When you find yourself in a situation as dangerous as in the Quebec Party, you have to hold on to something. Thus, Paul Saint-Pierre Plamondon hailed the election of Pierre Poiliev as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada as good news for the sovereignist cause.
“I think it will exacerbate some thoughts about our future,” the PQ leader explained. In his eyes, Mr. Poilivere’s libertarian vision and his unconditional support for the oil industry are simply incompatible with Quebec’s values and interests.
It is true that during the race, the positions of the new conservative leader startled many, whether it be his enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies, his attacks on the governor of the Bank of Canada, or, more generally, his anti-statism at opposite poles. from the ideals of the Quiet Revolution. In a word, he has all the qualities of an ideal scarecrow.
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It feels like you’re watching an old movie.
When Stephen Harper became prime minister in 2006, it was also said that his arrival would be a real tonic for the independence project, already fueled by the sponsorship scandal. His so-called “open federalism” could not be deceived for long. This dinosaur finally made the people of Quebec understand that they must leave this country as soon as possible.
None of this happened. The sovereignist movement not only did not progress, but even regressed. Between Mr. Harper’s arrival and his departure in 2015, yes votes rose from 50% to 40% in the polls. The ephemeral government of Pauline Marois appeared as a mere brace out of the disgust caused by the disgusting methods of financing the PLQ.
In 2014, when Mr. Harper dared to take responsibility for this failure, sovereignty advocates screamed in arrogance. Bloc Québec leader Mario Beaulieu called the claims ridiculous. “I have news for him; there will be a revival of the sovereignist movement, and it will have to swallow its words,” predicted Pascal Berube. We are still waiting for this revival.
It is not possible to establish a correlation between dissatisfaction with sovereignty, due to many other factors, and the policies of the Harper government. Moreover, the decline continued after his departure. The fact remains that the declared value shock did not occur. Although the hopes of the Conservative Party in Quebec did not materialize, the public was not as horrified as feared (or hoped). Here, as elsewhere, the Social Democracy has known better days.
However, it cannot be said that Quebec’s status in the federation has greatly improved during the years of the Harpers. The proposal passed in the House of Commons to recognize the existence of the nation of Quebec “within a united Canada” was only symbolic; new powers were not transferred; and the representation of Quebec to UNESCO is limited to one seat in the Canadian delegation.
Some of the initiatives of the Harper government have caused real irritation, such as the destruction of the gun registry or tougher penalties for juvenile delinquents. His quarrels with Jean Charest over climate change were also frequent, but he generally refrained from encroaching on Quebec jurisdiction.
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Every day, many Quebecers get the impression that they live in a country other than Canada. Mr. Harper was well aware that they were willing to maintain a federal bond as long as they felt they were treated with some respect and that the rest of the country did not interfere too much in their affairs.
To hear his victory speech last Saturday, this is also the attitude that Pierre Poilivre intends to adopt. We must recognize its tremendous effectiveness. His signs of affection for the French language and respect for the “nation of Quebec” seemed very sincere. The discovery of a “little girl from Pointe aux Trembles” in his Venezuelan-born wife could only be a pleasant surprise.
Obviously, François Lego did not know how he should greet the new leader of the Conservatives. The character seemed too anxious during the race for the head of CAQ to openly rejoice at his arrival, and he was careful not to join his anti-revival crusade, but he must wish Eric Duhem was right when he says he believes Mr. well, Pualivrou. open to the transfer of new immigration powers.
Politics is often unpredictable. When Mr. Legault was in opposition, many saw him as a grave-digger of the “Quebec model” whom he might well have defended if Mr. Poilivre had ever become Prime Minister of Canada. After all, who benefits from the scarecrow?