Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Is it time for another election in Quebec already?

After almost a year since he last went to the polls, Jean Charest, although not leading in the polls, has not had as disastrous a term as many predicted might be the case. His personal popularity is even rising. Unfortunately for his chances at a majority, his support remains low among francophone voters. Coupled with the fall-out from the ridiculous faux-scandal invented by Le Journal over the Christmas season, where one of their reporters went on a sting to find out if Montreal stores, desperate for part-time staff, would hire a unilingual anglophone, the PLQ appears to be trying to firm up its nationalist credentials by promising stricter enforcement of the Charte de la langue francaise. I'm sure this is just stage one of the planned response to the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, expected to report later this month.

For me, this all begs the question of how long a siege mentality can be sustained? At what point will the Quebecois punditry decide that the French language no longer needs new, additional protections (on top of the existing Charter and regulations) to resist the Anglo menace? Will the day come when language is no longer used as a wedge issue, when the major political parties no longer have to wrap themselves tightly in the cloak of "defender of the language laws"? That day seems like it is a long way off.

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