July 24, 2015

Neither here nor there: The ephemeral career of Béatrice Zako

Richard AndersonRebel Blogger

The silly things NDPers say:

An NDP candidate who once compared Quebec to a colonized African country has resigned, the party says.

In a statement emailed to The Huffington Post Canada over the weekend, spokesman Marc-André Viau confirmed Béatrice Zako, the Montreal NDP candidate selected Thursday to go head-to-head against Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in the Papineau riding, has since stepped aside.

The statement, written in French and attributed to Zako, says she did not inform the party of some of the positions and sentiments she had expressed during her “ephemeral passage” in another party.

Just one of those things that slips the mind. Given that Ms Zako was running as a sacrificial lamb against Prince Justin odds are that the vetting was a touch slipshod. Her Linkedin profile indicates that she's an HR student at the University of Quebec. Zako's NDP bio page is a bit more detailed saying that she has worked since 1998 at "Montreal’s Gingras-Lindsay Rehabilitation Institute in the purchasing department responsible for rehab technologies."

Needless to say her political experience, aside from a failed mayoral run in a Montreal borough, is non-existent.

What gives this story a certain significance, at least beyond the brief embarrassment for the NDP, are the comments that led to Zako being dropped as a candidate. In a report on Friday HuffPost quoted Zako as saying:

“Why Quebec’s independence?” she asked. “As a child, I studied the history of my ancestors’ continent, Africa. Unfortunately, many of our colonized countries are not yet completely independent. This is a continual struggle that resembles the one of the Quebec people, for liberty,” she wrote.

The bit about arguing for Quebec independence might seem shocking coming from someone who now purports to be a federalist. That is until you realize the incredibly fluid nature of politics in La Belle Province. Ambitious pols slip in and out of the separatist and nationalist camps with the grace and ease of a champion figure skater.

In the ROC merely switching between the Liberals and Tories is likely to attract dirty glances for years to come. By comparison you'd think that changing your mind about breaking up Canada, something rather more important than mere partisan allegiance, might be a momentous decision. In Quebec, however, it's just one of those things. It's a distinct society but not always in a good way.

The quote is also a fascinating glimpse into the mind of Quebec separatists. The description of Quebec as a colony is actually a common meme among members of the PQ, BQ and their various offshoots. In the fervid mind of the province's hard core nationalists they are "liberating their country" from Canada. This is why a putative nationalist, as Ms Zako was at the time, can seriously compare a Canadian province to the Belgian Congo or Portuguese Angola. 

In a certain sense Quebec is a colony of Canada, though not in the way often portrayed in the psycho-drama of Quebec separatism. For all the half century of hemming and hawing an independent Quebec republic is less viable today than it was when Rene Levesque quit Jean Lesage's cabinet.

In those long ago days Quebec had a strong private sector economy, a respectable fiscal position and robust birth rates. In the 1960s Quebec could have become a decently run nation state. That's simply not an option today.

Through the Health and Social Transfer and equalization payments Quebec is Canada's largest welfare junkie. A clear victory after a third referendum would see the new republic emerge with Greek level credit ratings but without the lovely Mediterranean climate.

For fifty years the voters of Quebec have had choice: An independent country with a capitalist economy or a socialist province subsidized by the ROC. They've picked the latter option every time. If Quebec is a colony it's a colony of its own making.  


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commented 2015-07-28 08:58:59 -0400
Actually Canada is really a colony of Quebec. We have a french Quebec majority of public servants here in Ottawa to prove it. We also have cabinet minister grovelling to speak french.
commented 2015-07-26 13:25:16 -0400
“The bit about arguing for Quebec independence might seem shocking coming from someone who now purports to be a federalist. That is until you realize the incredibly fluid nature of politics in La Belle Province. "

Hate to say it, but things aren’t much better in the rest of Canada. Tommy the Commie flirted with the Conservatives, Bouncin’ Bobby Rae hopped right out of his NDP booties into Liberal slippers, and there have been floor-crossers galore in Ottawa, and recently on the provincial stage, in Edmonton. I mean, it’s not as if we expect our politicians to have principles, is it?
commented 2015-07-25 18:48:19 -0400
Quebec does not fit into Canada. Quebec does not fit into north America.

Quebec should go it alone and separate. The US will see this as an opportunity and financially collapse Quebec and end this federally financed fraud of a province.

Quebec obstructs quality of life in Canada, productivity in Canada and lower taxes for Canadians – cut this cancer province loose.
commented 2015-07-25 12:28:08 -0400
where this female went wrong was she should have gone to the Al Sharpton political school of deceit and lieing and maybe should could been Mulcair ( the French foreigner) best buddy
commented 2015-07-25 04:32:22 -0400
But no, Québec is not a colony of Canada in any sense at all. That’s going much too far.
commented 2015-07-25 04:28:55 -0400
“Welfare junkie”. That’s a great term. As someone who studied Québec’s literature alongside that of anglophone and other Canadians, I don’t doubt that “la belle province” used to be far better equipped to exist as an independent nation than it is today.