Saturday, August 18, 2012

Here Comes The PQ!

The slow painful death of Jean Charest's political career in Quebec appears to have finally reached its end, while the separatist Parti Quebecois is poised to recapture the reigns of power lost in 2003. This is by no means a sign that another referendum will be coming anytime soon, but rather an indicator of the weakness of alternative choices. Charest did prove to be a survivor winning 3 elections, a difficult feat for any Premier in any province. But that elusive 4th victory is proving to be out reach. The surprise is not that the PQ is ahead, but that Pauline Marios, not Gilles Duceppe, is leading the way. I really thought Gilles would be the one leading the mothership back to glory, but evidently his larger than life federal persona did not translate into popularity in sovereignty's circles.

Is this the end of Charest's political career? Well there is a power vacuum at the top of the federal Liberal Party. If he has interest in taking a shot at the Prime Minister's job in 2015, his best chance at leadership of a major party would be Liberal. Granted, I still don't believe Bob Rae is giving up his best chance to lead a major federal party into an election, despite what he has announced. I'll believe it when we get to the next election and Rae is not running for the top job. That being said, in the event that Rae does not run, there's a strong chance that the Liberals will choose a leader from Quebec to try and take power and seats away from the NDP (good luck with that).


  1. Actually François Legault of the Coalition Pour L'Avenir du Québec is getting more and more interest from the voters. If he does well in the debate tomorrow evening, perhaps he can do a Jack Layton and bring real change to the province. Not that he is completely trustworthy...

  2. A few points on the Quebec scene ...
    • Charest's Liberals are indeed in danger of losing power because of
    - the corruption issue
    - the student tuition issue, in a temporary cool-off period intended to take away a winning card from Charest
    - the anglo community's disaffection, with its feeling it has been taken for granted for far too long by the Liberals. Robert Libman, founder of the now-defunct Equality Party has even advised anglophones to vote for the CAQ in formerly safe Liberal ridings, i.e. in those where a split vote would not favour a PQ candidate, if only to send a clear message to the Liberals.

    • The CAQ will probably be unable to duplicate a Layton effect, simply because its leader lacks the charisma of Jack Layton AND its policies tend to lean right of center, unlike the NDP's.

    • The federal Liberal Party may either go for another coronation, if Trudeau the younger decides to run, judging by the front page coverage in today's Montreal anglo paper [online version, H/T NNW]. Or it may see Marc Garneau and Denis Coderre duke it out for the leadership. The latter, in an interview this week, said he would announce in November what his plans are: run for the leadership? run as mayor of Montreal? stay on as Liberal MP?

    I doubt Bob Rae is still thinking of running for the leadership. He'll stay on as an éminence grise guiding Trudeau, so he may still end up with his hands on the reins to a certain extent.

    • If Pauline Marois does badly, i.e. the PQ gets a weak minority, Gilles Duceppe may eventually resurface to vie for the PQ leadership, just like some former Bloc MPs who've already transitioned to the provincial scene. For instance, former Bloc MP Serge Cardin is challenging Jean Charest in his Sherbrooke riding.

    -- Gabby in QC