Meet Premier Marois’ pet pitbull.

There is little that is complex about Pierre-Karl Péladeau. He is as basic as the daily content of Le Journal de Montréal. He is his father’s son. He preaches conservatism and separatism without qualms. He is Sun Media. He is the pitbull of Canadian news media. He is making the mistake that many in his position have made before him. He is exposing himself to the voter.

This generation of Péladeau is a throwback to the heyday of John Bassett. The difference was that John Bassett of the Sherbrooke Daily Record and Toronto Telegram, Argonauts and Maple Leafs and CTV was first and foremost a Canadian. And John knew how to be a gentleman—even if he rarely showed that side of himself.

But John Bassett learned the hard way that his ego could defeat him. Pierre-Karl Péladeau has yet to learn that lesson. John twice attempted to win a seat in Canada’s Parliament. He was defeated in Sherbrooke riding in Quebec in 1945 and in Toronto’s Spadina riding in 1962. His honours had to be handed to him when Conservative Prime Minister Mulroney made him head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Review Committee in 1989.

Conversely, Pierre-Karl is going to find that Quebec Premier Pauline Marois might not be the friend she is making out to be. She needs him on side and angry. Making the media baron chair of Hydro-Québec was not because he had any special skills to bring to that body. She wanted him to taste the power that the separatists can offer him if he joins their government. She is already inviting him to cabinet committee meetings so that he can get a sense of the power that is there.

Interestingly, Marois is involving Péladeau in a project that Premier Kathleen Wynne in Ontario would be very smart to emulate. It is the electrification of transport in the province. In Ontario, one of the major problems with the GO Trains is that they are all diesel. Diesel takes too long to come up to speed and it severely limits the stops and schedules of trains. Electrical GO trains could serve more stops and cut up to a third off commute times throughout the province. It makes good economic sense.

Marois has been criticized for having Péladeau attend these meeting of the cabinet committee. It is a criticism she is inclined to handle as long as it gets the mercurial Péladeau solidly on side for her party. He might even surprise us by getting elected.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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