Citizen-driven referendum allegation won't help PQ
A very bad night for Pauline Marois.
François Legault was the clear winner of last night's debate with Pauline Marois and the event could change the last two weeks of the campaign.
More than a million Quebecers will wake up this morning with the impression that all it will take is for 850,000 Quebecers to sign a petition calling for a referenum on sovereignty and Marois will be forced to hold one.
Quebecers don't want a referendum on sovereignty.
That doesn't mean they would vote against secession. But they would rather not have to deal with the issue in the first place.
The thought that hard liners in the PQ could force a referendum on them is enough to make many Quebecers think twice about voting for Marois.
Marois was also unable to fend off Legault's attacks on her election promises because the PQ has not provided a financial framework to explain how it will pay for its commitments.
I was in the scrum back in 1985 when then Cultural affairs minister Clément Richard first used the term Caribous to describe the PQ hardliners including Jacques Parizeau,Camille Laurin Jacques Leonard,Denis Lazure and the others who resigned from cabinet over Rene Lévesque's "Beau risque".
It was a reference to a heard of 10,000 Caribous who jumped off a cliff near the Caniapiscau river that spring.
The event became public knowledge because Pierre Mignault did the story for both CBC and Rad-Can at the time. Devastating images. Dead Caribou, crying Inuit.
Defending his decision to stay in government Clément Richard said something like: Y'en a qui veulent se jeter en bas du precipice comme des caribous mais moi je ne suis pas un de ceux là.
Caribous then became shorthand for hardliners. We tried hard to come up with an animal name for the beau risqers but none ever really caught on.