I just finished watching this week's At Issue panel, and I don't know if I can take much more of this. After witnessing Chantal's tirade against Jim Prentice; openly accusing him of "Quebec bashing" and repeatedly calling it an attack against all Quebecers, it is insane! Jim Prentice was specifically addressing a specific policy that Charest passed into legislation that is bad economic policy. He is making consumers pay large fines if their vehicles do not meet lofty standards, benchmarks that the large majority of cars for sale in the market don't have.
Chantal did not once in her entire rant mention Prentice saying that the people of Quebec might be agitated at having to drive out of province to buy cars in order to avoid the penalty, or why it was bad policy. She didn't mention that Quebec's automotive dealers should be furious that such a substantial proportion of their inventory does not meet new regulations. In fact she never really discussed the legislation. Instead Chantal said that Prentice's statement was a direct attack against the people of Quebec for "wanting to do too much for the environment." Andrew Coyne tried to play Devil's Advocate, but you could tell that he was holding back what he really wanted to say.
I fail to see how saying something negative about a policy that will punish consumers for lofty targets and threatens to devastate Quebec auto sales constitutes an attack against each and every individual Quebecer. If penalties are applied to the large majority of existing inventories, sellers will suffer, buyers will suffer, and the economy will suffer. And for what? To feel good about polar bears? By the way, there are plenty of polar bears. Chantal, do you think Quebecers are going to feel warm and fuzzy about paying large fines for buying a new vehicle? What happens if automotive sales collapse, but boom in Ontario? Are we going to see Charest impose tariffs on out of Province cars? Ontario will love that.
Now would be a good time for Maxime Bernier to say something about Jean Charest's new policies. Chantal, I don’t doubt that you took what Prentice said personally as a shot against you, but it was a shot taken at a bad economic policy that will punish sellers and buyers. Wake up and give your head a shake. Granted, I also remember Chantal during the 2008 campaign proclaiming that the conservatives had been completely decimated in Quebec. How many seats did they win? Yeah Chantal, as the Beastie Boys used to always say; “your crystal ball ain’t so crystal clear”