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Today, 2007-March-30, I, Stefan Jetchick, leave the QCD Party
Note: See also correspondance with members of the QCD Party
(sorry, all French for now):
Mr. Gilles NoŽl, Party Leader
Mr. Marc Veilleux, Party Secretary
Mr. Aubert CŰtť, Candidate in Kamouraska-Tťmiscouata
The "Quebec Christian Democracy Party" (or QCD Party) is a provincial political party, in Canada. This party has many advantages, but in my opinion, it also unfortunately has several serious shortcomings.
Are these shortcomings serious enough for us to try to eliminate the QCD Party? For about a year, I tried to answer "No". For example, the title of this article was: "Shouldn't We Improve The QCD Party?". I said in the old version of this text that: "If your horse is seriously ill, you have to choose between trying to cure it, or getting rid of it and finding a new one. In my opinion, the QCD Party's "horse" deserves another chance." Also, I helped Mr. Francis Denis, QCD candidate at the last elections of March 26, 2007.
But today (2007-mars-30), I'm officially changing my mind. In my opinion, the shortcomings of the QCD Party are too serious. This party cannot be salvaged. The Province of Quebec needs a new Catholic Political Party.
In the rest of this article, I explain why, in my opinion, the QCD Party cannot be salvaged. (For those who have already seen the old version of this article, the last straw that broke my back is in Appendix A5.)
Many persons have told me that without Mr. Gilles NoŽl, the QCD Party would never have existed. I believe them. I have no doubts that Mr. NoŽl has excellent intentions, and that he has many talents to contribute to the QCD Party. On the other hand, good intentions are not enough.
During the meeting for April 8 (See Appendix A4 here below), and following the Provincial elections of March 26, 2007 (see Appendix A5),I became convinced that Mr. Gilles NoŽl has controlled, and still largely controls:
2.1) The finances. The QCD Party is saddled with a deficit accumulated under the leadership of Mr. Gilles NoŽl. Three persons are currently authorized to sign checks in the name of the QCD Party: the Official Representative, the Secretary, and Mr. NoŽl. Neither the Representative nor the Secretary have the mandate or apparently a personality strong enough to stand up to Mr. NoŽl, and only two signatures are necessary. Mr. NoŽl even almost bragged during the meeting that he got himself personally into debt to defend the cause of the QCD Party, on top of getting the Party into debt. At no point of time did I get the impression that Mr. NoŽl considered it a priority to only spend the money we had.
2.2) The ACD Journal ("Action Chrťtienne Dťmocrate"). From what I understood, this journal is independant from the QCD party when it's time for its main author, Mr. NoŽl, to be held accountable, but nevertheless the ACD Journal officially represents the Party as soon as it's time to pay its bills, or to officially announce the polices of the QCD Party.
2.3) The public image of the QCD Party. Whether it's the QCD Party web site (done mostly by Mr. NoŽl), or his public speeches, etc., the image that the public has of the QCD Party seems almost completely produced by Mr. NoŽl. A "Web site committee" was formed, but in the meantime, Mr. NoŽl's web site remains online, and anyway I think only Mr. NoŽl controls the official web site.
In summary, the finances, the policies and the image of the QCD Party are in the hands of Mr. Gilles NoŽl and, in my opinion, those are the three main aspects which are not going well these days.
If I had to summarize in one metaphor the QCD Party's problem, I'd say it's like a farmer who wants to give water to drink to his wife and kids, and who goes to the well with a pail. Except his pail has holes in it.
Even if this farmer runs, sweats, and works his heart out, every time he'll run into the kitchen with his pail, there won't be anything in it. He might even say his Rosary out loud, and pray to all the Angels and Saints, yet his family will still continue to die of thirst.
Good intentions, pictures of the Virgin Mary and hard work by volunteers are not enough. In Politics, you also need competence.
First, I want to repeat my disclaimer: I'm not an expert in Politics, I'm just thinking out loud.
In my opinion, the QCD Party should have started by "removing the beam in its eye", before telling the whole Province what to do with its unborn children, its families, its finances and its political future.
I had recommended, to start removing this "beam", to take the following actions immediately:
4.1) Regain control of the finances, the policies and the image. Take away the check signing authority from Mr. NoŽl, change the upload password on the web site, and publicly dissociate ourselves from the ACD Journal (or regain control of it).
4.2) Stop harming ourselves with our own website. Pull the current web site off the Internet, and replace it with a simple temporary page giving the Party's official address, the logo, and a notice that the real site is coming. Leave the Web site committee one month to prepare a suggestion (on the "sandbox" website, which is not official or known by the public). Get this website approved not only internally (by the QCD Party officials), but also externally, by asking for at least a rough consensus from independant Catholic organizations like the CCRL, the Opus Dei, the Knights of Columbus, pro-life organizations, etc.
