Editorial: PQ has no mandate for separation

In 1976, the Gazette’s Aislin drew his famous “Okay, everyone, take a Valium” cartoon featuring René Lévesque in the aftermath of the first Parti Québécois victory.

A lot has happened since then—we have more effective anti-depressants, and the PQ is back in power.

The Quebec Liberals’ expiration date has arrived. Nobody questioned premier Jean Charest’s integrity, but there were incidents in his caucus that created an image of a party in decay.

There was no flood of new ideas, apart from the Plan Nord to exploit our mineral riches, which ignited much enthusiasm.

Quebec’s long-term debt is a major albatross—48-per-cent of its gross domestic product—and needs to be addressed with courage and humanity. Charest was not up to that challenge. Most importantly, after three mandates, enough Quebecers felt it was time for a change.

François Legault’s CAQ came in to offer a right-of-centre alternative.

This former Péquiste is the natural and necessary partner for the minority PQ government to stay in power.

In his first press conference, Legaault signaled hopeful signs that he agreed with Pauline Marois on increasing access to home care, but never mentioned changes to Bill 101.

Without that support, it would be difficult for Marois to restrict access to English CEGEPs or extend the language of work to businesses with 11 to 50 employees.

With almost the same popular vote as the Liberals had, the new PQ does not have the mandate to provoke clashes with Ottawa to demonstrate that federalism does not work.

The PQ can get support if it improves health care, attacks the high dropout rate, and stimulates economic growth by not scaring away business.

We prefer the carrot to the stick. We’d rather not resort to more anti-depressants.

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