I remember. In Quebec, the phrase has always captured a sense of grievance, which goes back to the Plains of Abraham. But, stamped on the bottom of Quebec license plates, it has come to stand for more than that. It speaks to the uniqueness of the province. It is a testament to the power of memory.
Michael Harris wrote this week that Stephen Harper hopes you will forget what happened in Ottawa over the last twenty-four hours. He hopes you will forget a lot of things:
Mr. Harper hopes you forget the F-35, an unprecedented fiscal, military, and political fiasco brought to you by a corrupt military procurement system in the U.S. and a rogue DND in this country unchecked by the civilian side. Too many zeros on the cheque is the government’s best defense; that, and the availability of robots like Julian Fantino, who will apparently read anything that is put in his hands. The public money about to be wasted is unimaginably staggering and on that account meaningless – or so the government hopes.
He hopes that you will forget about the Accountability Act:
that dress rehearsal for better Tory governance that never went into production. Other politicians give you their word, Stephen Harper gives wording. His gift as a rhetorical trickster has rarely been more in evidence than in the voluminous charade known as the Accountability Act. Duff Conacher, the founder of Democracy Watch, has graded this piece of legislation appropriately – a belly-flop from the high-diving board of political BS. It features a commitment to language and an aversion to acting on the language that conjures up the PM’s greasy undermining of the Atlantic Accord. Best forgotten.
Harper hopes that it will all be forgotten. It strikes me, however, that Je me souviens has taken on a pan-Canadian meaning. It speaks to the sense of grievance that most Canadians feel, and will feel, towards the Harper government. It speaks for Canadians who work in the fishery, and who will no longer qualify for Employment Insurance. It speaks for a whole generation of Canadians who will not be able to retire when their parents did. It speaks for women who can no longer fight for pay equity. It speaks for Canada's first nations, whose lands will be befouled by the toxic sludge polluting their lands and waters.
As for me and my house, we agree: Je me souviens.