Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Liberals defend ad with pot-banging PQ Leader

An unflattering ad that stars Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois has prompted a legal threat from a videographer, as the spectre of a possible fall election looms over the province.

The political ad, launched by Quebec's ruling Liberal Party, is a highly stylized, black-and-white voiceless video clip that uses amateur footage of Marois at a spring casserole protest in Lachute.

The 15-second video shows Marois banging on two metal lids, in slow motion, looking quizzically at people striking pots and pans around her. At one point, she fumbles with her lids. 

Guy Séguin, the man who originally shot the video and posted it on Facebook, has sent a legal letter to the Liberal Party asking them to stop using the clip.

He recorded the images in Lachute during a byelection campaign that saw the PQ score a surprise victory in the longtime Liberal stronghold riding of Argenteuil.

The footage was originally posted to Facebook, on the PQ's official website and YouTube.

PQ members accused the Liberals of using negative "Republican-style" tactics by running the ad.

Premier Jean Charest defended the clip, stressing that the PQ "chose themselves to make these pictures public" in the first place.

"This illustrates an episode in the political life of Pauline Marois that Quebecers have an interest in knowing," Charest told reporters Tuesday.

"The image speaks for itself. We did not suggest a conclusion Quebecers should reach -- given how obvious that conclusion is."

In the past, Quebec Premier Charest has mentioned he associates Marois with "the streets and protest," constantly reminding people of her support of the student strike.

After vigorously encouraging the student movement this past spring, Marois has backed away, at least symbolically.

She wore the movement's iconic red felt square for months, until last week, when she stopped pinning it on her lapel.

A Quebec election could be held as early as September, if Charest chooses to call one this summer. The premier has until the fall of 2013 to call a vote.

The Liberals' possible election campaign could prominently feature the PQ and its support for Quebec's student strike.

Charest released his own video last week, in which he directly addresses Quebecers and underlines his government's "political courage" during "this period of turbulence."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Defend democracy: Stand against the Conservative budget bill

On Wednesday, June 13 while Members of Parliament (MPs) begin voting on the Conservative government's 400-plus page omnibus budget bill, Canadians from coast to coast will be demonstrating against it.

Conservative MPs' offices across the country, as well as on Parliament Hill, will be the scene of protests starting at 5:30 p.m. to show the massive opposition to this undemocratic trojan horse budget bill. The bill is so far-reaching it includes changes to over 70 pieces of legislation, most of which are completely unrelated to the federal budget.

Leadnow, the group helping to organize the demonstrations says that this budget bill is bad for democracy, threatens our economic and social security, takes a reckless approach to the environment and attacks science and public information. It is also criticizing the government for using the omnibus tactic to ram the bill through. Omnibus bills lump many unrelated items into one bill, looking for a yes or no response.

More and more Conservative backbenchers are hearing from their constitutents and know this budget bill is a slap in the face to a democracy. Several former Conservative colleagues have spoken out publicly against the bill. Lead Now is calling for 13 "heroes", Conservative MPs who have the courage to stand up against the budget bill and the devastating effects it will have.

Opposition parties have submitted 871 amendments to the bill but the Speaker of the House of Commons, Andrew Scheer has organized them into 67 sections in order to restrict the amount of time it will take for each vote. Despite this, it is likely that MPs will be voting on the bill for at least 24 hours.