Bouchard's recent criticism of PQ

In a recent article titled "Bouchard's harsh criticism of PQ is music to Charest's ears" published by The Globe and Mail, Rhéal Séguin writes: "Stung by harsh criticism from former leader Lucien Bouchard, the Parti Québécois became an easy target for Liberal Premier Jean Charest, who capitalized on his political rival's assessment that sovereigntists are fighting a lost cause."

"Ms. Marois' priority is sovereignty, nothing else," Mr. Charest said of PQ Leader Pauline Marois. "The economy isn't her priority. It isn't jobs. It's sovereignty."

In the words of La Presse's Yves Boisvert [Google translation]: "The rebuke to the sovereigntists really conceals another that Mr. Bouchard hasn't spelled out. Although the Liberal government doesn't carry the independence obsession, it is incapable of addressing Québec's problems with courage."


Shiva-ji said...
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Michel Bolduc said...

I'm in my late 40s. I've seen the sovereignty movement gone up and down. I remember a column titled "Adieu separatism" by Rick Salutin (I think) in Macleans when Charest got elected in 2003. Yet, support for sovereignty today is at 40%, a level comparable to that observed at the beginning of the 1995 referendum campaign.

I can understand English Canadians being pleased with Bouchard's criticism. But honestly, it looks like a small blip on the sovereignty seismograph. These events have become so common, that their authors are immediately categorized as a belle-mère (mother-in-law). Same old same old... English Canadians think this time is different?... perhaps...

I agree with you that the current Canada-Québec relationship is highly unproductive. But I doubt that the Québécois will reengage in the federal political process without something significant coming from Canada (I know... most Canadians are under the impression that they've done more than enough); the Bloc is doing too good a job (see The Bloc Québécois is useless). It's the Chicken and the egg debate... which came first? This year marks the 20th anniversary of Meech's demise and sovereigntists won't let it go unnoticed.

For reactions to Bouchard's criticism in French media, check Joseph Facal's blog (recommended reading). He signed the Pour un Québec lucide Manifesto with Bouchard and La Presse's André Pratte. He's a very articulate former PQ Minister of Immigration. You can also read Richard Martineau's blog, who's more of a loudmouth, but has interesting views when it comes to religions.

Michel Bolduc said...

P.S.: Seems like the Liberals are preparing for a tough budget, this coming Spring. Perhaps they have the courage to do it after all...

adski said...

Michel: "Yet, support for sovereignty today is at 40%"

It's 34% according to the poll done a few days ago in response to Bouchard's attack on the PQ.

As much as separatists try to downplay Bouchard's “coming out”, it does hurt them. Here's a charismatic and respected guy who single-handedly brought the Yes side to a whisker from victory in 1995 (before Bouchard got involved in the Yes campaign, the Yes side led by Parizeau was polling rather poorly), and now he’s coming out and saying the following:

1. The focus ought to shift from sovereignty to other issues: economy/education/health care
2. The PQ has been taken over by radicals

Not much of an endorsement for the movement he was once part of.

James: "and the majority of Quebecers accepted that Quebec would remain a part of Canada "

Contrary to what is often said by Quebec’s separatist politicians (they talk as if all Quebeckers want separation), only one third of Quebeckers support the separation at the moment. Of those 34%, many people are older and still remember the injustices that the French had to endure at the hands of the English "business elite". So I understand their position to a certain extent. But the movement also includes some younger people, some politically overzealous punks in their early 20s, who had the fortune of growing up in the new Quebec that is part of one of the best countries in the world (4th according to the last UN ranking), and yet they still remain passionate about Quebec's separation. That, I don’t get. For me, it’s a proof that you can brainwash a child - be it at home or at school - to think the way you want them to think.

Michel Bolduc said...

Well... this poll states that support is at 42%, that percentage increases to 50% among Francophones. Hardly the silver lining most would like to see. Anyway... the overall trend hasn't significantly gone one way or the other despite Charest's doing since 2003 and despite the change in the demographic mix, as Facal points out.

Of course, Bouchard's criticism isn't helping the sovereignty movement. But my point is basically that it's not going to have as marked an impact as most federalists hope it should. That the focus should shift to economy, education and health care is a given, but, as Boisvert points out, the Liberals haven't done much despite the fact that they aren't carrying the independence obsession. Perhaps addressing these issues and sovereignty are two unrelated things.

Mr. Bouchard believes the PQ has been taken over by radicals? Well... many people also believe Parizeau is racist. What can I say? He's entitled to his opinion.

Finally... of course, children can be brainwashed easily. There's no doubt in my mind and there's no need to be insulting. You'll find closed-minded radicals in both camps. I personally don't understand this Unconditional love.

Michel Bolduc said...


There was a very interesting interview on Christiane Charette this week. Jean-François Lisée and Gilbert Lavoie (two insiders of the sovereignty movement) and William Johnson (former head of Alliance Québec) discuss Lucien Bouchard's background and relationship with the Québécois. Click here to listen to it.