Today’s La Presse piece called “41+23=64” shows how the Coalition Avenir Québec is a fundamental part of the province’s shift away from the old OUI/NON dynamic that has paralyzed Quebec for a generation. We need a strong CAQ to push aside the destructive Parti Québécois and fill the role of healthy opposition to the Quebec Liberal Party.

Yes, the Liberals have been complicit in the destruction of Quebec’s economy since the 1970s by themselves not being able to effectively oppose the PQ’s politics of using identity politics to encourage division, but I do believe at its core the PLQ wants a better Quebec. I just don’t believe it’s capable, but a prolific CAQ can at least push the PLQ into actually having to look at proactive and productive policy-making instead of letting it simply be “opposite of the PQ” – it’s only policy for 40-plus years.

The CAQ is a party designed to govern. The PLQ is a party designed for power, not governance, and it needs to be held in check.

From La Presse (translation in parantheses following each quote):

Dans un premier temps, les libéraux et les caquistes, malgré leurs origines différentes, partagent un refus de la souveraineté et auraient fait partie du camp du « non » dans un référendum.
(For starters, the Liberals and Caquistes, despite their differing origins, share a rejection of sovereignty and would both be on the “No” side of a referendum.)

Le PLQ, et encore davantage la CAQ, sont préoccupés par l’équilibre budgétaire…
(The Liberals, and even more so the CAQ, are focused on balancing the budget…)

Ni le PLQ ni la CAQ ne veulent recourir à des hausses d’impôt, contrairement au PQ, qui a taxé les riches à son arrivée au pouvoir. Les deux parties visent une réduction du fardeau fiscal.
(Neither the Liberals nor the CAQ are in favour of tax increases, as opposed to the PQ that increased taxes on wealthier Quebecers as soon as it got into power. These two parties are both focused on reducing the tax burden.)

The primary difference between the CAQ and the PLQ is nuanced, yet distinct. The Liberals have a “Canada-first” mentality, bred from their historic opposition to anything-and-everything PQ that has created an unhealthy inability to try to improve Quebec’s place in the federation; The CAQ has a “Quebec-first” mentality that says we can be stronger within the federation – we should go to bat in Ottawa to get more powers for Quebec, but with the idea that a stronger Quebec means a stronger Canada.

An simplistic way to understand the CAQ’s position is the NHL and the Montreal Canadiens: Canadiens fans want the Habs to always be the best and expect the team’s GM to always try and get the best players/create the best situation to win… but that doesn’t mean they don’t want the NHL to be strong. On the contrary, NHL fans are well known to be the most protective of their league of all sports fans – they just want their team to be the best in a strong league.

That’s what the CAQ is about and the Liberals can’t deliver.

With the PQ tanking because of its backwards and unhealthy policies, Quebec is ready for a shift from a seemingly endless identity debate to a debate about how to make Quebec stronger.

Quebecers can thank the Coalition Avenir Québec for that.