MONTREAL – Quebec Premier Pauline Marois explained Tuesday why she thinks Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall is “sneaky.”
Marois used Quebecois slang last week to describe her Prairie counterpart as a “sneaky person who always tries to trip her up.”
Asked about her remark, Marois said she caught Wall allegedly trying to relegate one of her recent labour proposals into the appendix of a joint document, rather than including it among the main arguments.
“I have very good exchanges with all the premiers of the Canadian provinces when I’m at the Council of the Federation or another meeting,” Marois told a news conference in Blainville, Que., north of Montreal.
“But Mr. Wall really doesn’t think the same way as I do and therefore sometimes he disagrees with me, so he tries to avoid keeping my proposals … So, I defend my point of view. It’s in this sense that he’s sneaky.”
Marois called the Saskatchewan premier “un ratoureux, qui essaie toujours de me faire trebucher” in a conversation published Monday in Montreal La Presse.
There is no direct French translation for “ratoureux,” though it can also be used to describe someone who is cunning, wiley or mischievous.
“In passing, I must tell you that it’s a very Quebecois word,” said the Parti Quebecois leader, as she campaigned ahead of the April 7 election.
Later Tuesday, Wall responded to Marois’s explanation with a joke on Twitter: “I’m not even running in that election.”
He also addressed Marois’s comment by saying in French on Monday that he only ever tries to trip up Saskatchewan’s official Opposition NDP.
“We’ll meet again at the Council of the Federation meetings, obviously pending what the people of Quebec say in the election,” Wall said in English, referring to the electoral race in Quebec, where polls suggest Marois’s PQ is trailing the Liberals.
“We’ll work at that table with all premiers, including Madame Marois – if she’s the premier.”
Marois also acknowledged Tuesday that the language barrier can sometimes pose a challenge for her at premiers’ meetings, which are primarily conducted in English.
“So, I have to be very attentive,” said Marois, who struggles at times in English.
“Even if I can’t express myself perfectly (in English), I understand, and sometimes we touch on subtleties, but I am able to defend myself.”