For one day I imbued myself with the political scene here in Quebec. I opined all over everyone and Facebook.  I expressed, cajoled and even began arguments with those who would speak contrarily.  I was revisiting my past to see how my “old skin” felt and found that it was a very uncomfortable fit.  Memories of decades of my life spent in this sort of mentality, of one person being right, and another being wrong, always trying to prove your “rightness” and  then trying to convince others to have your opinions;  I had forgotten how exhausting it all was.

Everyone changes.  But, I didn’t even recognize the person that was me yesterday. That was some other older version of me.

In university, I was only 16 when I was voted into University Senate. Not a small feat for a kid on a campus with 32 thousand students.  We argued and bantered day and night.  It was the practice field for upcoming MNA and MP’s of the Canadian political scene and for a long time I was pretty sure my life was going in that direction.  I was president of stuff and wanted the authority and the ego boost of having people believe that I would represent them.   I even had dinner with Henry Kissinger once and argued with him too about bombing the food line in Cambodia.  I debated all over the country even in parts of the USA.  I discovered that in a political debate, ultimately you are trying to get the person with whom you have a contention to lay down their sword at your feet and agree with your view.  However, in all of my years and with all of my lofty brains and ideals I have yet to change someone’s mind about something they believe.   I found, especially after having had so many years now where I really chose not to have too many opinions about anything (the nice thing about Buddhism:)  that having opinions is very exhausting and a terrible waste of energy.  Rarely is there a black and white easy answer between who is right and who is wrong. All of your opinions are based on personal experience. Choice and consequence.  We understand everything only relative to our personal experience, and since we are the only ones who have lived our particular life it is then obvious that no one can EVER see things the same as you.  Convincing anyone of anything is both futile and a waste of time. 

During the day I was forcing myself.  To tell you the truth,  I found that I really had no interest in convincing anyone of anything.  But there is a certain “acceptable hysteria” in the manner in which politicians in Quebec communicate and I fell into step like I hadn’t missed a day.  Then I discovered that I don’t feel the need to have what I believe validated by anyone because I only believe what resonates as truth in my heart.   This is a great freedom and I wouldn’t have known it about myself had I not had this experience.    Everyone is running on fear- and I feel no fear because I am well aware of a bigger picture that is in play here and that goes way beyond our human banter.

Nonetheless, it was a really interesting day delving back into the direction my life was supposed to take according to my family and upbringing.  At the end of it, I discovered more deeply who I am.  The experience was fruitful…and tiring.


After the election there was violence.  I felt how the energy of everyone had gotten so out of hand…and someone died.  This is incredibly sad. We saw this kind of militant ideology back in 1976 and it is not something we need to revisit.  This is all VERY OLD THINKING.  We know better now.  I believe there is a spiritual shift in the world, and more and more people are coming to understand that YOU are not your religion, YOU are not your country, YOU are not your eduction or the money you make. YOU are MUCH MUCH more than that.

There are so many problems and issues in the world, we need to stay focused and not let these people who are stuck with their personal identities all tied up in their EXTERIOR life impinge upon our INTERIOR growth and development.   So I will put my feet back on the ground, let my political fervour go back to sleep…and welcome peace and quiet back into my heart – breathing a sigh of relief for the gratitude I feel for having such a beautiful life.






Some people who read my blog don’t live in Canada or even north America, so I was thinking of what it would be like to describe the Political situation of Quebec to someone who is, let’s say…starving in Africa? Or how about a little girl in China who has to get up and work for 12 hours in a factory to make our shoes?  I realize everything is relative, but can we really ignore how petty this province is being anymore? 

I long ago hung up my political spurs.  I don’t even entertain whitty banter at dinner parties any more.  I do not talk politics, because I stopped caring.  Long ago, it all seemed so petty, the people were so fake, the language so was hypocritical. I didnt see much good in the political arena for a long time, so I voted myself out of having that in my life. That is up until this week.

