MONTREAL -- Welcome to the return of sanity in Quebec: April 7th brought in a wave of fresh spring air that we desperately needed.
The 18-month bout of darkness marked by division, tribal nationalism and by the politics of identity is over -- now we officially have a new government. And, this government is not afraid of pronouncing itself as Canadian and doesn't treat English like a contaminant.
As Liberal ministers were sworn in this week, francophone ministers insisted on taking oaths in both official languages. Next, a premier announced he would be the premier for all Quebecers.
For our community -- which has been kicked around and bullied -- there are no sweeter words. But, we must remain vigilant that this government offers more than platitudes.
It will not be an easy road ahead, and there are tough decisions to be made.
Everyone knows Quebec is living beyond its means. The Liberals are promising to get the financial house in order.
There are many sacred cows and entitlements that Quebecers are not willing to part with. It will take nerve and resolve to help Quebecers take this medicine. Premier Philippe Couillard has done a good job in fashioning a cabinet that distances itself quite well from the Charest era. There are fresh new faces, men and women with clean slates. But make no mistake, challenges will be many,
Now, watching the PQ members being sworn in this week, you have to figure they are still in denial, or haven't learned a thing.
The first order of business for them was to remove the Canadian flag from the Salon Rouge of the National Assembly, and many just mumbled their oath of allegiance, A sad sight.
Quebecers told them this was not they wanted, but they still aren't listening. And, if they are thinking Pierre Karl Peladeau will bring them back to the Promised Land, they should think twice.
My gut tells me, the guy who always got his way in business and in life will have a hard time in opposition playing with the other kids, just a hunch.
A year ago, our city hall was a catastrophe and people had lost faith in local government. Today with Denis Coderre, there is a steady hand at the rudder.
A year ago, we were living under the coercive and hostile rule of the Parti Quebecois. Now, we have stability and competence in a government which is inclusive and knows that Canada is more than the sum of its parts.
A year ago, the Habs got bounced in the first round. Today, after a four game sweep, they are flying high and waiting for their next victims.
Yes, what a difference a year can make.
Once again, I am starting to believe that perhaps our best days in Montreal are not behind us, but before us.