Politicians spin as fall provincial fall session ends
MONTREAL - It was a day for boasting at Quebec's National Assembly as the provincial legislate has closed down until Valentine's Day.
And Premier Jean Charest offered some early bouquets in his end-of-session remarks, thanking the opposition for being less acrimonious than in the past and allowing several bills to pass unanimously.
Charest did not rule out a 2012 election and suggested that the Northern Plan and a Canada-Europe free trade pact would be front and centre next year.
Charest defended his 2011 record, saying that his flop-flop on the construction inquiry was all in good wisdom.
"We acted in the best way to solve the problem of collusion and corruption in the industry," he said.
He also stood in support of Michelle Courchesne, recently under fire for irregularities in the seven-dollar-a-day daycare program.
"We didn't wait for the Governor General's report on what should be changed," said Charest.
Charest also said he was looking forward to going toe-toe-toe with Francois Legault's new party, "as soon as possible."
Charest joked that he would be sticking around in an attempt to nab his fourth straight mandate and even beyond.
PQ leader Pauline Marois had a dimmer view of the Liberal party's performance, particularly in the domain of protecting the French language.
"French is the official language of Quebec and that is the responsibility of the Liberal party, the Liberal government to change the law if it is necessary," she said.
ADQ leader Gerard Deltell also attempted to bask in a bit of glory Friday, taking credit for the idea of holding a construction inquiry.
"We were the first, 948 days ago to propose that public inquiry and finally the government said yes to our proposition," said Deltell. "This is the ADQ's proposition and they said yes."
Charest also noted that Francois Legault, leader of a fledgling party missed a chance to get back in the legislature by skipping the December 5 byelection won by Charest's Liberals.
Now Legault would likely need to convince one of his potential future allies to give up their seat so he could run in a byelection.
The premier also argues that, even through Legault has shelved any talk of a sovereignty referendum, he's still a sovereigntist.
Charest quoted a familiar phrase to make his point to reporters Friday, saying that if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it's a duck.
With files from The Canadian Press