Quebec is the only province in Canada which is designated as a French province.  Back in 1759 in a 15 minute fight,  English won the war and the french stayed pissed off.   Ironically,  my direct ancestry is actually some of the first families that were sent to “New France” from France itself. Actually I think mine were of the Filles du Roie (the Girls of the King) who the women sent to populate the country.  I am serious breeding stock!  So frankly, I have as much right to this frustration as any “pure laine Quebecker”, and PROBABLY MORE than most. However, I am one of those “fall in the cracks” Quebeckers.  I identify more with the anglophone community in my heart- having been raised in the west end of the island and sent to English schools.  But my name is about as french as french gets.  Sometimes when I speak with “Pure Laine Quebeckers”  they make fun of me or ask with petulance how come I have an ENGLISH accent. By the way,  Pure Laine means french Quebeckers who don’t speak a word of English and give you shit for having an English slur when you speak to them in french. In English it simply means “pure wool”.  Did you know about 60% of english is derived from french already?

As an indivudual, I am not particularly attached to being anglophone – Actually I’m not really attached to being Canadian either. I used to be, but my thoughts have become allot more global as I read and learn more, so I have decided to be just Jo – Citizen of the world.  But even with that, I have to be conscious and responsible that the culture I spend my life in properly represents my moral values – which Quebec no longer does for me, and tomorrow I may find out I am in the minority in my beliefs in this place.  So, obviously I don’t think I would not be ME if I wasn’t a Quebecker – unlike my francophone confreres who treat their french identity as though it were the only thing that makes them who they are.   What disturbs my sleep though is that slowly and over time the franco culture here in Quebec has become so insular in its thinking, that it now has exploded into full out racism.  They have even made racism policies legal LEGAL. Unbelievable.  For example –  We aren’t allowed to have ENGLISH on our store front windows.  All signs have to be in french.  We cannot educate our kids in the language we choose, french is mandatory.  As I write these things that, if you live here you may take for granted but I am still picturing those people in countries with REAL problems and how they would percieve all of this ridiculousness.

This government have even gone as far as to lower the bar with a crappy reform and dumb down the English kids through the school systems. They have continued to lower the funding to English schools and increase them to the french school boards for many years now.  In the school where I substituted for 5 years, some of the kids were using science textbooks that were 5 and 6 years old at the time and I STILL see kids using them from that school.  This is unreal to me. There is an emphasis in the school system on sending English kids to trade schools while a huge push was effected in the french sector on getting more kids, not only through high school but through Cegep and University.  Why isn’t anyone doing anything??

Why…because anyone is US.  WE aren’t doing anything.’s what we CAN do:

Voting for Pauline Marois, whether you are francophone or anglophone is sort of like handing a robber your gun.  In the end, these people take something from you.

I know that voting seems like a pretty small deal, and really (statistically) it kind of is.  But even more important is the  intention and energy you place behind going to the polls.  We have to vote in UNISON…together, or else the vote will split and she will win a minority government which will render her both ineffective AND dangerous all at once.


I want to see a new kind of politics emerge.  A politics of compassion, and love. Of doing good. Of stopping the bullshit. Of getting rid of people like Pauline Marois and yes…Jean Charest too. I think even he is tired of his own bullshit.   We are ALL looking for this…!

I think we really saw the beginning of it with the appeal of Elizabeth May and her Green Party in the Federal Elections.  I get a real sense that finally people are looking for a very different direction in our choices as a society.  This waste of time  Parti Quebecois is only a deterrent from the very real fact that we need to be much less concerned with protecting a culture which will only be destroyed if some of the critical issues facing us globally and environmentally are not addressed by us all.





I was raised in an extremely political family. We were all involved at some point in our lives in some way very deeply.  It has been many years however since I became finally too disheartened with the shallowness of it all and walked away.  Until very recently I never even looked back.

My father was the driving force behind it all in our family.  The more opinions you had, the smarter you were.  Dinners were often boisterous and slightly disturbing, but at least we were talking and thinking about things.  Time with dad included  everything from leadership conferences and conventions where everyone wore the same hat and cheered like crazy for the guy on stage who was saying the same shit he had said last week and the week before.  We stuffed enveloped, kissed babies and opened doors for old people to help them vote.  The life had its moments.  Our family was liberal in party but conservative in attitude.  Our neighbours were mostly liberals and were known not to like the ones that were “separatists” – wanting to separate our province form Canada.  This was sacrilege. 

Generally people in our west of the city suburban town were quietly in agreement with most things.   It was a nice way to grow up, and there was a certain community camaraderie in these political ideas everyone had.  There were a few “separatists” on our block, but we really ignored those people.  And our living room was often full of loud opinionated politicians, everyone of them trying to “out-charisma” the other.  So many of the big politicians were actually held up by an enormous machine of people behind them. I see now though that I was truly graced to have been weaned on the passionate emerging politics of french Canada in the 1970’s. Wer had superstars for politicians back then.  I can assure you that although we are very different from our european ancestors, french people everywhere are passionate. We are passionate about our food, wine, sex and politics.   I am somewhere in the middle…an english francophone in Quebec. 

