So everything has changed and it all changed with Pierre Karl Peladeau.

Peladeau’s cluster bomb entry in the election campaign took just about every other issue off the table. The ballot question is now Quebec separation.

Peladeau says he wants a country for his kids.

I guess the millions he inherited from his father who made his money in a country called Canada is not enough.

I guess the millions he continues to make in his near dominance of Quebec media is not enough.

I guess the press freedom he enjoys in a country called Canada is not enough either.

But you know I suspect PKP may become more of an albatross for the PQ.

He is something of a loose cannon and not the kind of guy who likes to take orders and this looks more like a corporate takeover of the leadership than anything else.

But -- he has forced the issue.

The April 7th vote now is a clear choice: it is a referendum on the referendum.

I’m not sure this is the way Pauline Marois wanted it to go.

Not long ago she was downplaying the whole referendum election.

She saw the road to her majority through the charter and identity.

But now the game has changed.

I wonder what she is putting in her cornflakes. In 2005, Madame Marois admitted that Quebec separation would entail at least five years of economic turbulence but now it would be paradise on earth.

She is talking about a separate Quebec being richer, she even has a customs union and tourism all figured out.

Of course Canadians would be welcome here. No tolls, no admission to the sovereignty wonderland.

I hope so Madame, it’s our country.

She is asking for a seat at the Bank of Canada so Quebec could have its say in monetary policy.

Back in 1995 the separatists campaigned on keeping the loonie as the official Quebec currency.

Marois hasn’t given up.

Of course, what the PQ doesn’t want to talk about is that Canada might have something to say about all of this.

It seems to me that keeping a Canadian dollar might be a pipe dream. Experts will tell you it’s a non-starter.

The PQ will now try to get back on course with the campaign but the job of the Liberals now is to hammer home every chance they get, that this is an election like no other.

Philllipe Coulliard is right when he says the PQ is out to destroy Canada.

He is right when he says the PQ is trying to lead Quebec down the garden path because the stakes are indeed high.

I have no doubt that despite what they say a PQ majority would rush toward a referendum before the next federal election in 2015.

This gang is unlike the separatists of the past. They are colder and more calculating.

The drumbeat they are hearing began on referendum midnight in October 1995, when Jacques Parizeau blamed money and ethnics for the loss.

Today, they think they have the money on their side with Peladeau.

The charter is dealing with les autres.

The fear is that the rise of the PQ's brand of ethnic nationalism is based on an appeal to hearts not heads and that’s what makes it so unsettling.

The drums indeed are sounding louder.


The opinions in this column belong to Barry Wilson and are not necessarily shared by CTV Montreal or BellMedia.