Gil Benabou (from left), Molly Mouyal and Coby Steiner talk politics and sip coffee at Pain Doré on Monkland.
BY: IRWIN BLOCK
It was the day after the Quebec election, and for many west end residents there was a sense of relief that Pauline Marois’s Parti Québécois will be restrained by her minority position as the new provincial premier.
Gil Benabou, a Moroccan-born eyewear sales executive, said he was not concerned that the PQ won a plurality.
“I think it’s okay. If Pauline Marois is going to go on a platform for independence, she should be very clear about it. We don’t want to get to the old fights. And if we ever come to a new referendum, I would like it to be extremely clear: Do you favour independence, yes or no.”
As for tougher language laws: “Instead of restrictions, let’s promote French. I don’t believe in that law. I speak French fluently and I love to speak and write the language. I feel the English speakers are putting in a lot more effort into speaking French than francophones into speaking English.”
For Molly Mouyal, a retired interior decorator, the threat of a revived independence movement gives her the shakes.
“I’m not happy. I’m afraid of separation. We are fine now. Everything is booming, everything is nice. Quebec has to be part of Canada.”
She fears that “a lot of people will start leaving. They are scared and start moving away.”
Mouyal hopes that Marois will do “something positive, not promote separation.”
Equally pessimistic was Coby Steiner, a lamp manufacturer, who felt the PQ in power was “bad, very bad.”
“It’s a new beginning of something we don’t need.”
He was relieved the PQ failed to win a majority.
Sam Perez, a real-estate entrepreneur, felt that the PQ in a minority position will restrict its ability to move forward on its more confrontational issue. As a result, he said, “I don’t see much of a difference if it’s Charest or Marois.”
“I don’t see Marois as a threat, as long as she doesn’t have a majority.”
Retired Concordia University computer science professor Hendrik Boom listened to his heart and mind by supporting the Green Party.
He agreed “the Liberals and CAQ can probably hold the PQ in check.”
He was quick to add this minority situation “won’t stop the PQ from seizing every opportunity to make it look as if Quebec is dissatisfied.
“I’m sure Stephen Harper will do his best to offend Quebec. Harper’s politics are inimical to Quebec culture, not in terms of language but in terms of being a caring society.”
He was dismayed by the way Marois campaigned.
“Her ethnocentric approach is scandalous,” he said. “She lost the centre to the CAQ. She had to appeal to the hardliners.”
Now that she must try to reach an accommodation with the other parties, Boom felt confident at least some of the PQ’s most controversial proposals would not be adopted, at least under the current party configuration.