LAC-MEGANTIC, – An independent Quebec would have no borders and would open its arms to tourists from Canada, Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois said Tuesday.
Marois was asked on the campaign trail whether an independent Quebec would be more attractive as a tourism destination.
“It won’t change our landscapes, that’s for sure” she said with a laugh.
“We’ll still be able to go see the Rockies out West and go to Prince Edward Island and they’ll be able to come here. There won’t be any borders or tolls.”
Marois then said an independent Quebec would have more latitude and freedom but she did not immediately elaborate on the border issue.M
“No, no, we’re not on independence today, we’re discussing Lac-Megantic,” she said.
Later in the day, Marois sought to clarify the border comments when she agreed with a reporter’s assertion that an independent Quebec would be like the European Union, where there is free movement of citizens.
“That’s what it means, but that’s not to say there wouldn’t be a (Quebec) citizenship and, as such, a passport,” Marois said.
For his part, Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard said the PQ’s constant musings on Quebec’s future only serve to hurt the province and that his political foes should tone down the rhetoric.
“Every time they hint at a referendum, Quebec is weakened,” he said at a campaign stop in Trois-Rivieres.
Quebec independence would destroy the rest of Canada because the province is an “essential part” of the country and its “distinct character” is part of what makes Canada so interesting.
Couillard also harked back to the failed 1990 Meech Lake constitutional agreement, which would have recognized Quebec as a distinct society.
“Canada didn’t refuse (to sign Meech),” he said. “Some provinces did not endorse Meech Lake but that doesn’t mean Canada turned it down.”
Couillard said he he believes Canadians in other provinces realize Meech was a “missed opportunity.”
“It should have (been approved by everyone). But you don’t reject a country because it wasn’t. What’s that all about?”