition) and his “holier than thou” rhetoric. What’s the deal with every student- turned- politician having a hyphenated name anyway?

Yet again, the
sad spectre of language and immigration is coming to the forefront in this
election debate. The PQ has made its position clear with its proposal to
implement a Bill 202 that plans to fuel the smoldering ashes of separatism in
order to appeal to a party “base” that distrusts immigrants and thinks that
saying “Bonjour/Hi” to a client in Montreal will lead to the death of the
French language.  ‘Ti Napoléon Legault of
the CAQ has decreed that immigrants to Québec will have to undergo a French proficiency test within three
years or “face deportation.”  Only Québec Solidaire seems to be inclusive of all, as long as you agree to
separate from Canada and become a Third World Country.

If any of you
remember the Referendum of October 30, 1995 when 93.52% of the voting
population turned out and Black Jack Parizeau almost got his wish to break up
this great country, you will also remember the divisiveness that was fostered
among neighbors, friends, and family, all 
for the bitter axiom of “Je me souviens,” Québec’s mental hiccup that
just won’t go away over a war that was lost hundreds of years ago.  Get over it, mes amis, and while you’re at it, stop trying to be American
wanna-bes while wintering in Florida with your protruding beer guts,
ultra-tight spandex, and your giant American made SUVs that guzzle gas and
contribute to global warming.  I recall
back then a particularly tense moment when I went to cast my “NO” ballot and
struck up a conversation (in French) with a neighbor (formerly pleasant) who
yelled at me and told me that it was immigrants like me that try to prevent
Québec from achieving its “destiny”.  I
did get the last laugh after I had cast my ballot, though.  As I tried to rip off the part of the ballot
that you have to give to the ballot supervisor (a staunch Péquiste, in my case),
I had trouble tearing the perforation. 
As he looked at me venomously, undoubtedly knowing which way I was
casting my vote due to my suspiciously Eastern European visage, I said to him
in loud and deliberate English: “I guess it just doesn’t want to
separate.”  Somehow, I managed to escape the
polling station unharmed.

So, what I propose is this: 
after this election, to hold a referendum promptly to have MONTREAL
SEPARATE FROM QUÉBEC.  Montreal is, after
all, a singular city that is vibrant, interesting, and cosmopolitan, while the
rest of the province is provincial, small-minded, and totally insular.  Why not have Montreal as a kind of Vatican
City, an entity of its own with all residents having dual citizenship (one as a
Montrealer, and one as a Canadian)?  Just
think:  housing prices would stabilize, and
no more people fleeing down the 401 to the urban mess that has become Toronto.  Montreal, a totally bilingual city where francophones,
anglophones and allophones can live and thrive in perfect harmony with no fear
of separation to create ulcers and high blood pressure!  Montreal deserves this.  It is a great city with great people and a
wonderful cultural diversity that we should all prize.  It is wacky, different, and surely the best
place to live in North America.

Ah, but what
about the governing of such a place, you say? 
After all, there is no Pope or College of Cardinals to dictate to the
faithful.  Well, that may in fact be a
good thing, sparing many a choirboy. Yes, I would kick out Valerie Plante on
her petite behind and open up the mountain to traffic, just to be able to go to
St. Viateur Bagel without having to traverse half of the city to get
there.  No, I would not reinstate Denis
(Fred Flintstone) Coderre as Mayor but would sic a pit bull on his rotund ass
if he tried to run again.  So, who,
then?  Well, I propose Marc Arcand as
Mayor of the New Montreal.  For those of
you unfamiliar with his persona, run don’t walk to your TV set and view Serie Noire, perhaps the greatest show
on the air (also on Netflix with subtitles), replete with black humor, satire,
and likely the most insane and engaging character aforementioned.  If you live in Montreal, this show is a must

The ordinary
laws of our nation and our society should not apply to being a Montrealer.  We are, after all, unique, bizarre, all positively
so.  In the words of the Future Hizhonor,
Marc Arcand:  “Lécon Numéro 1:  Dans le Marc Arcand world, les lois des
hommes ne s’appliquent pas.”

Surely an
election slogan to live and vote by!