December 10, 2008

Political trail

It’s official. The states we live in are linked to corrupt politicians. While in Louisiana we endured David Duke and Edwin Edwards, and obviously the legacy of Huey Long. Now, the news in Illinois has made the front pages of the Montreal newspapers. We were only in Kansas for two years and we were sleep deprived -- we don't recall if there was anything interesting going on there.

We’re still learning about Canadian politics. Trust us, some of the parliament meetings in Ottawa may be confused for a
Saturday Night Live skit or the Bears and the Vikings sharing a locker room. Lots of drama and they really do yell  -- like Mike Ditka could yell on the sidelines. What’s different in Canada is that there are dozens of registered parties – although the Liberal and Conservative groups seem to steal a lot of the spotlight. Elections can be called whenever they seem to want a change of voting power and the government can just be shut down if the Prime Minister wants. For a sampling of the different parties, visit

As with everything in Canada, Quebec is different -- including politics.  There’s a group called Parti Quebecois and they ended up with 51 seats of the 125-seat legislature on Monday – the second election in Canada since October when we arrived. It was an impressive election for PQ and the party seems to be gathering steam again. The PQ platform is that they want to push forward with their sovereignty project – basically they want to separate from the rest of Canada in order to preserve their French language and become a country of their own, free from the English speaking federal government and the rest of Canada. They oppose the current government and want to attain independent statehood. Where we live, a part of Montreal called the “West Island,” English is very prominent, although everything by law has to be in English and French. If the PQ get their way, everything would be run in French. Thanks to Rosetta Stone and a long commute, Paul is picking up the language, Danielle is learning in school and Kish is signed up for a class in January. Louis gets annoyed, although he is picking up words here and there and knows more than he lets on. However, we’re finding out that Quebec French is still different from France French. As long as we can communicate with the cable guy, refrigerator repairman and the bakery, we’ll be fine.

And yet another political issue, as mentioned in a previous entry, snow tires are mandatory in Quebec after December 15. We received a significant amount of snow and ice yesterday and driving was hazardous and the plows were few and far between. We’ve decided the snow tire law buys the government more time before they send out the trucks – even on the interstate. We’re assuming it has nothing to do with corrupt politicians.

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