Why hasn't Charest raised the spectre of a referendum more often? - Macleans.ca

Why hasn’t Charest raised the spectre of a referendum more often?


ELXN QUE Debate 20081125Marty and I couldn’t agree on what to make of the post-debate Liberal press release below….

On 11/26/08 2:07 PM, “Martin Patriquin” wrote:

Communiqué de presse
Pour diffusion immédiate

Débat des chefs

Les mains liées par son option souverainiste

Québec, le 26 novembre 2008 – Le débat des chefs a été l’occasion d’un aveu
des plus révélateurs lorsque Pauline Marois a admis qu’elle avait les mains
liées par le mouvement souverainiste.

Rappelons que lors du débat, madame Marois a déclaré : « J’ai les mains
attachées avec le mouvement souverainiste. »

Cet aveu est révélateur, car il explique la raison pour laquelle Pauline
Marois n’est pas en mesure de présenter un plan économique cohérent. Les
mains liées par l’option souverainiste, elle est incapable de faire de
l’économie sa priorité.

Alors que nous faisons face à une période de perturbation économique, la
dernière chose dont les Québécois ont besoin c’est de perturbations
référendaires. Prisonnier de son option, le PQ de Pauline Marois veut
ajouter à la crise financière, une crise référendaire. Plus que jamais, nous
avons besoin de stabilité. Il faut miser sur l’économie d’abord.

On 11/26/08 2:10 PM, “Philippe Gohier” wrote:

Wow, they’re digging deep to make an issue out of that one.

On 11/26/08 2:12 PM, “Martin Patriquin” wrote:

I can see why, though. Mentioning sovereignty right now is poisonous, even to nationalists.

I still can’t believe Charest didn’t mention the “five years of perturbations” thing that Marois said in 2005.

On 11/26/08 2:17 PM, “Philippe Gohier” wrote:

You really think it’s poisonous? I mean, it’s not like Marois isn’t a fixture of the sovereignist movement. Mentioning it is just redundant, no?

On 11/26/08 2:22 PM, “Martin Patriquin” wrote:

Before an election during a time of economic buggery? When the polls put support for sovereignty at 37 per cent (and these polls are always generous)? Methinks Charest can gain more votes mentioning it than not.

On 11/26/08 2:37 PM, “Philippe Gohier” wrote:

True, but would it stick? There’s still quite a leap involved here.

There are only three indisputable facts Charest can rely on: (1) Marois is a sovereignist, (2) The economy is screwed, and (3) Marois has said a referendum victory would bugger up the state for 5 years. Even with these facts, it’s far from a foregone conclusion that Marois would inevitably (or even likely) bugger up the state for five years in the middle of an economic crisis by calling a referendum and winning it.

I definitely agree with you on the facts; I’m just not sure Charest can carve a convincing narrative out of them.

On 11/26/08 2:38 PM, “Martin Patriquin” wrote:

With less than two weeks before the election, it’s probably enough for the Liberals to tie Marois to the idea of sovereignty at this point.

On 11/26/08 2:41 PM, “Philippe Gohier” wrote:

You think he’s going to do it? What are the risks?

On 11/26/08 2:45 PM, “Martin Patriquin” wrote:

I think that it’s the explanation behind the press release. Not sure he’s going to push it more—he’s been pretty cautious on that front.

On 11/26/08 2:53 PM, “Philippe Gohier” wrote:

I suppose the release also fits with the general “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” campaign the Liberals are running. Unless he can paint Dumont and Marois as dangerous, the argument to keep Charest (instead of his rivals) becomes moot. But I’m still not sure he can make the case.