Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Charest Flip Flops on Partition in Quebec

During a campaign stop yesterday, Quebec Premier Jean Charest declared that Quebec was not indivisible and could be partitioned after a successful YES vote in a referendum. Then, all hell broke loose. Next, his campaign circulated a press release retracting the statement and arguing instead that Quebec is indivisible. Given the Liberals are barely in majority territory, this blunder could cost Charest the election. Why? Francophone Quebecers overwhelmingly oppose partition, whether federalist or sovereignist. And since Charest was speaking in English when he argued in favour of partition, he will be seen as pandering to the anglophone minority. He already has the anglophone vote in the bag, but he needed to shore up support in francophone areas of the province in order to ensure a majority government. This could be the big nationalist break the PQ has been waiting for.