Quebec's opposition parties sense an opening, and so for the second straight day yesterday they besieged Premier Jean Charest on thorny questions relating to sovereignty.And so, the focus on separatism is beginning to bite back at Charest. He peaked much too early in the polls, waving this issue around quite dangerously. This is a delicate issue that's got to be more skilfully handled than consistently poking your finger in someone's eye...
Parti Québécois Leader André Boisclair tried to make as much political hay as possible from Charest's first major misstep of the election campaign: on Tuesday, the Liberal leader raised the threat that Quebec could be partitioned after a "Yes" vote in a referendum.
After blaming the gaffe on a slip of the tongue, Charest spent yesterday refusing to categorically withdraw his comments, saying that while he didn't support partition, the best way to avoid the issue is to vote Liberal in the March 26 vote.
That did little to mollify either Boisclair, who has said he would hold a referendum on sovereignty as soon as possible if he wins the election, and Action démocratique du Québec Leader Mario Dumont. Dumont said "if that's what he (Charest) really thinks, he is not fit to govern Quebec."
PQ supporters feel a turning point could be at hand for their beleaguered campaign and yesterday Boisclair went on the offensive, saying his opponent is "dividing Quebecers through his irresponsible declarations."
"His job as premier is not to ask questions concerning Quebec's territorial integrity, it's to protect it, as his predecessors have done," Boisclair said.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
So how's that separatist fear mongering working for you, Jean?
"Charest reignites partition debate":