PQ minority best of worst-case scenarios: Harper
OTTAWA – Stephen Harper was never such a big fan of topsy-turvy minority governments — but one in Quebec City might suit him just fine.
The prime minister became well acquainted with the limitations and uncertainties of not winning an outright majority of seats over two consecutive elections. Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois now faces similar obstacles as she tries to push ahead with a separatist agenda while facing two other parties who want nothing to do with a referendum.
For Harper, it’s the best of the worst-case scenarios.
In a written statement Tuesday night, Harper congratulated Marois on her election win — a less-than-convincing minority comprised of just 54 seats, nine short of being able to form a coveted majority government.
But in virtually the same breath, he made it clear the party’s failure to capture a majority indicated a lack of support for the PQ’s separatist subtext.
“We do not believe that Quebecers wish to revisit the old constitutional battles of the past. Our government will remain focused on jobs, economic growth and sound management of the economy,” Harper said.
“We believe that economic issues and jobs are also the priorities of the people of Quebec. With this in mind, we will continue to work with the government of Quebec toward our common goals.”
Federal ministers and parliamentary secretaries are scheduled to fan out across the country Wednesday to cheerfully announce funding related to youth employment and skills training — business as usual, in other words.
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae declared on Twitter: “Quebec voters reject separatist project. This is the key point that must not be lost.”
The Conservatives — and the NDP — have kept their powder bone dry during the provincial campaign and there’s every sign they will continue to do so.