Quebec's political leaders in trouble

Charest still has his legislative majority in the Assembly. But as a politician able to win public support, he appears to be finished.

Enquête publique - un PM complice?

In the six-page text of Pauline Marois's speech to Parti Québécois association presidents on the weekend, the word "sovereignist" appeared 10 times.
Was that enough? She'll find out next month in the confidence vote at the PQ policy convention.
Results of the latest Léger Marketing-Le Devoir-The Gazette poll suggest that Marois continues to drag down her party's popularity.
Before redistribution of so-called "undecided" voters, 35 per cent of francophones said they would vote for the PQ, but only 25 per cent chose Marois for best premier.
And a month before her confidence vote, the results suggest a lack of enthusiasm for Marois's leadership even among PQ supporters.
Even with her party recently projected to win about two-thirds of the seats in the National Assembly, only 55 per cent of PQ supporters chose Marois for best premier.
Former PQ premier Bernard Landry resigned as leader after receiving a confidence vote of 76.2 per cent at the last party convention in 2005. The consensus is that Marois will at least have to top Landry's score to survive as leader.
If she does, then she should be safe, or at least as safe as any PQ leader can ever be, until the next general election, in which she will face whoever is leading the Quebec Liberal Party by then.
That probably won't be Jean Charest, unless he's a masochist. There's speculation among members of his party that Charest has given himself until the fall to decide whether to step down, if he hasn't already decided to do so.
The favourite to succeed Charest is house leader Jean-Marc Fournier, who returned to active politics last fall after a two-year hiatus.
Charest likes to boast that he's read his political obituary more times than anybody else, and it's always turned out to be premature.
But even a cat eventually runs out of lives. And the latest poll results suggest that even the Lazarus of recent Canadian political history has run out of resurrections.
Quebec governments wear out over time. Since 1960, the longest any has served in office was nine years and 12 days. And next month, Charest's will complete its eighth year in office.
This week, it will bring down a second consecutive austerity budget, with two more years of spending cutbacks and tax and fee increases still to come to meet its commitment to the bond-rating agencies to eliminate its annual deficit by 2013-14.
Recently, the Conference Board of Canada forecast that because of the revenue increases, Quebecers' purchasing power will decline this year for the first time in 20 years.
The latest poll was conducted after a flurry of activity by a government in a tight financial situation to try to launch a political recovery.
There was a minor cabinet shuffle, an opening speech by the premier at the start of a new session of the legislature, and what was widely interpreted as the announcement of a moratorium on controversial shale-gas exploration.
And it didn't work. Overall, the proportion of Quebecers expressing dissatisfaction with the government actually increased by two percentage points from last month, to 79 per cent, a record high in a Léger poll.
And in return for their $200-million commitment for a new arena in Quebec City, the Liberals saw their support in the capital region decline by two points, to 16 per cent before redistribution of "undecideds."
Charest still has his legislative majority in the Assembly. But as a politician able to win public support, he appears to be finished.
Twitter: @MacphersonGaz

Laissez un commentaire

Aucun commentaire trouvé