by Jersey Joe
On Monday, May 14, Line Beauchamp stepped down as Education Minister of Quebec. Not only did she leave the cabinet, she announced that she is leaving the National Assembly. As the student led protests continue with no end in sight, Ms. Beauchamp had come to symbolize the frustration on the part of the government in dealing with the so-called crisis. In her resignation announcement she appeared tired, drawn, frustrated and isolated. In effect she appeared like a mother, a mother whose children have misbehaved and she is at her wits end trying to come up with an effective action. Meanwhile, dear old Dad, M. Charest stood behind her, right behind her, silently, but seemingly in sympathy. Had the TV screen been in black and white, they would have appeared to be a typical couple of the 1950’s. Maybe that’s why this has dragged on for so long.
The quintessential moment for this 50’s couple came when Dad left Mom to deal with the kids while he ‘wasted away in Victoriaville.’ While he and his cronies were ‘doing God knows what with Gods knows whom,’ the town did get trashed after all, poor Mom was left to listen to the kids complains for the weekend. To her credit, Ms. Beauchamp patiently listened, explained and seemed to come up with a ‘deal’ which would bring the dysfunctional family of Quebec back to its senses. No sooner had this happened then Dad, in typical male macho fashion took credit and crowed just a little bit, and a little bit too soon. Before they know what happened the kids spoke ‘with their friends’ who clued them in and, poof, the deal went ‘up in smoke.’
At this point, poor Mom saw no other choice but to throw up her hands and turn things over to Dad, as in, “I’m going to my mother’s. You deal with them.” Who can blame her? So far Dad has, in effect, asked his mother for help, in the form of former Education Minister Michelle Courchesne. Reports now suggested that M. Charest is going to resort to another 50’s tactic, ‘laying down the law’ [un loi spéciale.] The now tabled legislation would temporarily halt the spring semester for the minority of faculties paralyzed by the strikes, push up the summer holidays, and reconvene students in August so they can complete their spring session before starting the fall one in October. Again, a tactic straight out of the Fifties, punish everyone because someone, OK more than someone, is misbehaving. Only the ‘good kids’ will suffer.
It is not surprising that M. Charest is helping Quebec to relive the Fabulous Fifties, as he and his beleaguered government has been struggling against ‘modern organization’ which help to keep the province Quebec mired in a ‘not to be forgotten,’ or forgiven, age. The Parti Québécois and its separatist supporters have been trying to right the wrongs of the Fifties, too bad it’s the 1750’, with their ‘Je me souviens’ on the license plates a constant reminder of who lost on the Plains of Abraham a mere 250 years ago. Meanwhile the Société Saint- Jean- Baptiste is obsessed with keeping the face of Quebec French, as if there are any English signs left. And on the off chance should anyone scrawl any English words, there is the Office québécois de la langue française to erase them. Both of these are remnants of what might have been just causes in the 1950’s but are truly of no relevance now.
Quebec and its organizations, then, are using tactics that might have been effective half a century ago on the children of that bygone era. Is it any wonder that these ‘new kids in the streets,’ the kids of the 21st century are in no way responsive to, or impressed by these outdated and antiquated tactics?
[Why that is will be dealt with in a future post, Leave it to Beaver to Wreck the City]
–Just My Two Sense