Marois, Peladeau try to downplay sovereignty
Published Thursday, March 13, 2014 12:04PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 13, 2014 4:10PM EDT
The Parti Quebecois is downplaying its sovereignist agenda with Premier Pauline Marois saying the choice for voters on April 7 is simply who can govern best.
Marois and her star candidate Pierre Karl Peladeau are now really stressing that they are there mainly to boost Quebec's economy.
This comes after headlines in Maclean's magazine asking if Peladeau is the man who will break up Canada, and Peladeau's own fist-waving statement when he entered the race on Sunday that he is in it to create an independent Quebec.
Marois, Peladeau, and several other PQ candidates were in Levis Thursday to discuss the PQ's policies aimed at helping small and medium businesses.
But the questions that keep dogging the pair are all about the party's sovereignty agenda and Peladeau got a little flustered as reporters asked him repeatedly how he feels about being branded as the new steam in the sovereignist camp.
"We're here to talk about economy, I just mentioned to your colleague earlier that this is the purpose of my presence here and this is the purpose also of what I consider my engagement in politics and I'm pretty happy you know to have the chance to talk with my colleagues and to be with our premier," said Peladeau.
Marois also appeared to be visibly frustrated, at one point pushing Peladeau away as he moved toward the microphone to answer a question.
Peladeau will cost PQ the election: CAQ
Meanwhile the Coalition Avenir Quebec says Peladeau's candidacy will cause the party to lose the election.
Party founder Francois Legault, a former businessman who shares many of the same pro-business, anti-union ideals as Peladeau, said he tried to recruit Peladeau last autumn.
However Legault insisted that Peladeau sell his shares in Quebecor before becoming a candidate.
Legault now says Peladeau is just too big for this campaign, and that unless Peladeau sells his shares in his media empire, something Peladeau is refusing to do, then Quebecers will see right through the PQ pin the blame straight on Marois.
"It's a lack of judgment to think that you can have at the same time somebody being, in fact, in control of the most important media company and somebody in politics," said Legault. "It doesn't go together, it doesn't make sense and the population is understanding that more and more. I think it's a major error."
On Thursday the Liberal party will officially present the candidate running against Peladeau in St. Jerome riding, Former TVA journalist Armand Dubois, who once worked for Peladeau.