4.3) Implement a member and candidate assessment system. Currently, there are some admission requirements to become a member (basically a little vague warning on the application form), but nothing very formal or enforced. (See Appendix 1 to see how I became a member, and Appendix 4 to see how I could have been a candidate). To give you a rough idea, if we set up a few simple and almost "crude" criteria to become a candidate, like: you can't have a criminal record, or be divorced or have illegitimate children, or be incapable of communicating via e-mail, etc., we'd eliminate several candidates (among others the Party Leader himself, if I understand correctly). I recommend we suspend as a group all members and candidates of the QCD Party. Implement a system to filter applications, whether to become a member of the Party or to become a candidate. Make all existing members and candidates run through this system. In my opinion, if all we did was just copy the Christian Heritage Party's system, that would already be a big improvement.
4.4) Warn our sponsors. Send an official letter to all organizations who've already given large amounts of money to the QCD Party, or who could give large amounts, and tell them to suspend all donations for 6 months. Explain to them the situation. Give them objective criteria (like the items of this Operation "Beam-in-our-eye" operation) to judge whether the situation has really improved after 6 months. As opposed to what some people might think, this action alone could generate large donations to the QCD Party. Investors like to see "Spring Cleanings", and efforts to be transparent. Investors know very well that all is not perfect in this world.
4.5) Establish a training system for members and candidates. Once the good intentions of a member or candidate have been verified (see item 4.3 here above), the difference between a good and a bad party will mostly be the continuous education system. To come back to our metaphor at #3 here above, I'd say we have to learn to plug the holes in our pail, and eventually learn how to install pipes and a well pump! Currently, as far as I know, no QCD Party candidate has the necessary training to govern the Province of Quebec. We have snippets of solutions, but no serious and exhaustive party platform.
4.6) Simplify the Party constitution and structure. Mr. NoŽl has produced a byzantine structure for the Party. (I was told it was to protect us against infiltration by Freemasons. Hum! See point #4.3 above!)
4.7) Make our finances transparent. Such a small party with such simple financial inputs and outputs could in three mouse clicks put its Excel spreadsheet on its web site! Anybody should be able to find out anytime who gave what, and how this money was spent.
Quebec needs a good Catholic Political Party. The QCD Party doesn't have, in my opinion, the potential to become such a party. All the QCD Party does is to siphon off what little good will and money remains in the Christian electorate, while giving a bad reputation to the excellent social doctrine of the Church.
Instead of wasting our efforts trying to keep the "Gilles NoŽl Party" on life support, let's start up a new Catholic Political Party!
Since I'm very much interested in politics and Christianity, I was of course quickly drawn to a party that claims to be based on the social doctrine of the Church. Except that, like a laboratory rat who just gets zapped every time it pushes on the red button, every time I tried to get involved with the QCD party, I was "electrocuted"!
6.1) Roughly in 2004, I discovered the QCD Party. I went on their web site, in order to find the party platform. Since it wasn't there, I sent an e-mail. From what I understood of Mr. NoŽl's vague answer, the platform was not yet online. So I cut a check for 15$ to cover postage fees, and asked them to send me a paper copy of the platform. Instead, I got a membership card for the party! I then sent another letter to ask my name to be scratched from the membership list. I never got an answer. Once in a while, I get a letter reminding me to renew my membership!
6.2) Roughly in 2005, I met a person who sold me his book (published at his expense). The topic of the book is hard to describe: it talks about the Virgin Mary, dinosaurs, Soviet nuclear missiles, etc. That book was a shock for me; it was the first time I read such an un-scientific book. Americans, when they describe such an author, say he wears an "aluminum foil deflector beanie"! That being said, I later on found out that this person occupied at that time a very high position inside the QCD Party.
6.3) On April 3, 2006, I went to the Cťgep F.-X. Garneau here in Quebec City to hear a presentation on the QCD Party. We'll skip the technical glitches, but when Mr. NoŽl grabbed the microphone and started (in my opinion) upbraiding the young students, let's say that I tried to melt into the background. I had a very clear subjective impression, the impression of a Fascist Paleo-Catholic party. (Warning! I'm not accusing anybody's intentions; I'm talking about the image that was projected in front of these young students. I think if a journalist had been able to interview those students after the event, they would have confirmed this.) I practically crawled out around 1:00 PM, since I was so ashamed.
