Ontario’s election impacts Quebec
One thing the Wynne/Liberal government in Ontario has accomplished is to keep Quebec tightly engaged with the federation – as a deliberate policy. While this would likely be continued under an NDP government, it’s unlikely that relations with Quebec are even on the Ford/Conservative radar. It’s conceivable that a Ford win could strengthen Quebec’s independence movement; he could easily shoot his mouth off at the wrong moment, and, besides, who wants to be part of a country which elects a Trump-like leader? Ford could make us all independentistes!
No doubt Wynne has promised more than will be delivered, ever, à la that other big-promising Liberal, but this is not our problem in Quebec. Our own issues will come to a boil-point as our election nears in October. The circumstance we’d hate to see is Ontario voters selecting a party which offers only reverse gear – much the way our Yankee neighbours selected the door leading to authoritarianism just to avoid voting for Hilary Clinton (who shares some comparisons with Ms Wynne).
Interesting here is the similarity in media-landscapes between the US and Ontario, with a couple of large investment-broker-owned corporations dominating the real-news landscape. Quebec, at least, has a more varied mediascape – and a more varied political-party menu.
If Ontario goes the American way next month, we will certainly feel it. Mr Ford has made protectionist promises to Ontario businesses and working people who see Quebeckers, as well as immigrants, stealing jobs from Ontario workers, aided, in part, by the not-so-marvellous job Ontario’s media has done in reporting trends and effects, a job remarkably similar to that of US media sloppiness.
As one example, the Feds’ radioactive dump proposal for the Ottawa River can expect little opposition from a Ford administration, just because they are so unlikely to give a damn what Quebec cities downstream think about its dangers. We can expect more competition with Quebec from Ontario if indeed a new NAFTA deal is worked out, as provinces fight amongst themselves to grab crumbs left from a Trump deal on, say, automotive and dairy production.
We can expect a drop in environmental standards from a Ford government, which could attract investors – in mining, for example – away from Quebec. Likewise for Indigenous empowerment and its influence on investors. And it’s not hard to imagine Ford cutting some French and bilingual government services to deliver on his general promises of “cheaper government”.
A Wynne (or Horwath) government would surely keep close ties with Quebec, leading to more cooperation on cross-border issues which affect our local economies up the Ottawa Valley. Think of linking Ottawa’s light rail with Gatineau’s transit or even a new bridge between the two cities, both of which would need provincial government approvals – and funding.
Add to this a few possible surprises in Quebec’s fall election, which might result in changes from our side to the Quebec-Ontario relationship, and we can easily glimpse impacts upon us from this election, even if it’s in another jurisdiction altogether.