In Quebec, a (Pontiac) Charter of Values, yes!

Posted 11.25.13

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | The Charter of Values of the Parti Quebecois has unleashed a huge controversy, with everyone weighing in. Yes, a charter of values has a place, one place, in modern society and, yes, such a charter could be more consistent (secular), more democratic, more historically accurate, more inclusive -- and definitely more helpful to modern Quebec.

All this has been lost in the media and nationalist sideshow. Put aside the rants and ask: is there is an opportunity here for the Pontiac? Consider these points:

1. Our local economy has effectively ceased to function. Most people work outside, and government payments (pensions, EI, welfare) make up a major source of Pontiac income. The Pontiac has been not merely de-industrialized, but de-economied.

2. Governments have proven they won't help. The Feds don't know we exist. Even when we ‘had a seat at the cabinet table,’ obviously the Pontiac was never mentioned. We get the standard tidbits: SADC funding and a lot of excuses why they can't fund, say, a slaughterhouse -- what else?

The province? Quebec is paying the salaries for its bureaucrats here. Pontiac is a provincial backwater: with the Liberals in power, they know we are a guaranteed vote, so why would they buy our votes with investments? They are looking at hotly contested ridings. It's much cheaper to scare us into voting for them -- be afraid of the separatists! And we bite every time.

When the PQ is in power, we become invisible: a bunch of Liberal diehards, disgruntled anglos, people who think they live in Renfrew County in Ontario! We get highway repaving.

Municipalities have little power to stimulate economic development and jobs, and little aggressive and visionary leadership.

3. The market-place? Our only resource, and it's dying fast, is wood, and that can be shipped out to mills elsewhere. Otherwise, the marketplace investing? Ha ha, ha -- a modern joke. If someone advises that the market can respond, ask which grant they are looking for.

4. What's left? Are we destined to be a basket case? What about ‘popular mobilization.’ Bringing as many people together as possible means a lot of ideas, projects, and considerations. We need ideas. How about creating a Pontiac Charter of Values? One designed to attract, not repel, immigrants. Attract them here.

We could welcome newcomers and especially recruit those who are investors or who intend to start their own business. We have several impressive examples already. Just as we try to recruit doctors, show them around, show them our minority-status in Quebec means we are more welcoming and tolerant. Pontiac was built by the immigration waves of the past. They bring fresh money, a good work ethic, and a sharp outlook. They can create jobs and expand our economic base.

There's a challenge for the new MRC(s): an inter-municipal immigrant-investor recruitment campaign. A committee of non-bureaucrats, one with a budget.


Copyright © 2013 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/11.13