Simon and Garfunkel wrote a song with the classic line, “Hello Darkness, my old friend.” To me, it means the inevitability of something that you may not want to encounter. But it’s there as a familiar spectre nonetheless.
It was there lately when Mario Dumont, Leader of the ADQ (Action Démocratique du Quebec) came out with his statement that hydro-electric mega-projects were back on the agenda if his party is elected in the coming provincial election.
Talk about being out of the loop. Super Mario must have slept through the Great W Whale hydro-electric fight in the 1990s. Both Quebec and Hydro-Quebec took a beating on that one.
It’s obvious that Dumont makes his policies on the fly. But this takes some imagination. A team of drunken monkeys tapping away on a rickety Underwood could have written a better policy.
Sources within the Grand Council of the Crees say they have tried to have meetings with Dumont, only to have been ignored. The Nation has likewise requested an interview with Dumont. We’ve also been ignored. The contempt and arrogance is telling.
It’s clear this man would take Quebec back to an earlier, and uglier, era. Back to the dark days of imposed mega-projects, the environment and Cree rights be damned (or dammed). Dumont’s attitude smacks of paternalistic colonialism, a replay of Robert Bourassa’s megalomania mixed with a healthy dose of Maurice Duplessis’s contempt for democracy.
Some might see this as a surprising turnaround. Just months before he was actively courting the minority vote in a meeting to which this paper was invited and even hopeful.
But he doesn’t walk the talk. He promised minorities they would have a chance to help form his party’s policy platform. Perhaps it is select minorities that will get to do so. But his complete unwillingness to meet with any Cree makes one rightly suspicious.
Will it take another trip or two to the United States to make Dumont see the light? Given the actions of 9-11, with terrorist acts in the United States, it would not be difficult to point out to the Americans the dangers of putting all your eggs in one basket in the energy field.
Our audience would even be more receptive than before and the Grand Council of the Crees have expressed a willingness and desire to continue the fight if need be.
As an engine of the marketplace, the idea that the Great Whale Hydro-electric Project could be revived might well be the very spark that would kill the Quebec dream rather than giving it the needed energy it needs to succeed.
In short, vote anything but Dumont, our future depends upon it.