Rhetoric around PK ("privileged, "billionaire", "overwhelmingly pro-business") aside, it's hard to imagine a world in which he could have ever served as a beacon of Separatism. Perhaps M. Péladeau has come to this realization himself, though one can only wish a man well for a valiant (if misguided) effort in the face of an insurmountable challenge.
Over the past few decades, analysts have insisted that European style anti-immigrant politics were not easily exportable to either the United States or Canada as such ideas were unattractive to most North American voters. Anti-immigrant politicians usually appeal to a nation's ethnic majority population by insist that the dominant culture is being undermined by migrants. It's not simple to make this case in culturally pluralist democracies like the United States and Canada that lack an easily definable ethnic majority.
Jacques Parizeau was a passionate and principled man who believed in Quebec's independence, but he was at times a divisive politician. Judging by the many hateful comments I saw last night, his "money and the ethnic vote" speech after the razor-thin Quebec independence referendum loss in 1995 will continue to haunt his legacy. The over-the-top indignation I'm seeing from some is getting on my nerves. Is that one sentence from 20 years ago the only thing some of you can remember from his entire political legacy? Parizeau was so much more than just a rant, more than just one ugly moment in time.
Jacques Parizeau was Quebec Premier for merely 16 months, but he was a great servant of the state and, above all, one of the foremost builders of modern Quebec. He was one of the founding members of Parti québécois in 1968-1969, alongside Mr. Lévesque who had just stormed out of the Quebec Liberal Party. "Monsieur," as everyone called him, was a statesman; he truly had the interest of the public at heart in the noblest sense of the expression. The interest of the state came before his own. That is something that is becoming extremely rare in politics nowadays.