10 May 2006

The last remake of beau risque: la fruit n'est pas mur

Action democratique (ADQ) leader Mario Dumont thinks it is time to open the constitutional file again, with talk of renewing Rene Levesque's failed beau risque of the 1980s.

In Quebec, as la presse reported, Dumont is being slammed by both the Charest administration and the Parti Quebecois.

From Ottawa, the official government position is that the time is not ripe for formal constitutional discussions. Labour minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn said "[i]l n'y a rien que j'aimerais plus que de voir le Quebec signer la Constitution comme on l'a tant souhaite, mais je crois que le fruit n'est pas mur pour avoir des negociations constitutionnelles formelles."

Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe was as succinct as possible:
"I think constitutional negotiations are over," he said. "It's very clear there are no other solutions. Either Quebec is a province like the others in Canada and in the world of globalization, which means shrinking slowly but surely, or Quebec becomes sovereign. There's no third way."
Dumont's ADQ is in third place among voters provincially in what is likely to be a tight race between the PQ and Charest's Liberals.

Given that the whole issue appears to be little more than a gamble by Dumont to boost his party's popularity in the upcoming provincial election, this may well be nothing more than the last remake of beau risque.