Pardonez-moi M. Lisée.

Paul Wells of the Toronto Star offers it as evidence that sometimes a journalist can make something of himself. Besides an ass, we assume.

Wells was writing about Jean-François Lisée who won the leadership of Quebec’s Parti Québécois last Friday. We all had a good laugh at the PQ last time when they chose millionaire Pierre-Karl Péladeau. We might also have a good laugh at this one. Lisée might have more political smarts than the scion of the Péladeau media empire but his fingerprints are all over the former PQ leader Pauline Marois’ controversial Quebec Charter of values.

The bigotry and xenophobia of the charter sent the last election in Quebec skittering off the rails for the PQ. The arguments about the charter split the PQ and their opponents. The province ended up with a majority Liberal government under Philippe Couillard.

Mind you, we should wonder about Lisée’s political smarts as he came into politics from an academic and journalism background to advise then leader Jacques Parizeau prior to that PQ government launching the 1995 Quebec referendum. He continued in an advisory capacity with Parizeau’s replacement Lucien Bouchard. He left the Bouchard government in 1999 because Bouchard was not interested in putting another referendum before Quebec voters.

Paul Wells tells us that Lisée is formidable. He also tells us that he thinks separatist referendums are fun. Mind you, he equates it to “playing chicken in traffic” type fun.

But Well’s admiration for his friend Lisée could be very misleading to the readers of Canada’s largest circulation English-language daily newspaper. No doubt we would all prefer to wait for the more expert analysis of national affairs writer Chantal Hébert. Despite being born and educated in Ontario, Chantal has been weighing Quebec politics for most of her adult life. Her opinion is respected.

Lisée has only been in the Quebec National Assembly since 2012. He survived the Liberal sweep in 2014 that cost Marois her seat. He claimed in the heated race to replace Péladeau that he would not push for another referendum until his second term as premier.

But in that same race for the leadership, he defended the Quebec Charter of Values and the Quebeçois jingoism that it represents.

Frankly, in our opinion, English-speaking Canadians have little reason to trust M. Lisée nor should they.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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