Gilles Duceppe is calling a press conference in Ottawa for Monday. This press conference is expected to outline his political moves for the future. With the resignation of Parti Quebecois leader Bernard Landry, Duceppe has the possibilty of leaving the leadership of the Bloc Quebecois in Ottawa.
However there is a slight problem, there is the constant threat of a federal election because of the Liberal minority government is trying desperately to hold onto power. A simple vote of non-confidence would most likely send Canadians to the polls for a federal election. Thus, the Bloc Quebecois, with any hope of staying popular in Quebec would need a seasoned leader to lead the election charge. Also, without Duceppe, the party would have to hold a leadership convention before heading to the polls, if that situation were to occur. So if Duceppe were to leave Ottawa, the Bloc Quebecois would have their fingers crossed that the Liberal government could hold on.
So the question is will he or won’t he leave for Quebec City on Monday.
The CBC’s Chief Political Correspondent, Keith Boag, believes that Duceppe will remain in Ottawa. Boag believes that if Duceppe was going to put in a bid at the leadership of the Parti Quebecois, Duceppe would have scheduled the press conference for Quebec City and not Ottawa.
The Toronto Star‘s Quebec Bureau Chief, Miro Cernetig, lays out the promise of Duceppe leading the Parti Quebecois in the future. There are two areas that need highlighting from this article. The first is the possibilty of winning the next Quebec provincial election over Jean Charest. Jean Charest’s Liberal government’s popularity is at an all time low in Quebec political history. Charest will need to raise the popularity of his party in order to win the next general election. Lets say Duceppe and the Parti Quebecois will take the next Quebec provincial election and become Premier.
Now for the second area that needs highlighting. According to the Toronto Star article, the Quebec seperatists must hold a provincial seperation referendum within the first five years of power if the new PQ government follows party policy. So with that in mind there will be a referendum soon after the election of a PQ government. This is especially important if Quebecers continue to be angered over the federal sponsorship scandal and take it out on the federal Liberals via a Quebec Referendum. Right now there is winning conditions for a Quebec Referendum because of the sponsorship scandal. Add to the winning conditions a popular leader, Gilles Duceppe, at the helm of the “Yes” side, things only continue to look worse for Canadian federalists (i.e. those who support the “No” side).
These two main highlights are what Duceppe has apparently thought about and come to a resolution over. Duceppe will let us know on Monday what his decision will be.
Footnote: Anybody else find it interesting that Bernard Landry says he resigned because he didn’t have enough support with 76.2 percent of the vote; yet Landry has insisted, in the past, that all that is required to break up a country is fifty percent plus one vote? Talk about double standards.