Pauline's independence dream: more public consultations
Published Wednesday, February 5, 2014 10:05PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 6, 2014 9:09PM EST
Premier Pauline Marois confirmed on Thursday that she would be willing to violate Quebec's fixed-date election law in order to send Quebecers to the polls.
"I'm willing to call an election despite my fixed-date election law because the opposition parties are threatening us," said Marois.
She also said that it's still up in the air as to whether her government would present a budget before calling an election, or just present an economic update.
This week Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau said the government is on track to have a $2.5 billion deficit by the end of the fiscal year as long as he can cut another half-billion dollars in spending.
Political analyst Jean Lapierre said the only thing PQ ministers and MNAs have been saying during the past two days of the party's caucus was their readiness for an election.
"It's obvious she is going to pull the plug in the nxet few weeks," said Lapierre, adding that Marois was likely to ask the Lieutenant-Governor to dissolve the house instead of facing a non-confidence vote on the party's budget.
"She wants to have the initiative and she wants to keep the initiative during the 35 days of the campaign," Lapierre said.
Don Macpherson said much as the premier wants to, she will not be able to fight an election campaign based on the divisive Charter of Values.
"She can't fight an entire campaign on the charter, much as she would like to. There are going to be other issues like the economy and healthcare," said Macpherson.
Meanwhile the Parti Quebecois has a grand new plan to convince the people of Quebec about the benefits of being an independent country: host a series of public consultations.
Premier Pauline Marois promised a crowd of 300 party faithful attending a PQ caucus meeting that if re-elected with a majority, a PQ government would produce a research paper (commonly called a white paper) on the future of Quebec.
"During our next mandate we would restart a period of collective reflection about who we are and what our future is, by taking a page from our history chosen by René Levesque. The entire population would be invited to speak," said Marois.
A new video posted last week to the party’s YouTube account paints a rosy picture of an independent Quebec.
However Marois would not commit to holding yet another referendum on the topic, saying only that one would be held at an "appropriate time" because she did not want to upset Quebecers.
Liberal leader Philippe Couillard said that Marois wants nothing less than to break Canada and to strip Quebececrs of their citizenship.
He said that Marois's promise of a white paper is just another diversion to distract Quebecers from important issues.
Leo Bureau-Blouin, the youngest MNA in the National Assembly, said there are many voters around who deserve their chance to decide on the future of Quebec because they were too young to do so in 1995.
"A lot of young people don't know exactly where to stand, yes or no, on the sovereignty issue so I think it will be a great opportunity for first generation post-1995 to question itself about what's their position," said Bureau-Blouin.
Quebec has held two referendums with convoluted questions concerning sovereignty and sovereignty-association.
In both cases the majority of Quebecers voted in favour of being part of Canada, although the margin of victory in 1995 was very slim amid multiple accusations of ballot tampering.
According to the Census and the National Household Survey, Quebec's population has grown by about 765,000 in the past two decades.