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JuicyLesson 187: Fear & Loathing & Some Serious Soul-Searching by the PQ … “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” …

The defeated PQ has undergone some serious soul-searching since the election of a week ago – seems a lot longer ago than that, doesn’t it – and will be continuing with this same process until such time as a new permanent leader has been chosen and the Parti Quebecois gets down to the serious responsibility of fulfilling its role as the Official Opposition in the National Assembly to the newly elected Liberal government under Premier-designate M. Philippe Couillard.

Even at that point in time – and when that will be remains very much an open question – the sovereignist Parti-Quebecois which has always espoused an independent Quebec nation as being dear to its collective heart must continue the process of asking itself some tough questions re. the true reasons for its stunning defeat at the polls which saw it’s 58 seat minority government reduced to a mere thirty seats compared to the Liberals’ present seventy-seat majority government.

Much has been made of the three stooges – Drainville, Lisee, and Paladeau – falling all over each other at the party wake on election night, so obviously and shamelessly jockeying for the inside track to the party’s leadership from which Marois had just at that moment resigned.

Anglophone and other anti-PQ minions have also made a point of dwelling on Marois’ demeanour as well as on her “dress” on election night during her supposed concession speech which some found to be neither a concession nor in any way gracious. As far as her dress on that night is concerned, it was funereal black, with a simple strand (or two) of pearls – I can’t say, didn’t notice and can’t be bothered to go back and look for some kind of picture of Marois to find out – and she spoke nary a word of English.

Nothing much more to be said there except to state that the classlessness demonstrated by those three shameless, self-promotion artists – and I hesitate to use the term “artists” to describe those three – shocked – but looking back – shouldn’t have surprised me. I was hoping to see something positive, some kind of olive branch, a sort of rapprochement with the non-Francophone communities of Quebec, but no siree. Not from that bunch.

A lot has also been said and written regarding that PQ’s need to re-examine its basic raison d’être: the sovereigntist/independantiste option. Quebecois in the order of seven on ten reject the notion, not necessarily the idea underlying the notion which is, quite simply, a different and renewed and perhaps even a stronger role for Quebec within Confederation; but the idea of outright separation from the ROC has been itself utterly and completely put under foot, as M. Parizeau soi-meme may have said.

So what is left for the PQ to do? What political philosophy can it embrace? The injection of PKP as a candidate put to rest any idea that the party maintained a progressive orientation or that it was still, in any way, a party of and for the workers of Quebec.

So now it appears that the Parti-Québécois must re-invent itself in the face of the massive rejection it received in the election of last week. People just don’t care about non-issues and unfortunately for the PQ these non-issues comprise certain platforms and policies which have provided nothing less to this point at any rate than the backbone of this political party: sovereignty, independence, separatism, a referendum, winning conditions, the charter of values, the neutrality of the state … all that stuff.

It’s not that the state’s neutrality as far as religion and gender orientations are concerned is not important. It is! It’s the fact that the state’s neutrality is a non-issue not in the sense that it is not important or that it is irrelevant to the socio-political reality of Quebec (and for that matter, Canada too) it’s just that it has never come up, same as the fact that some day care workers wear hijabs had never been an issue until it came up as a result of the PQ’s proposed vales charter, Bill 60.

So rather than sit and manufacture issues, the PQ has the unenviable task of making significant changes in both it’s underlying philosophical orientation as well as in it’s list of priorities. Good luck with that.


1 Comment

  • Jerry Cohen says:

    This comment is from a friend and ex-student: Great post! You should write for the newspapers – English and French. And, maybe you should submit this post to the Huffington Post and The Economist.

    You are right, the PQ need to find their ‘raison d’être’. It will be interesting to observe how they reinvent themselves and the twisted spins they will create in order to rally the troops.

    A good friend from New York who has an MBA and works at Deloitte in MTL has met PQ members regarding a large project (St. Justin’s hospital expansion) on which he had worked. He said that throughout his career he has met with many politicians. From his experience, the senior PQ politicians stand out due to their lack of experience and abilities and vision. They were not the same calibre as the senior members of Deloitte and that it was frustrating to work with them.

    I noticed that Marois wore a black dress and pearls on election night – a perfect funeral/wake outfit for someone mourning a close family member.

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