Where the rubber hits the road on 7 April.
Premier Pauline Marois fades star candidate Pierre Karl Péladeau into the background. She knows that she cannot sell separatism that blatantly on the campaign trail.
by Tom Thorne
Quebec Premier Pauline Marois in her bid for a majority government has inadvertently opened the separatism can of worms by mismanaging her star candidate Pierre Karl Péladeau. That can of worms can sink her hopes of getting a majority in the National Assembly.
A few days after the Pierre Karl Péladeau announcement as a Parti Quebecois candidate, Madame Marois’ pushy body language was in evidence to keep Péladeau away from microphones. She literally pulled him out of the way at one campaign stop for fear that he would declare for “mon pays” again.
How to go from star candidate with a separatist stance to a guy with too big a mouth even for Pauline Marois. He has a lot to learn about politics especially in Quebec where separatism is coded and guarded like a sacred cause by its dropping numbers of adherents.
Later on CBC’s coverage of the Quebec leadership debate Madame Marois sidestepped a referendum for separatism question by saying “only when it is right”. And what does that mean? Separatism is always cryptic and nuanced mainly because it is the idea that rarely can speak its name without losing votes.
Well I think we know that if Madame Marois gets a majority government she will find a way to “make it right”. She is bent on separatism and to be the politician to take Quebec out of Canada is guaranteed to be too much of a temptation to be resisted if she does get a majority on 7 April.
In other pieces still available on this blog I have shown that Quebec separatism is a flawed concept in the Canadian context. In a federal state with provincial governments they are set up to enable parts of the country to celebrate their differences from other Canadians while at the same time always celebrating Canada as a whole. For example, who could deny that Newfoundland is a “distinct society”? They are as distinct as Quebec by any standard.
While there are differences across the country there is also much that welds the federation together. Quebeckers inherently know that and the small group of zealots who make up the separatist hard core denies this aspect of Canada as the only way to make their argument. That is the basic political flaw in separatism and its rhetoric.
To hear a separatist talk one would think that pride in being a Quebecker is denied by the rest of Canada. This is pure nonsense. The notion of “mon pays” is often connected negatively with an old Quebec where admittedly French Canadians had equity difficulties with English community in the Province. That time is gone. The wound is healed. Separatism thinking today is a Band-aid on a healed wound.
The Quiet Revolution took hold. The Catholic Church’s grip on Quebec wained to the point now that Madame Marois is determined to put the last secular nail in its coffin along with all other faiths. The Parti Quebecois secular charter sits in the legislative slip only awaiting a majority to make it law.
This secular charter can also be connected to forging “mon pays”. It goes against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and national multicultural policies. It focuses Quebec as different and distinct and forms part of the separatist ethos along the lines of an iceberg where most of its reasons for its existence lie below the separatist waterline.
The Parti Quebecois claims that it has a lot of support for its secular charter ideas. the voters will speak on this soon enough. This charter if passed, is anti-Canadian and bordering on the xenophobic. Quebeckers are much bigger than this sort of small thinking and on April 7 their election will reflect a more inclusive Quebec.
Marois Government has only been in power for 18 months or so. In that time they have managed to submerge major economic, energy, education, environmental, health, and aging population issues by emphasizing secular state legislation. Their re-election certainly as a majority is in doubt now because they slipped on the separatist issue and they have little to offer as provincial revenues continue to drop.
© Copyright Tom Thorne 2014, All Rights Reserved