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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