QUEBEC – The Quebec government is ready to launch hostilities with Ottawa.
On Wednesday, the Intergovernmental Affairs Minister will present his “sovereignist governance” strategy, concrete actions to fight Ottawa’s cuts in employment insurance and skills-training programs. Alexandre Cloutier believes the Harper government is treading on provincial jurisdiction.
“The federal government has taken many unilateral decisions that go against Quebec’s best interests,” said Cloutier.
Former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe is making a comeback, he and Rita Dionne-Marsolais will be at the centre of Quebec’s strategy. The well known separatists will criss-cross the province in order to measure the potential effects of Ottawa’s employment reform.
“We are not in a field of looking to see is there a consensus in Quebec, we know there is a consensus,” replied Official Opposition leader Jean-Marc Fournier. He points out the motion adopted unanimously in the House last week calls for partnering with other provinces, such as Ontario and B.C. Fournier says a navel-gazing sovereignty-promotion tour led by Duceppe is the last thing Quebec needs.
“What do you think Canada thinks Gilles Duceppe is? He’s not somebody who built links in Canada, he’s the champion of broken links in Canada, so it’s the opposite of what to do.”
But Laval University political scientist professor, Jean Crête says don’t be surprised if a sovereignist party is talking sovereignty.
“What they said they would do, they should do it. In their case, they are sovereignists so they should have a sovereignist governance,” said Crête. “It will be what is expected from people who voted for them, the same way that the Liberals had a federal governance because that was their program,” he added.
Still, the opposition is furious public funds will be spent to cultivate fights with Ottawa.
Details of the sovereignist governance strategy will be unveiled on Wednesday.