From today’s Globe and Mail:
- Quebec — André Boisclair won a decisive victory on the first ballot last night, becoming the new Parti Québécois Leader — immediately expressing his intention to rally supporters toward an election victory and eventual Quebec sovereignty. …
“Let us all work together to achieve the country of Quebec,” he said. “Pauline, we need you. You will have a great place in our party. I make a solemn promise to you tonight.”
When the party assesses the 70-per-cent disapproval rating for Premier Jean Charest’s government, it believes it can easily win the next election. The prospect of an election victory for the new leader constitutes the strongest bond of unity.
“We have an election to win, a referendum to hold and a country to build,” said party president Monique Richard to an enthusiastic crowd.
The good news, from a federalist perspective, is that M. Boisclair has one or two achilles heels.
First, there is his past cocaine use. M. Boisclair has refused to disclose any details, but it is known that he took the drug while he was a provincial Cabinet minister.
- The Liberals are eagerly awaiting the chance to revive the cocaine scandal that created an acrimonious campaign that erupted into a full-scale war within the party.
Privately the Liberals contend that there are more skeletons in Mr. Boisclair’s closet and will wait for just the right moment to bring them out in full public view.
Second, the sovereigntist vote may be split in the next election. A new sovereigntist party is in the works, and M. Boisclair has alienated left-wing péquistes:
- It was unclear how the left-wing faction in the party — made up of labour leaders and social activists — will react to Mr. Boisclair’s victory. Their candidate, Pierre Dubuc received only 1.2 per cent of the total vote. They were highly critical of Mr. Boisclair’s conservative right-wing policies and some could be tempted to join a new left-wing pro-sovereignty party that will be created in January following the official merger of two left-wing organizations, Union des forces progressistes and Option citoyenne.
Canadian politics would be so boring without Quebec nationalism. But I would gladly trade excitement of this sort for enduring national stability.