Posts Tagged ‘Yves-François Blanchet’

In the job nobody wanted.

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Watching the West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson trying to interview Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois, on Sunday caused mixed emotions. Here is the guy who took on the job for the Bloc that nobody else wanted and he is running rings around the Global Television interviewer. And he is just as difficult to pin down in English as he is in French.

The other day, in a speech in Calgary, premier Jason Kenney of Alberta said that Blanchet needs to choose a lane. The inference was that Blanchet was trying to drive in two of the freeway lanes at the same time. He wanted to have things both ways.

Blanchet, in turn, ridiculed Kenney for claiming that the Bloc wanted the financial benefits of Alberta’s oil and gas production but was barring the passage of pipelines through Quebec. He pointed out that Line 9 of Enbridge is already approved to be reversed and deliver diluted bitumen to Quebec. His complaint was that the Energy East pipeline, which the péquiste opposed, was designed to run through Quebec to Saint John, New Brunswick. There, the diluted bitumen was to be shipped by the Irving interests to European destinations. Blanchet saw no value to Quebec in that.

Jason Kenney is equally vociferous when it comes to getting advice from Quebec. He accuses Quebec of taking equalization payments from Alberta’s oil and gas resources and not giving any support in return. Blanchet, in turn, explains that Quebec has never got any equalization payments from Alberta.

But sitting in the middle of an argument such as this was not a spot Mercedes Stephenson considered comfortable. She seemed to be decidedly uncomfortable throughout the interview.

After all, what could she say, when Blanchet stated that there would never have been an original Alberta oil boom without the early financial support from Quebec? That was not going to be proved one way or the other in a half-hour television news program.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

TVA provides a forum for losers.

Friday, October 4th, 2019

Making sense of the political sparring on Pierre Karl Péladeau’s French language television network, TVA, on Wednesday was easy. It was the time for Yves-François Blanchet of the Bloc Québécois and the New Democrat’s Jagmeet Singh to come on strong and hard. This was their first major chance to make their case for rural Quebec votes.

Both of these minor party leaders are faced with not being recognized as an official party in the house of commons. You need to elect 12 members to be recognized as a party. And with that recognition comes staffing money and the right to ask questions in the house.

It is no surprise to note that the urge to separate from Canada is a dying proposition in Quebec. It is not the challenge it was to the province’s youth 60 years ago. Blanchet stepped into the leader’s role of the Bloc because no one else was interested in the thankless job. A life-long Péquiste, Blanchet had previously served as a cabinet member in Pauline Marois’ Parti Québécois government.

But times have changed and instead of being the left leaning party of the past, Blanchet promotes the right wing CAQ government of François Legault. He cheerfully promoted the CAQ bigotry in Bill 21 that forbids the wearing of religious symbols by people in authority representing the Quebec government. He even needled Justin Trudeau on the subject but Trudeau stuck by his guns that he wanted to see how the courts treated the various challenges already in play.

I think the best act was by Jagmeet Singh who was fighting desperately to save even one or two of the 14 Quebec seats the NDP had on dissolution. He is fully prepared to give Quebec voters anything they want if he could just keep those seats.

Early in the day, I think Singh did a little street theatre with an old gentleman who told him, in English, to take off his turban and get a haircut. It would have been more credible if the media had not heard the old gentleman say he was going to vote NDP as he strolled away.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me