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Congratulations Quebec, now what?

The storm is over and Pauline Marois is slowly but surely making her way out of office and into retirement after an election campaign that looked more like a circus act and a loss in her own riding. Some may say that her fears of the ethnic vote and the anglophones were well placed in the last few weeks as she watched her ratings drop with every statement made and change of heart. It was a lucky break for the Liberals, as many voters turned a blind eye to the corruption charges the party faced a few years back and chose to elect Phillippe Couillard as Premier of la belle province instead of Marois.

Immigrants in the province can now breathe a sigh of relief as they recall how narrowly they missed the possibility of being stripped of their rights to wear what they please due to Marois’s mission towards secularism. What once was a passive segment of society, more concerned with the politics of old country, united under the need to defend themselves. This election has been a lesson to each member of a minority group, your voice counts and it can make a difference.

But while celebrations continue as we watch our new Premier take his seat behind his mahogany desk and start making all the right decisions that we hope he will take, we must also look to the future and see what the Parti Liberal du Quebec has in store for us. The fact of the matter remains that many of us voted for this party because it was the lesser of all evils. From the ethnic vote standpoint, Couillard was the only candidate who did not push for the charter as much as the others and thus was the logical choice for them. Pauline Marois was the Liberal’s stroke of good luck for this election, while she made statement after statement on changes she wanted to implement all they had to do was sit back and relax and watch as we scurried towards the calm and quiet candidate who thinks before making any form of statement.

The concern now however, is no longer the charter and referendums, it’s the direction in which M. Couillard will take the province. All the issues that may have been ignored during the campaign trails because this option seemed the most sane in comparison to the rest of the options that were presented to voters. So while Couillard’s slogan was “Ensemble, on s’occupe des vraies affaires” I am curious to know what these real issues are and how he will go about fixing them. He is coming in at a time when the province reached its breaking point, we are crumbling and have passed on the responsibility to him hoping that he will take the reigns and lead us to prosperous days rather than focus on logistical issues.

Les Québecois are waiting with a long list of issues ranging from fatal infrastructure to even more fatal waiting rooms in our hospitals and while Marois is taking her time gathering her things and walking out of office, Couillard must also begin now to think of how he will go about living up to the hopes that the citizens of Quebec have for him. He must also consider that he is coming in with a cloud looming over his head making this responsibility twice as hard, he must work twice as hard to change the image the naysayers have of his party.

And so now, we wait with baited breath after we have expelled one politician and replaced her with another. Yes, some feel they won the battle against repressive charters and oppressive government officials. We narrowly escaped another referendum and the drama that comes with the chant “On veut un pays”. The bells and whistles have gone home and everyone is now waiting to see what will ensue from another round under the liberal party. Are we out of the woods yet? Will Premier Couillard bring to the table a fresh perspective and new hope for la belle province? Or did he simply catch a lucky break because he went up against a Parti Québecois that wanted too much too soon?

The Prince Arthur Herald
Photo Credit: Twitter, @phcouillard