Pierre Karl Péladeau’s First Week

Pierre Karl PéladeauThis was his first week in Quebec politics, his first after winning the Parti Québécois leadership. And while it was only one week, it contained signs that Péladeau may not be what the PQ hoped for.

Polls by Léger for Le Devoir and Péladeau’s Le Journal de Montréal, and by CROP for La Presse, suggested that Péladeau would have led his party to victory in a general election.

There was no general election this week, however, and one isn’t due until October 2018. And the bounce in popularity that a party usually gets from a new leader is often only temporary. Also, these polls were conducted in ideal conditions for the PQ, when the party’s popularity was likely to be at a peak.

While pollsters usually wait a few days for the dust to settle after a major political development before sounding the public’s reaction, these polls were conducted immediately after Péladeau’s election was announced May 15.

In fact, you could ignore these polls entirely, if it weren’t for one thing: even in conditions favouring the PQ, the polls suggest that the bounce in the party’s popularity was smaller than might have been expected….

As PQ leader Péladeau faces the same dilemma as all his predecessors: his party base wants him to achieve independence, but he can’t form a government without the support of voters who don’t.

And, this week, on the symbolic occasion of his first day in the National Assembly in his new role of official opposition leader, even with the next election 3 and a half years off, Péladeau shied away from even mentioning independence.

As his theme for the day, he chose the economy. But instead of speaking about independence as the solution to Quebec’s economic problems, he settled for anticlimactically making a provincial “good government” proposal: to hold a consultative “summit” meeting of influential economic actors.

An economic summit is not what he promised his party. And it’s not what his party wants from him.

Source: Don Macpherson, Montreal Gazette, May 22

Alan Borovoy (1932–2015)

Canada has lost a remarkable champion of civil liberties. Borovoy was best-known as the outspoken general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association for 41 years, until his retirement in 2009. From the obituary in the Toronto Star on May 11:

Alan Borovoy…He opposed the prosecution of notorious figures like neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel and the anti-Semitic schoolteacher Jim Keegstra under Canada’s anti-hate laws when others tried to silence or punish them for their views. “We should not censor those making racist statements but censure them,” he told the Star back in 2000.

Eventually he came to believe that “extremists among equality seekers” posed a danger to liberal values by trying to use hate speech laws and human rights commissions to silence their enemies….