Friday, August 31, 2012

Will the Parti Quebecois form the government after Quebec's vote on Sept. 4?

“We won’t be satisfied with just getting more powers. What we want is Quebec sovereignty. And until we achieve it following a referendum, what we want is to get more power on what makes us different as a people.” (Pauline Marois, running as leader for the Parti Quebecois, in the Quebec election on Tuesday, September 4, 2012, quoted in Globe and Mail, August 30, 2012, excerpt below)
It was Edmund Burke who reminded us that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely"
and Marois' party's pursuit of absolute power, as would accompany an independent nation state, could and would be possible only if the rest of Canada were sleeping through this Quebec election and the ensuing fight between Quebec city and Ottawa, the respective capitals of the province and the country.
There is every reason for the PQ to think that, once again, power in the form of at least a minority government is within its grasp. However, these are not the times that accompanied the ascension to the premier's chair by Rene Levesque decades ago.
These are times when the federal government neither understands nor really cares about the legitimate aspirations of the people of Quebec, fixated as it is on its corporate agenda. At the same time, the options on the ballot for the Quebec voters are not so appealing. The Liberal party brand is so despised in Quebec, both provincially and federally, that Premier Charest is reported to be on his way to another party decimation on Tuesday. The third party is led by a former member of the PQ who has split with Marois and the PQ, and is attempting to grab the disaffected Liberals who refuse to join the PQ agenda.
However, as one Quebec city entrepreneur told us in July, 'independence for Quebec is definitely going to happen within the next ten years, and what the rest of Canada thinks or wants no longer matters.'
Were all those stories in all those history books about how singularly honourable and erudite gentlement from both francophone and anglophone communities and cultures who forged this country's laws, constitution and provincial responsibilities really only using what amounts to political "duck tape" to hold their model of responsible government together, as a charade and not as a legitimate and sustainable political entity?
Were all those generations of Canadian students who read all those history books reading a mere sham, based on the fragility and the disaffection that apparently is endemic among the people of Quebec?
Are the people and the federal government of Canada once again about to be thrust into another round of political theatre, the outcome of which can relatively easily be predicted, if such predictions are based on the degree of apathy and carelessness about what Quebec wants or does in the rest of Canada?
Is Canada about to sacrifice what is generally considered to be one of the strongest political and economic equations to emerge from the recent 2008 collapse of much of the world's economy, to a political, cultural and linguistic struggle for the independence of one of her provinces?
And if so, as we asked, somewhat more rhetorically on June 30, "Who will speak for Canada in such a conundrum?"

PQ Leader Marois lays out plans for 'sovereigntist government'
By Rheal Seguin and Les Perreaux, Globe and Mail, August 30, 2012 Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois is opening a new front in her bid to become Quebec premier, saying if Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn’t meet her demands for more provincial powers it proves that Ottawa’s recognition of the “Québécois as a nation” is meaningless.

In an exclusive interview with The Globe and Mail, Ms. Marois said that if she is victorious in next Tuesday’s election, she will form a “sovereigntist government” – and will waste no time in confronting the Conservative government in Ottawa.
Liberal Leader Jean Charest, who is running third in most polls, launched a new strategy of his own, recasting the Liberals as the only force that can block the separatist Parti Québécois from taking office.

If elected premier, Ms. Marois said she will immediately request a one-on-one meeting with Mr. Harper to outline her demands and to make it clear that her ultimate objective is to achieve sovereignty.
In the meantime, she said, Ottawa will have to treat Quebec like a nation – not a province – and give it full authority over jurisdictions such as language, culture and the employment insurance program.
“I will go as fast as possible in asking for these powers,” Ms. Marois said. “I expect him to listen and consider what I will be proposing and I expect Mr. Harper to think about it in order to begin real discussions, real negotiations with us.”
Should Ottawa refuse, it will demonstrate that Quebec can never fulfill its aspirations within Canada.
“We are not yet sovereign, so he has the responsibility of being the Prime Minister of Quebeckers. He voted a motion recognizing Quebec as a nation. It must be backed by concrete measures,” Ms. Marois said.
“We won’t be satisfied with just getting more powers. What we want is Quebec sovereignty. And until we achieve it following a referendum, what we want is to get more power on what makes us different as a people.”

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