Monday, December 05, 2005

Land of the disappeared?

After only one week on the campaign trail, the rhetoric in Quebec is already threatening to get out of hand and there is still seven weeks to go until election day.

The latest blow up between the Bloc Quebecois and the Liberal party of Canada has brought out the specter of Nazism, which is a stretch even for these two rather vitriolic enemies.

Over the weekend, Gilles Duceppe seemed overcome with a sense of power, as he bellowed to the masses that he wanted to make every single Liberal in the province disappear. Suggesting that the province was on the verge of a Bloc Sweep of historic proportions. The statement caused the Transport Minister (and former Bloc co-founder) Jean Lapierre to comment that those were the words of the era of Nazism, a statement that has taken the election campaign to a new level of intolerance, even by Quebec standards.

As the word images played themselves out in the Quebec media over the weekend, the Canadian Jewish Council in Quebec waded into the fray on Monday, suggesting that the Ministers comments, while said in the heat of battle, were still wholly inappropriate and in fact diminished the horrors of the days of Nazism.

Duceppe took a step back on Monday apologizing for his terminology and said what he meant to say was, that the Bloc would like to capture all the Liberal seats in Quebec. For good measure, he also asked for an apology from Mr. Lapierre for his Nazi reference.

Liberal officials came out with a statement that Mr. Lapierre would no longer use the Nazi word when making comparisons in the election campaign. Which we suspect is more of a positioning statement rather than an apology, as the words I regret or I'm sorry don't seem to be in any of the sentences.

The week one sniping is just an indication of how heated the situation in Quebec has become with the election call. One wonders how rancorous the debate could actually become by January 23rd.

All in all the season of peace and goodwill towards all men is off to a rather rough start in Quebec.

Hyperbole, thy name is Quebec!

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