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Alcoa move a big problem for the PQ

Alcoa's announcement that it plans to shut down its smelters in Baie-Comeau, Bécancour, and Deschambault in 2015 has made the job of winning a lot harder for the PQ.

Aluminum giant Alcoa plans to shut down its smelters in central Quebec, costing the province 3,300 jobs

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois defends her government over the Alcoa lobby to reduce prices for electricity Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at the legislature in Quebec City. (The Canadian Press)

The PartiQuebécois can't win an election, regardless of when it is called, if it doesn't win most of the predominantly francophone ridings in the province.

Aluminum giant Alcoa's announcement that it plans to shut down its smelters in Baie-Comeau, Bécancour, and Deschambault in 2015 has made the job of winning a lot harder for the PQ.

Alcoa says it can’t compete if Hydro-Quebéc goes ahead with the 60 per cent rate increase scheduled to take effect 14 months from now.

Francois Corriveau is the director general of the city of BaieComeau.

He told Radio Noon listeners on Wednesday that he was "pissed off" at the PQ government, and he can't believe the government has let the situation get this far.

Corriveau says closing the smelter would amount to a death sentence for his city. Without Alcoa and its well paying jobs there would be no arts centre, no ski facilities, and no Drakkar the Quebec Major Junior hockey team.

So far, media coverage has been strongly favourable to the aluminum giant's arguments.

The 3,300 jobs which would be lost in Baie-Comeau on the north shore, and around Bécancour and Deschambault in the centre of Quebec, are in areas where the PQ and the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) get most of the votes.  

The PQ will have to work pretty hard to soothe the fear and anger felt by Mr. Corriveau and those voters who find themselves in this situation.

It's enough to make you wonder if Premier Pauline Marois decided to delay an election because she knew this bad news was coming.

About the Author

Bernard St-Laurent

Bernard St-Laurent is the host of Radio Noon Montreal and C'est la Vie. He is CBC's senior political editor in Quebec, having covered all the major political events in the province from the election of the Parti Québecois in 1976 on.

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