PQ Leader Pauline Marois was ebullient as she stood next to Kotto and spoke about Quebec independence.Speaking to the converted base in a stronghold riding, is that all this was? Seems to me this would be pretty dumb politics if all is ship shape in a sea of federalism in Quebec these days, according to commentators and the media reports. Here's the Globe's version of what she said, suggesting a more nuanced statement that speaks to the PQ as seeking to occupy the main opposition to Charest's Liberals, elbowing out the ADQ:
"I am certain Maka Kotto will be one of those who will enable us to reach that goal - a Quebec that is ours, a Quebec that is sovereign and independent," Marois said.
“This sends a message to the Charest government, a status quo government ... at a time when he should be out there defending Quebec's interests,” Ms. Marois said Monday night. “Maka Kotto will help us advance Quebec, help it progress so that finally we can give ourselves one day soon, as quickly as possible, a real country that will be ours ... a sovereign, independent Quebec.”Well, there it is again, albeit presented in a more balanced statement about the PQ's role.
The rout of the ADQ is what most reports are focussed on in the wake of yesterday's by-elections. Whatever that portends federally, we'll see. Harper's Conservatives have hitched themselves to the ADQ but their overall strategy in Quebec, including the nation resolution, stretches beyond that tactical alliance. A stabilized federalist provincial government, works in the Conservatives' favour as well. Not to mention the amount of money they've dumped in the province.
But it was heartening to see the Liberal fundraiser in Montreal last night, raising a good bit of money and putting Stephane Dion out there in a high profile Quebec event. Why don't we see more of these events? It gives Dion a chance to get his message out in a positive forum where he has control of the message without Conservative hatchet men taking him down:
In Dion's 40-minute address, he took aim at the Tories for its "disastrous" environmental record.
"We need a strategy in the coming years that will make us less dependent on fossil fuels," he said.
"What are the Conservatives doing to prepare us?"
He said the Liberals are the only party that will unite the economy, the environment and social politics.
"We will link our battle against climate change with a modern economy of the 21st century," he said.
"The peak oil era is happening and we need to prepare our country to win in this economy. This is vital for success in the 21st century and for that we need a Liberal government with a good vision."
With gas prices hovering at close to $1.30 per litre, Dion asked what the Tories have done to brace Canadians for ballooning rates at the pump.
We need to see more of this, taking the Conservatives on, yes absolutely in Quebec, but events across the country as well. And articulating the environmental policy clearly, more than above, before the Conservatives define it for him as a gas tax, gas tax, gas tax. I hope this was the first in a series of fundraisers across the country.
It's often maddening to see the concerted Conservative strategy played out in events and announcements while the Liberals still seem at sea. Have you noticed, by the way, the drip, drip, drip series of apologies issued by the Conservative government over the past few weeks as they seek to chip away at traditional Liberal support. They've made recent announcements targeting the Ukrainian (May 10, $10 million), Indian (today $2.5 million)and Chinese (May 8, $5 million) communities, announcing funding for past government wrongs. They've got the tools of government at their disposal, and yep, they're using them to their advantage.
It's a strategic juggernaut the opposition is facing, and while the Conservatives certainly have their problems and the polls never give them majority territory, it's going to be a very tough campaign against them.