...Mon chien de garde...Mario
Christopher C. Goodfellow
November 18 1998

Despite the mainstream media saying there was no winner in last night's debate, there was someone who came knocking at the door in the "Debat des Chefs" and he came knocking at the door with a new paradigm for Quebec...and he has left a mark...and he is going to get votes.

He's not terribly photogenic. He's a bit gawky. He's young but he's gaining experience. He's not afraid to challenge the conventional wisdom. He's not afraid to be aggressive and press the attack towards those that would dismiss him by their body language or with a weak wave of the hand. He clearly has heart....and heart is what matters right now in Quebec. We all love this place that has been tearing itself apart for the past 30 years and here is someone proposing a new paradigm for Quebec. We should listen.

Changes are coming whether we choose to recognize it or not. A generational change first and foremost. Yes, a true break with the past. And perhaps we need a new political party to actually make this break. It is pretty clear the two old line parties are bogged down in fighting old battles that they can't recognize the world is changing around them. That is what Mario has recognized.

You simply cannot escape the logic of some of his arguments.

Nothing typified the morass we are caught in more than Bouchard and Charest bogged down in figures at various junctures last night arguing over a percentage of this or millions of that. Are they crazy? None of us believe any of the figures anyway!

While Bouchard and Charest argued figures, Mario talked about real things and the way the world has changed. The knowledge economy of a guy with a desk, chair, a computer and a mouse making a living. The importance of human capital above all else. The fact we are wasting university graduates in pizza jobs.

He didn't make his points with glib references to documents referring to the past but he looked forward, five, ten, fifteen years and posed the questions that need asking and answering.

Yes, I want someone with vision who says we need a break with the past and a completely new approach to government. We cannot afford the structure we presently have and Mario is not afraid of voicing it. He is not afraid of saying we may have to dismantle 25% of government departments and direct the funds wasted on things like language cops to health care. He isn't afraid to voice the real changes we must face and transcend to emerge with a stronger and more competitive economy and business environment. His party has a 100/100/100 plan to wire everyone in the province within five years; essential for the knowledge economy we are in.

He challenged the conventional wisdom of a "statist" Quebec, a Quebec where government decides for you and a Quebec of state paternalism. He recognizes the competence of Quebeckers with a new world view to make decisions on their own. His reference to the $5 a day daycare as a "beau flash" hit home. What about all those other people who want to make another choice? Yes, what about them Mr. Bouchard and Mr. Charest? Mr. Dumont encourages us to think in a new paradigm of self-responsibility.

"On a sauvé la systeme de santé", was just one of the idiotic statements to leave Mr. Bouchard's lips last night. Again Dumont is not afraid to say that Quebeckers are ready to take responsibility and perhaps pay a little themselves for health care and dismantle the incredible and wasteful bureaucracy of the present system and take a fresh approach. This is Dumont's "demarche de responsibilité".

Moreover, Mr. Dumont was the only one who wanted to talk about the big No. Yes we may well arrive at a zero deficit with creative accounting and shifting expenses to other levels of government. But the accumulated $90 billion plus debt of Quebec is what neither Charest nor Bouchard wanted to talk about. He struck home at both other parties for their election promises as being unrealistic...and they are. We have come a long way and we must go further to make the structural changes and Dumont is not afraid to voice it. You may also have noted he was the only one to bring up the aging demographics of the Quebec society and their implications for health care demands. Yes, Mario is thinking 10-15 years ahead.

While Bouchard says "c'est pas reglable avec les AUTRES" , Mario is not afraid to recognize the Supreme Court decision for the basic wisdom it contains..."ca conte quoi de l'essayer?"...what does it cost to try? Yes, he says we are obligated to try to negotiate, talk, communicate. There is a "voie" to be found, not the old "voie" but a new paradigm to be found.

On many occasions, Mr. Charest missed a grand chance to embrace many of Mr. Dumont's ideas and admit they have merit and are worth consideration. In a debate, there is nothing like conceeding your oponent has a good point on an issue if indeed you hold a similar world view - no referendum.

"Je suis pas un maniac de referendum" was another notable quote from the mouth of Bouchard. Sometimes it takes one to recognize one. Perhaps the best way to leave this.

"On a un choix de ping pong, ou de briser une cercle vicieux"....Mario Dumont.

He may not be a Winston Churchill but when Dumont asked us to look in the mirror last night, he did something necessary for all Quebeckers. There is a struggle ahead. We've got to make big changes in the structure of government. We've come nowhere for 30 years in this constitutional debate. It is time for a new approach and to embrace the opportunities before us.

I'm happy he is going to be "le chien de garde de la population"... good for him...good for us.

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