Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Quebec’s le premier ministre Philippe Couillard met for the first time today in Quebec City. It was a cordial meeting, a Harper aide said, though, so far as I know the meeting was not on any official itinerary distributed ahead of time to the Parliamentary Press Gallery. (His attendance at the Gala Triomphe was on his public itinerar) The meeting wasn’t necessarily a secret but neither the PMO nor the premier’s office seemed to be making a big deal of it.
Photo journalists were not invited in to take a picture of the two men meeting (though I note, the first Alison Redford and Stephen Harper as Premier of Alberta and Prime Minister, there were photos.) though I fully expect that new racy newsmagazine 24/7to have the “exclusive” pix any day now. My Sun Media colleagues in Quebec, though, snapped the two men together at an event honoring athletes. (Above)
In the meantime, Harper’s office has helpfully distributed this “read-out” of the meeting between the two men:
“Prime Minister Harper indicated that the federal government intends to work closely with the government of Quebec to advance common priorities related to the economy and job creation. They discussed a series of issues, including infrastructure and energy development, and also identified avenues for collaboration in other priority sectors, namely Premier Couillard’s “maritime strategy”.
The two leaders highlighted the importance of Quebec playing a leadership role within the federation.”
The ad, above, is one of a trio of “attack ads” the Conservative Party of Canada launched today some of which are apparently airing on news channels and which, of course, are available on the Web.
In the ad posted here, there is what, on its face, would appear to be a deadly-killer line from Trudeau “Quebecers are better than the rest of Canada.”
But, as CTV parliamentary reporter Danielle Hamandjian explains in a series of tweets today (reproduced below), that quote lifted by the Conservatives comes from a 1999 interview on CTV in which Justin Trudeau was explaining the views of his father, Pierre Trudeau. In other words, that killer-quote does not belong to Justin. Rather it is Justin paraphrasing Pierre to explain his father’s views. Continue reading Conservatives take Trudeau out of context in ad. Surprised?
If Pauline Marois and the Parti Quebecois did form a government after Quebec goes to the polls on Sept.4, just what would that mean for the national unity issue? Would Quebecers, in voting in a party dedicated to separation be sending a signal that it approves of the whole sovereignty-association project? What about the rest of the Canada? Would it take a PQ victory as a sign that Quebecers want out of Confederation?
Bottom line: A PQ victory may mean absolutely nothing for the national unity file. “Few Canadians, and even fewer Quebecers, would interpret a victory by the Parti Quebecois in next month’s provincial election as consent to seek sovereignty,” the pollster says in a release out this morning.
Overall, just 29 per cent of survey respondents agree with this statement: “A PQ victory would mean that Quebecers want to become a sovereign state.” Just 20% of Quebecers, though, agreed with that statement.
The pollster gave survey respondents a choice of agreeing with the statement above, i.e. PQ victory=desire for sovereignty, or agreeing with the following statement: “A PQ victory would mean that Quebecers want a different provincial government than the one they have now.” Across Canada, 45% chose that statement as closer to their views while 65% of Quebecers said that’s what a PQ victory would mean. 15% of Quebecers were unsure between the two (logically, you could agree with both statements) while 26% of Canadians were unsure.
Angus Reid polled 1,505 Canadians in an online survey Aug. 13-14. The pollster says the sampling variability or margin of error of 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Call me naive, but I’m inclined to believe that government communications types tend to to do things for a reason. And so I find myself asking what that reason was upon receiving a news release — issued through a national press release distribution service in both official languages — informing me that Peter Penashure, the federal intergovernmental affairs minister, met this afternoon with his Quebec counterpart Yvon Vallières, Continue reading News flash: Canada and Quebec ministers meet, shake hands …