Boisclair should ponder his course on his 40th

PQ leader should reflect on by-election and artists' statements

2006 textes seuls

Today, as the Quebec Liberals mark the third anniversary of their election, Parti Québécois leader André Boisclair turns 40. With his performance increasingly critized, he might want to reflect on his leadership after he's had a little birthday cake.
Pondering this week's by-election and playwrights Michel Tremblay's and Robert Lepage's alleged renunciation of their sovereignist ways would be a good start.
The kerfuffle began Monday with La Presse's dramatic frontpage headline about Tremblay: "I don't believe in sovereignty any more." The next day, Le Soletl headlined: "Sovereignty. Doubt has also grabbed Lepage."
As federalists. applauded, prominent sovereigntsts Pierre Falardeau and Victor Lévy-Beaulieu condemned and insulted the two men. Bernard Landry said he'd no longer "contribute to Tremblay's personal riches" by going to his plays.
By Wednesday, the story reached absurd proportions with two La Presse columns, an editorial and opinion pieces.
Tremblay got fed up. On RDI, he stated "I am a separatist." "The whole problem," he added, "came from La Presse's headline, which didn't say what the article did. I never said I wasn't soveretgnist any more.I said I didn't think it would happen if it's reduced too an issue of money. We have to talk about that for sure. But we have to talk about other issues as well."
Those issues, he said, were culture, the French language, values and emotions. "It's just my opinion, and that's all it is." Of Landry, he asked angrily: "Is he someone who can't take criticism? Will my books be burned because I dared to say something different? That's not democracy That's censorship."
As for Lepage, nowhere in Le Soleil did he say he is no longer sovereignist. He did say that he missed Lucien Bouchard, whom he saw as an "ideal hero" and he lamented the current lack of strong leadership in the Yes camp.
There are lessons for Boisclair even in what turned out to be a false controversy. One is that Tremblay and Lepage's comments, which happen to reflect the thinking of many other sovereignists, call for Boisclair to widen his arguments for Independence, beyond his constant whining about fiscal imbalance.
Another lesson is about the current lack of leadership - which was ironically confirmed by the way Boisclair handled this story. On Monday, while he and Gilles Duceppe reacted in a measured way, with Duceppe saying he'd called Tremblay who told him La Presse's headline was false, Landry overshadowed Boisclair by attacking Tremblay.
In a pre-election year,Boisclair must find a way to stop being dethroned by his predecessor's statements and visibility.
Jacques Parizeau might have played the meddling mother-in-law once or twice a year, but Landry's repeated pronouncements make it book like this new PQ mother-in-law has moved into the house and taken over the kitchen. This makes Boisclair's leadership appear even weaker than his ambiguous statements on many issues already do.
Boisclair must also think about the by-election results in Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques.The PQ kept its stronghold with 41 per cent of the vote, but 22 per cent of voters choose Quebec solidaire, a sovereignist party other than the PQ.
This might be just a by-election, but the fact is that since the 2003 election when the PQ got 33 per cent of the vote - its lowest score in 30 years- the party has remained less popular than sovereignty which has hovered between 44 percent and 49 percent To be fair to Boisclair, this means the problem preceded him.
Even at 40-per-cent support, the PQ still doesn't pull in all of the sovereignist votes. So it isn't the option that's lost so much ground since 2003. It's the PQ that can't seem to get the full support of what should be its natural electorate.
The potential problem for Boisclair is that with Francoise David's Quebec solidaire, sovereignists who for various reasons refuse to vote for the PQ now have an alternative.
So when sovereignists like Tremblay and Lepage question the PQ's discourse and leadership like others do, Boisclair should pay attention.
With Quebec solidaire breathing down its neck and Stephen Harper going for the soft nationallst vote and possibly handing Charest some hefty cheques to address the fiscal imbalance, the PQ is walking toward the election on egg shells.
This poses two questions for Boisclair: Why are there so many who would vote Yes in a refereedumbut don't vote PQ? And why does this continue even in face of the highly unpopular Liberals?
Which raises Boisclair's ultimate challenge: Convince most Quebecers who support sovereignty to vote for his party.
That's a tall order for his 41st year. But as leader, that's one he must now face.

Laissez un commentaire

Aucun commentaire trouvé