12 months of power, frustration for Parti Quebecois
Published Wednesday, September 4, 2013 12:17PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 5, 2013 8:07AM EDT
One year ago Wednesday, the Parti Quebecois was elected to lead a minority government in Quebec, changing the political landscape of the province.
A night meant for celebration turned bittersweet, with the PQ surprised at not winning enough seats to form a majority government, and with festivities at the Metropolis theatre marred by murder and gunfire.
After 12 months of running the province,In the PQ’s year in power, old language and cultural tensions resurfaced, but the party said it isn’t worried, and expect more of what it sees as healthy debate.
“It’s going to be an interesting debate and I think it goes through linguistic and minority/majority lines,” said Minister for Montreal and for Anglophones Jean-Francois Lisee.
Montreal is benefitting from the PQ's steady hand, he said, as the city prepares to vote in a new mayor.
“Accompanying Montreal out of its political crisis and to this election was important,” he said.
Premier Pauline Marois said last week that Bill 14, destined to alter Quebec's language laws, was unlikely to pass.
Critics said the PQ is not devoting enough time to Quebec's economy, and say they are shocked that the province has lost 40,000 jobs since the beginning of this year.
Corporate tax revenue has also dropped about 12 per cent, while economic projections made in the PQ's budget called for an 8 per cent increase.
Regardless, the PQ is confident and happy with what they have accomplished, and for having the first female premier in Quebec.
"The population of Quebec discovered a new leader, a new kind of leadership, a woman," said Higher Education Minister Pierre Duchesne.
Bernard Drainville, who is spearheading the controversial Charter of Quebec Values, a bill likely to be unveiled next week, also said he is proud of passing legislation to limit financial contributions to political parties.
"The reform of the financing of the political parties, the limitation of $100 which broke the system of prete-noms and broke also the influence of the bagman in politics. I'm very proud of that," said Drainville.
The Coalition Avernir Quebec party, which holds the balance of power in the minority legislature, met in Trois-Rivieres Wednesday, hammering home the message the PQ has damaged the economy.
“We lost 30,000 jobs last month and economic growth is lower in Quebec than in the rest of Canada,” said CAQ leader Francois Legault.
The party also released an online ad, attacking the PQ for not keeping its promises.
The CAQ said it wants to cut the size of government and cut taxes, with a final objective of reducing the tax burden of Quebecers
In third place in the polls, the CAQ has an interest in delaying the fall of the PQ government and an election, but said its cooperation with the PQ is limited, warning the economy has to improve, or else there will be consequences.
The Parti Quebecois will celebrate its year in power on Thursday evening at Jean Drapeau Park in Montreal.
That event will also be a fundraiser for David Courage, the audio technician who survived being shot on Sept. 4, 2012.