Postscript: Francois Legault will come under tough scrutiny
By Barry Wilson, CTV Montreal Executive Producer, OPINION
Published Friday, November 4, 2011 10:55AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 6:27AM EDT
It's almost as if the Extreme Makeover folks are doing their number on Quebec politics.
The transformation is mind boggling.
The NDP orange crush in the last election was coupled with the decimation of the Bloc Quebecois, the party of grievance and fat pensions and not much else.
Sovereignty seems like yesterdays news, way past its best before date.
The Parti Quebecois is polling at historic lows.
They can't even gain on the unpopular Liberals who are old and tired.
So along comes Francois Legault; the flavour of the month.
Voters zig-zagging from left to right
I find it odd that Quebecers would vote massively for the social democratic NDP on one hand and then say they overwhelmingly support Legault's centre-right party.
It doesn't make much sense at first blush.
But voters seem to be hungry, even famished, for any kind of change.
They are tired of the same old, same old.
It will be interesting to see how Legault reacts under the microscope.
We have already seen examples that he may talk before thinking.
His characterization of CEGEPS as a place to go to learn how to smoke dope and drop out really wasn't fair or accurate.
He also says he wants to do away with school boards.
That's certainly a conversation we should have but school boards are certainly one of the few things English-speaking Quebecers actually get to control.
Constitutional debate has ended
But what sets him apart moreover is his so-called "third way."
The former Pequiste promises to put the constitutional debate aside.
He's not quite fish nor fowl.
Before returning to ever thinking about the national question, Legault says Quebec must solve its problems in health, education, and public finance.
Tough decisions will have to be made; Quebec owes too much and spends too much.
There will be many with reason for suspicion.
Can federalist Quebecers trust Legault, or is this just sovereignty light?
It is hard to imagine disenchanted Liberals and Pequistes under the same tent for long.
What about language policy?
There is concern when he says that Ottawa should surrender all powers over language to the Quebec government.
It's easy right now for Legault to say anything: he is not elected and can promise the moon.
If he attacks Quebec's sacred cows, it may be another story.
The real scrutiny will begin on November 14th, the day he launches his Coalition Pour L'Avenir du Quebec. CAQ for short.
A slightly better name I suppose than the one once proposed for the merger Canada's right-wing parties, the Canadian Reform Alliance Party, short for… you figure it out.