6.4) I went to the QCD Party's Candidate's Meeting of April 8, 2006. That meeting let me reconfirm once more item 1 here above, but it also let me see clearly items 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3. At the end of the meeting, a motion was passed to accept me as a candidate. This despite having never been subjected to any kind of exam, assessment, interview, etc. (I asked for 24 hours to think about it, then wrote this text and refused their offer.)
6.5) The Leader's Message after the elections (my English translation):
----- Original Message ----- From: "Dťmocratie Chrťtienne Qc" To: [16 e-mail addresses] Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 12:09 PM Subject: Communiquť of the QCD Party Leader, as well as a message of Mrs. Denise Jettť Cloutier March 27, 2007 Thank you Denise for the nice text here below which I forward to the other representatives and members of the Party. Thank you all for this nice campaign and the efforts you put in. I'm proud of you. The party got 1635 votes, i.e. half the votes obtained during the preceding campaign of 2003. Our DGEQ income, which was 200$ a month, will go down to 100$ a month because of the lower number of votes obtained from voters. In 1998, I had in my bank account 38 000 $. In 2007, I've accumulated a debt of 65 000 $ with an inability to pay that with my teacher's salary and the alimony I still pay for two of my three children. I loaned another 10 000$ to the Party to fund the 2007 election campaign and I'm now faced with bankruptcy. That is a reality we now have to face up to. God willing, I will climb out of bankruptcy, if not, may His Holy Will be done. The web site will continue to operate, but that will be the only thing we'll keep alive in the Party. Starting today: 1- I announce that I stop funding all Party activities. 2- I will repay 3000$ a year for 8 years to pay back the Party debt. 3- I'm not expecting anything any more from the members, because they did their share and they left the boat year after year because they didn't believe in it anymore. The loss of 50 members last year made contributions go down by 10 000$, and that is what caused last year's deficit, since the expenses remained the same. 4- We had 35 candidates to begin with and we finished with 12, who persevered until the end. I don't blame the 23 who left, but that shows how great was their demotivation. 5- I could resign as Leader of the Party, but we would have to start a leadership race, which would cost about 10 000$ if we followed the instructions given in the Constitution of the Party, and I don't feel like organizing that by myself as usual, nor do I have the means to pay for that, since a leadership convention requires 6 months of activities and preparations according to the Constitution. 6- I sincerely believed that Divine Providence would help us in this election by performing a miracle to pull us out of the hole, but such was not the Will of God. When a work is not from God, it fails and that's what is happening to us! Despite everything, I regret nothing because we had to do it even if the end result is total failure. May God Bless You All! Gilles NoŽl Leader of the QCD Party P. S. The Internet site was updated March 26 and contains the latest CBC reports on the Party.
6.6) My reaction to this e-mail:
>> The party got 1635 votes Less than the "Pot Block"! When marijuana smokers get more votes than the Christian Democracy, we have to start asking questions! >> In 2007, I've accumulated a debt of 65 000 $ with an inability to pay >>> that [...] I loaned another 10 000$ to the Party [...] I'm now >> faced with bankruptcy. OK, so you've proved you were unable to manage a budget. Does that make you the Leader Quebec needs? >> The web site will continue to operate, but that will be the >> only thing we'll keep alive in the Party. And of course, only Gilles NoŽl can modify that site! During the election campaign, we made all kinds of efforts to get the list of QCD candidates, and their contact info, to appear on the official web site. For some "noŽllian" reason, this list was never posted. I got phone calls from frustrated persons who had sifted through the web site, trying to find that list. I myself battled (via e-mail) for two days with Mr. NoŽl to try to keep the candidate list I had posted on my candidate's web site (Mr. Francis Denis). Apparently, that threatened the hegemony of the Leader! >> [Members] left the boat year after year because they >> didn't believe in it anymore. Didn't believe in what? They didn't believe in the excellent social doctrine of the Church, or in the "Gilles NoŽl Party"? >> I could resign as Leader of the Party [...] Ah! This is the most important part of this e-mail. The Party is going to Hell, all clues point to the Leader as the main reason for this fiasco, and what is the Leader's reaction? "I could resign, but I've mismanaged our budget so badly that we don't have the means of respecting the Leadership replacement process which I myself wrote in the Constitution." Had I mentioned we needed to regain control of the finances and simplify the structure of the Party? Hum... >> I sincerely believed that Divine Providence would help us in >> this election by performing a miracle One of the popular negative stereotypes against Christian politicians is that they try to compensate for their politicial incompetence by superstitious beliefs and "miracles". Nothing here to change those stereotypes... >> When a work is not from God, it fails Why the word "work"? Why not the word "Leader"? There is nothing wrong with the idea of having a good Catholic Political Party in Quebec.
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