Now that former Quebec Premier Pauline Marois is mulling over retirement options, perhaps she would consider a trip to the Super Expo Sciences Hydro-Québec in Terrebonne with her colleagues Bernard Drainville, Pierre Karl Peladeau and Jean-François Lisée. There are two more days to go and yes, bilingualism is alive and well in this province and there is no reason to be ashamed of it.
I have been at this provincial Science Fair since Wednesday. There are 159 students from 12 regions in Quebec. Virtually all of the proceedings have been conducted in French. For the kids I am chaperoning that has not been an issue. They understand everything just fine. We are all staying together in a Laval hotel, dining “ensemble” and I see a lot of bonding taking place. And when the subject of last week’s Quebec election comes up, folks from the Saguenay to the Mauricie and Outaouais seem content to see the Parti Québecois out.
“We don’t want to separate from Canada,” said one.
“I never liked their Charter of Values,” added another. “It made me uncomfortable.”
One chaperone, who is Muslim, said that the entire Charter debate prompted her daughter to come home from school one day questioning whether she should change her last name. “I may not have been born here, but this is her native land and she should feel welcome,” the mom told me.
This is a perfect example of how the PQ misread the electorate. And thank goodness for that. The next Quebec election will not take place for four and a half years as the fixed election law brings that vote to October 2018.
-Thank you Pierre Karl Peladeau. Your entry into the campaign with a famous fist pump and a call that you wanted to build a country for your children gave the Liberals an extraordinary shot in the arm. There was no turning back. PKB handed Philippe Couillard a gift. Now the PQ may reward him with the party leadership.
-Mr. Drainville really thought that his xenophobic Charter would bring the PQ a majority. But just look at the Cremazie riding, where former Commission scolaire de Montréal chairman Diane De Courcy was defeated after only 18 months as their MNA and the Minister of Immigration and Responsible for the Quebec Language. The Charter was clearly her undoing.
-Good for Fatima Houdin Pepin. She chose to embarrass Couillard and her party over the Charter. Wisely, the leader ousted her from the party. After 20 years of service and a very health pension in sight, she should have done the right thing and walk away. Instead she ran as an independent in her South Shore La Piniere riding and was trounced by star candidate Gaetan Barrette.
-I wonder how Henri Paul Gautrin feels now? The veteran MNA for Verdun went public before the election was called that he foresaw a PQ majority. What was he thinking? Couillard wisely replaced him. To Gautrin’s credit, he walked away quietly.
I feel great relief today. Real estate agents I speak to our elated. Businessmen who contemplated closing up shop if a PQ majority came to pass are now thinking the opposite.
If the PQ wants to take power again, their members should think clearly before selecting a new leader. Separation and the Charter do not sell. Just ask people at the Science Fair.