It has been quite a week in Quebec politics. The Parti Quebecois (PQ) is in disarray.
Right in front of Quebeckers’ eyes, it looks like yet another informal separatist institution is melting down in this province. Support for the Parti Quebecois is falling faster than German tourists get thrown from a mechanical bull. The decline in support is not a statistical report, though the stats probably bear a similar reality, if not worse.
Rank and file members, as well as highly visible elected members of the PQ are publicly deserting almost daily, it seems. On its face, there is a dispute about hockey arena funding, but the struggle seems more existential than that. The whole thing has echoes of the collapse of the Bloc Quebecois’ support in the province during the last federal election a short few weeks ago.
But this is worse. One can see that it was a matter of time before Quebecker realised the inefficacy and irony of sending separatists to represent them to a federal institution. It was fun while it lasted, Gilles and Lucien, but it has now turned into a boring game. Creating the so called winning conditions for Quebec finally to attain its independence has been a staple part of the PQ’s platform, but not many seem to believe that anymore.
A hockey arena is hardly winning conditions. But, for Stephen Harper it is. He didn’t fund the Quebec City arena, and if the separatists manage to unravel their party over this issue someone will connect the dots. Once again, there seems to be some link between state subsidy and the life of a separatist political entity in Quebec.
With an election on the horizon, the implosion of the PQ must be music to the ears of one Jean Charest, the Liberal premier, whose own 17% popularity makes him one of the least liked public figures in the province. His would-be challengers may take themselves out.