With Pauline Marois now officially inaugurated as the sixth separatist premier of everyone's favorite French-speaking province, you might reckon that our nation's gigantic, months-long Quebec politics bender would finally be coming to an end. Also, you might be an idiot. Speaking of not-so-smart ideas, Harper's plans to reform parliamentary pensions aren't going over so well in the media...
Any Prime Minister in his sixth year in office and nine years as party leader has to start looking at his legacy. What will he be leaving Canada with when down the road he decides to leave? Up until this point it was his performance on the economic front that was the strongest item, now how he performs and whether or not he can keep Canada together will also be part of his legacy.
If ever it really did look like Québec was coming close to separation, I'd move back in a flash. There'd be no way I'd let the province secede and me be without my home and the Péquistes without the thorn of me in their side. I'd also be there because I like what Québeckers are demanding. But separation isn't going to happen. Québeckers want a better society, a better representation of their views. We could do worse than look for an example to a territory that, using whatever tools circumstances have placed in its reach, demands the change that elections can bring.
The advent of a PQ government in Quebec is both a challenge and an opportunity for Canada. This is a time for renewed national leadership that reaches out to Canadians to offers an overarching vision for Canada in the 21st century -- one where a strong federal government works with the provinces. I look forward to working with Quebecers and all Canadians to build a 21st century Canada -- one Canada, for all Canadians.
With Jean Charest's resignation as leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, any arrangement between the Liberals and François Legault's CAQ to form a government now appears highly unlikely. That means that the PQ is set to govern Quebec at least for the next several months. Paradoxically, the PQ's minority win gives Stephen Harper a small window to advance a new vision for Canadian federalism and therefore unite a polarized Confederation along the lines of a common direction.
As a man lay dead and Canadians sat glued to their social media feeds patiently awaiting updates on the appalling violence that struck Tuesday night's Parti Quebecois victory rally, the trickle of breaking news from the nation's top commentators was frequently interrupted by cryptically off-topic offerings from otherwise credible sources. If nothing else, it was a reminder of the perils of setting up one of those time-delayed auto-tweeters.
The Parti Quebecois' slim victory has a bitter taste this morning, made even worse because of the sad and deplorable events in Montreal. This victory does not give the PQ the margin it needs to carry out its platform. Yesterday's disappointing results reflect well the mood of a very unenthusiastic population and separatist electorate that are still struggling to see themselves as part of the party that will form the next government, despite nine years of Liberal rule.
This is no longer the Quebec of the Quiet Revolution. This province is willing to be loud about what it does and does not want. The problem is; it still needs to figure out what it is and what it isn't. And then shots were fired. And we all collectively gasped and came to our senses. Today, we hopefully all take a step back. There's an existential crisis brewing. A province realizing it's not necessarily the open, welcoming, progressive place it thought it was; a people grappling with questions of identity, inclusiveness. This is a society in real flux. A society that is, in some ways, holding on to the last vestiges of a past that defined what it became, but can no longer allow it to become what it must. Quebec is experiencing major growing pains.
The loss for the Quebec Liberals and its leader, Jean Charest, was a political low moment last night. Indeed it is my hope that Jean Charest will still be involved in public life. His undying affection for federalism, conviction for equality and eloquence is still a service needed by Quebec and Canada.