When the economy of the United States catches the flu, those of Quebec and Canada sneeze.
In politics, similar phenomena can also be observed.
When the Quebec electoral campaign was launched in 2008, we were the day after the victory, among our neighbors to the south, of Barack Obama.
All the party leaders in Quebec (Charest, Marois, Dumont and the David-Khadir tandem) had obviously tried to recover the theme of “hope” to transpose it to us. We certainly cannot fault them. This is a powerful feeling. And the election of Obama was historic.
But we must admit, they had all played “under Obama”. Jean Charest going so far as to add an Obamian “YES” at the end of his slogan: “The economy first, YES!”
Yesterday, it was François Legault who tried to recover the central theme of the former VP and new American president, Joe Biden: unity.
It is understandable to insist on this idea. The murderous assault by Trumpists, supremacists and other conspirators on the Capitol in Washington was the result of real unhealthy “divisions”, maintained by people disconnected from reality and, or, in bad faith; shamelessly cultivating lies. “Hang Mike Pence!” They chanted.
Certainly, phenomena of unhealthy divisions also exist in our democracy and have similar causes: conspiracy theories, fed by social media.
(Me for example, I’m just a platform manager and sometimes I get taken to task in a totally excessive way. The other day, a restless on Twitter wrote to me that I deserved to be accused of “crimes against humanity.” Just that?)
I imagine what our decision-makers have to endure, first and foremost the heads of government. Moreover, more and more elected officials, including François Legault, are filing a complaint against the brainless who threatened them with death.
Mr. Legault is therefore right to warn us against this type of toxic “division”.
The trouble is, he did it yesterday by talking about a particular issue – the enforcement of the curfew on the homeless – and pointing at those critics as if they belonged to hate groups that break out.
Any democratic society is “divided”. It is even necessary to cultivate healthy “divisions”: between parties, between currents of thought.
“In this room, there will be times when reporters and the presidency don’t see it the same way,” Jen Psaki, spokesperson for Biden, said in her first briefing yesterday. “But this is normal in a democracy.”
Mr. Legault is aware of this. But shaken by the critics faced with his clear refusal – and expressed awkwardly on Tuesday – to exempt homeless people from the curfew, criticisms which come in particular from the mayoress of Montreal Valérie Plante and the federal minister Mark Miller, he thought of recovering the theme central of the new American president, the “unity”.
However, although we observe certain disturbing phenomena in our country, we are not emerging, as in the United States, from a delirious Trumpist period.
And although harsh, criticism of the government did not justify its call for “unity” yesterday, which sought only to silence the critics.
It was, in short, sub-Biden.