On April 14, the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ) won the election with a comfortable majority (76 seats out of 125) and became the new government in Quebec. Until the middle of the short campaign, just 33 days, it was not clear which party would win. In fact, the PQ was ahead before the leaders’ debate that occurred in the middle of the campaign. Political commentators thought that the emptiness of the Liberal program, which was entirely centred on the problems Quebec’s health system, was not working. Finally, the will to change was stronger than the mediocrity of the PLQ and of its leader, Jean Charest.
With such a mandate, the danger is self-satisfaction, which was clearly expressed on the evening of the election by the new premier: “We live in a one of best societies of the world.” In fact, French Canadians are facing national death with a low birthrate, moral decadence and the crisis of marriage and the family. Will Charest continue the PQ politics of death? It seems so.
In an answer to a questionnaire sent to him by Campagne Quebec-Vie during the elections, Charest wrote, “A Liberal government would act in such a way that this free choice (of abortion) could be exercised by all the population …” (Really? Even men?) “… in all regions of Quebec, and this, in respect to individuals.”
About the civil unions of homosexuals adopted by the PQ government in June 2002, Charest expressed his pride that all the Liberal MNAs voted for this new “institution” and that “a future Liberal government will apply this new legislative measure.” So, we cannot count on this new Liberal “Catholic” premier to change the fundamental orientation of the Quebec government. Like all the Liberal Catholic politicians in the last century, beginning with Wilfrid Laurier, he is really Liberal, but not sincerely Catholic. His only “family” policy – to lower taxes – was of an exclusively fiscal conservative orientation.
It is unfortunate because even the PQ dinosaur Bernard Landry talked during the campaign about the importance of increasing the birthrate in Quebec and the urgency of adopting real policies to support families. Finally, the PQ seems to understand that the independence of Quebec is impossible without French Canadians.
After an honourable defeat which left 45 PQ MNAs, Landry announced that he will resign. He called on his supporters to continue the fight for Quebec sovereignty. Two candidates have already announced their interest, ex-finance minister Pauline Marois and ex-health minister Francois Legault. Neither of them has great charisma and it is not yet clear who would win. Landry would like to launch the leadership race later next year to give more time to Legault (Marois already has an organization in place) and to permit a real debate within the PQ.
Unfortunately, the two declared candidates are both typical PQ apparatchiks, social-democratic and “open” to the modern world, and the fundamental question, the survival of the French Canadian nation, will again be ignored. The defeat was not harsh enough to generate a real debate on principles. Both candidates will promote PQ orthodoxy. Perhaps the next federal elections will raise questions for the PQ. With no referendum about separation in the near future, Paul Martin as Liberal leader and a weak leader at the head of the Bloc Quebecois, the separatists may suffer a terrible defeat. The leader of the BQ wants to ignore the results of April 14, but the future could be difficult for him because Quebecers are tired of his party.