Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Mathematically and Morally Challenged Montreal Gazette

With Quebec Premier Jean Charest weathering a storm of controversy surrounding allegations of corruption ranging from judicial appointments to construction contracts it isn't surprising that an online petition calling for his resignation is gaining strength.

Other unsurprising news includes this editorial response from the Montreal Gazette.

An online petition demanding the resignation of Jean Charest is an amusing novelty. And so it is spreading, and the number of signatures is growing, with the same "viral" speed shown by various previous amusing Internet novelties: cute kittens, funny ads, "Hail Mary" pass videos, droll examples of the Photoshopper's art, and Quebec's own "Star Wars Kid." The petition is about as meaningful as all that nonsense, too. "

Quebecers should be careful what they wish for. The political landscape, from left to centre (there is no electoral right in Quebec) is not exactly studded with prominent potential successors jostling for a chance to solve our problems. Better the devil you know ... "

We wonder, too, how many of those who are signing the petition bothered to vote in the last election.

So the MG position is that this petition is silly, meaningless, there is no other leadership alternative and it's probably signed by yahoos who don't bother to vote.

Really? This led me to wonder how many naive folks have signed the petition but that information is nowhere to be found in the body of the Gazette piece. What I did find was It seems it has garnered over 174,000 + signatures since Monday.

Now let's compare that to the coverage by The Montreal Gazette regarding another recent online petition, specifically, Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament.

Frustration with and anger at Stephen Harper’s decision to prorogue Parliament spilled from the Internet onto the streets Saturday, as tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered at rallies across Canada.

The decision to prorogue Parliament, the second in just over a year, sparked a backlash, especially online, where a Facebook group opposing the move grew to include more than 211,000 members.


It was White’s Facebook group, Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament, that got the protest ball rolling and has attracted more than 211,000 members since Harper announced his decision on the second-last day of the year.

The tone of the two pieces are definitely different but putting that aside let's just do the math. The most recent piece by the Gazette failed to mention any numbers regarding the Charest petition while the total of the CAPP petition was noted twice in the same article.

The Charest petition has garnered nearly 175,ooo signatures in four days from a presumed population of 7.5 million Quebec citizens. In contrast the CAPP petition accumulated 211,000 signatures in a little over three weeks from a presumed pool of 36 million Canadians.

That said, would anybody care to speculate on which petition is more significant?



Anonymous said...

Can't stand Charest, but it amazing how everyone is helping the P.Q. by ganging up on Charest. As for a construction commision, I am with Charest because it would be a waste of money.

syncrodox said...

I'm certainly no fan of Pauline Marios but IMHO Charest has brought this on himself.

That aside, the point I was trying to make was that the Montreal Gazette is inconsistent in their view and reporting of the importance of online petitions.

Resounding grassroots movements or frivolous exercises in futility?

Or does it depend on whom the petition is aimed at?

Anonymous said...

Ah, who cares? In Quebec it's all about one commie "biker" gang vs another, whether in the political theatre or out in the streets. As for the PQ, they aren't any different that the current crop of extortionistas.

Last time it got outta hand, the local commie biker gang called in the feds and we sent a bunch of them to cool off on the beaches of commie Cuba, for ten years.

Just cut off the cash this time and close the borders. When they get stuff settled, re-open them. Business as usual.