no broken spokes

No Broken Spokes...
Christopher C. Goodfellow
December 2 1998

You have to live in Quebec to understand Quebec.

Part of the exercise is learning infinite patience. You need a lot of it to live in Quebec.

But in the end, sometimes, you are rewarded.

In their sometimes difficult-to-comprehend wisdom the Quebec people did something very significant Monday. They reminded the politicians that the wheel needs fixing, but no one got a new set of wheels.

We gave Charest a small but tantalizing confirmation that we love him and want him with a small advantage in the popular vote and we sent the message to Mr. Bouchard that we think you are a good leader and worth another kick at the tires. The wheel needs fixing but no spokes are broken and we don't want you breaking spokes. No racing slicks for you...just yet.

A very Zen solution if you think of it. Only in Quebec. Not exactly passing a camel through the eye of a needle but more like balancing the camel on the needle.

It was a political emasculation of the first order. Neither Bouchard or Charest are emboldened. They are in fact put on notice that someone better start fixing that wheel or we may just try out a new set...Mr. Dumont.

We all have a stake as they say and we all have to make it work. So that gets down to you and me.

We seriously have to examine what we as individuals can do to make a difference here in Quebec. There is no more easy money to grease the wheels. So roll up your sleeves and get involved.


Join a political party or lobby group that represents your interests now, not next year or just before the next election or referendum, but now. Make your voice heard in this debate and not just on election day. Write, e-mail and fax your thoughts to politicians and newspapers across this land. You would be surprised what an effect it has.

If you have a specific skill then offer to volunteer to use that specific skill.

If you don't want to get involved politically then get involved as a volunteer in charitable groups and organizations. Spread your goodwill one on one.

On a personal level, I sat on the sidelines for many years and my wake-up call came with the 1995 referendum. I decided to start writing to politicians with my opinions and thoughts. I quite simply realized that the government is us. No one else. I've been blessed with an education superior to most of the politicians and I've got a personal responsibility to use it. If we don't take care of our democracy no one will. Thieves will come in the night and steal it away.

Last year I became a Provincial Director of Alliance Quebec. While I don't agree with everything that goes on in the organization all the time, I know my contribution has been constructive in many ways. More importantly I have encountered people on all sides of the issues facing Quebec and it has given me a greater appreciation of the strengths of all of us. Informed, engaged citizenry are the best defense against demagogues.

My association with a small foundation here in the Laurentians to take care of an historic rural church and graveyard has brought many rewards but none more significant than the realization and appreciation of the hard work of those that went before us to break this land and settle here. No one got a free ride. Everytime I think I have it tough, I think of those backbreaking days when those first settlers broke the land on this farm with an axe.

Another involvement has been the development of LaurentianWeb and December 3rd. marks a very significant 5th anniversary. On that date in 1993, LaurentianChat took its very first call and transferred its first internet e-mail. LaurentianChat was the first dial-up server in the Laurentians and it was my intention to build a community based bulletin board to tie our community together here. One thing led to another and developments in graphic browsers brought about the world wide web and LaurentianChat became LaurentianWeb.

It is very much a work in progress but the broad mission has remained the same. The Net is a place where the common man can make his voice heard. LaurentianWeb is your platform to make your voice heard and with an average hit rate of 1500/day a lot of people are hearing. If you have something relatively responsible to say, send it to us for consideration.

So get involved in something that will make a difference. You will make the difference.

No one has the exclusive truth in Quebec as the pollsters now know.

Something November 30 taught all of us. What goes around, comes around.

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