As a lifelong prairie person, I’m always nervous when it comes to commenting on politics in Quebec. But the election campaign that’s underway in La Belle Province is simply irresistible.
By far the biggest surprise was the entry of Pierre Karl Péladeau as a star candidate for the PQ. Whatever Premier Pauline Marois was thinking, it appears she’s now up to her neck in what could be a rather dangerous game.
Péladeau is the mogul of media in Quebec, and to a lesser extent in the rest of Canada with the Sun newspapers. The Quebecor empire has prospered by attacking government regulation of private business, and by bashing unions who represent many of the workers who have long supported the PQ.
Why then would the emporer suddenly proclaim that Quebec’s future would best be served by becoming a separate nation? Ever since the days of René Lévesque, the PQ has done best when it has kept the sovereignty issue out of the headlines as much as possible.
Under the leadership of smart moderates like Pierre Marc Johnson, Jacques Parizeau, and Lucien Bouchard, the party has been elected several times by promising strong effective government first and foremost.
Much of their support has been on the left, in response to policies one would expect from the NDP in other provinces. PKP as he is known, has made sovereignty Job 1 if Premier Marois is elected with a majority on April 7th.
I wonder just how long and detailed the conversation might have been between the Premier and her star candidate before he jumped up on the bandwagon. The danger now could be that a significant portion of the soft support for the PQ might go elsewhere, or possibly stay home on April 7th.
Stay tuned. It’s a fascinating drama, as always.
I’m Roger Currie