The english and french have really developed very differently in Quebec over the past 60 years, or since the “quiet revolution” as we would say. While the french really upheld the cultural, artistic, and religious aspects of the society, the english focused on finances and owning business and land. Eventually, there was a power shift because the  (minority) english employed the french.  The french began seeking even more deeply their “identity” through culture, religion, food and politics.  Language was at the crux of how they identified themselves, which is why the topic is still hot. It is not a case of right or wrong, but of simple observation. The english hold in their tenet that “money is power”.  Now, there are many power struggles. Where the english had always superior training and education (because of their money) now the government is trying to “even it all out” by lowering the bar so significantly on the english public school education standards that kids here may as well go sell shoes in the street – they would have a better chance at a future.   What is happening now is so ridiculous…it woke me up. I was awoken at 3:00 am for the first time in my life with a concern for the possibility that Pauline Marois would be elected into office here in Quebec. This would be like voluntarily allowing a Nazi’s into office – and I am not meaning to sound trite because that is a very serious thing to say about anyone. She is responsible for laws that disrespect our basic human right to express ourselves in any way we want to or can.  language is NOT AN ISSUE FOR THE GOVERNMENT. Why oh WHY are we allowing it?

It is a fact that over the past 30 years especially the world generally has made exceptional strides in tearing down some of our most extreme division both physical and conceptual: The Berlin Wall, Apartheid, Cold War, democratization of the muslim and asian worlds, women’s rights – the exponential growth of knowledge and the flow of communication through the internet has blown the mind of the world wide open.  There is no more room for the old politics that tries to put up walls through telling people that they won’t be “themselves” if they don’t protect themselves. 

But the trends of undoing the walls and limitations point to a tendency that the world is looking for more openness and less limitation. So what baffles me is how we can still be allowing a group of what seems to be potentially intelligent people who would wish to differentiate the value of a person by which language they speak is in my opinion not much different from a political leader differentiating people value based on their religious beliefs.  But what can we do about it??  No one really has wanted to deal with this stuff in 39 years. Now…we are sitting at the brink of potential disaster.

  The problem is twofold: 1- there is no one to represent properly the contrary view 2- there is a lack of youth coming up in the ranks.  No one in the right mind says they want to grow up and be a politician, do they?  People only develop a desire for politics when they start to believe that they are something special. Politics is a full on ego gratification game.

 When I was young our family was a few times under threat.  I was driven to school by an undercover police officer for a while in grade 7 and my friends thought I was incredibly cool.  In grade 8 a french kid from a local public school broke the arm of a recently immigrated really hot little kid from australia who didn’t speak a word of french.  We all chalked it up to the language issue in the province (it was probably a tiff on the soccer field).  By recess the next day I had the entire school riled and ready to go. We were going to “fight” the french kids in the park down the hill at lunch time. We should up en force! Grade 4-11, a tiny little school, and me in the front. Luckily a teacher had heard wind of the impending train wreck, and was there to stop the whole ordeal. We all went home having saved face and I was suspended, and finally expelled.  They decided a kid like me was too much trouble.

I was put to work in my father’s offices during one of the most passionate of all elections, the referendum of 1980 in Quebec, where we were deciding on whether or not Quebec should stay in Canada or should become an independent country.   In this work I was able to witness a type of old school honor that I can see now no longer exists. 

I believe in the possibility of a new kind of politics. The kind that puts reality ahead of ego, and the kind where everyone is welcome to be a part of the decisions and choices.  I see a new kind of politics where this “preying on fear:, like Marois is doing with her language nazi friends is laughed out of the ring by the rest of us who know better.  We don’t need a person like Pauline Marois who believes that it is too much of a bather for children to learn a second langauge if they already speak french.  This is insane. There is no room for such backwards thinking today.

I’m not sure how to do it, but I need to wake A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE UP before the election next week.

Unfortunately, we all know you’ll probably have to vote liberal so you don’t split the vote.  It kind of feels like we have no choices.

But after the election is where the hard work is going to start, because if we agree to elect jean charest in all his personal uselessness, it is up to us to stay on it and make sure we get what we want done in our political arenas.