PQ must find a way to reconnect with voters, say analysts
Published Tuesday, April 8, 2014 7:29PM EDT
Following a major election night upset, blamed on their divisive Charter of Values and the sovereignty debate, analysts are saying the Parti Quebecois has to find a way to make itself relevant again.
Many observers have noted the PQ’s campaign went off the rails after media mogul Pierre Karl Peladeau entered the race in early March and made sovereignty a ballot question.
Political analysts have also said the party’s focus on its controversial Charter of Values, which alienated even ardent sovereignists, also contributed to its overwhelming defeat Monday.
But it was a scene from the Westin Hotel, where shell-shocked PQ supporters were stunned into silence Monday night, that has people talking Tuesday.
Before Pauline Marois made her concession speech and called it quits, the top three possible contenders to replace her made defiant speeches of their own.
In an unprecedented move, Pierre Karl Peladeau, Jean-Francois Lisee and Bernard Drainville all took turns speaking, seemingly ready to make their entrance before Marois made her exit.
“I think a lot of people have raised their eyebrows when they saw those speeches before Marois, said former Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe, adding the move showed a complete lack of judgment.
“Whether you liked Pauline Marois or not, she was the outgoing premier of Quebec, the results were really devastating, but she had earned the respect to be able to be the first one to come out and speak, and to see all three of them there, that was a lack of respect.”
Don Macpherson of the Gazette said it was “unseemly” for the candidates for succession to start campaigning so early, but pointed out each political party has its own culture.
“Part of the PQ internal culture is particularly vicious internal politics,” he said.
And though speculation has been swirling that Peladeau, Lisee and Drainville have leadership aspirations, Duceppe said the PQ shouldn’t begin the process of replacing Marois just yet.
“They have to look back at their program, their strategy and reconnect with the younger generation,” he said.
Former Bloc MP Jean Dorion says Peladeau is in a vulnerable position, since many are blaming the PQ’s demise on his entrance into politics.
Dorion says he didn’t support the PQ in this election because of their proposed charter, and he said he wasn’t the only one turned off by the proposal.
“They lost so many with the charter that the lesson they should learn is that Quebec society has changed, he said.
“It is diversified and the pro-independence movement must integrate the diversity and not fight it the way they did.”
When asked if Monday’s results dealt a knockout blow to the sovereignty movement, Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard said sovereignists shouldn’t be counted out.
“An idea never dies,” he said.