The former Bloc Québécois leader has been recruited by Premier Pauline Marois to lead the PQ government’s campaign against Ottawa’s changes to employment insurance as well as skills and employment training.
“If there’s one person who knows the federal system … and has defended Quebec’s interests, it’s Gilles Duceppe,” Marois said.
But opposition parties say his appointment is a bad move in fighting the federal government on those points.
“We don’t need this, to have Gilles Duceppe make trouble,” said Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault.
“What we need is to have somebody who will make alliances with other provinces, who will negotiate with the federal government.”
Quebec's official opposition leader Jean-Marc Fournier echoed that, saying that hiring Duceppe is shortsighted.
“We asked Mme. Marois to make contact and have meetings with the premier of British Columbia, the premier of Ontario. They have the same position as us,” he said.
“It's with them that we should be building a coalition — a Canadian coalition — before the federal government."
Instead, said Fournier, what Quebecers are getting is someone who is "the champion of breaking links in Canada,” not building them.
"That's hypocritical of the government to just work toward a failed outcome, and then afterward say, 'well, we failed, it was the fault of the others,'" he said.