Parti Québécois promise not to pursue sovereignty let voters drift away, says Bernard St-Laurent
Once a powerhouse in Quebec, party lost official status in Monday's election
The Parti Québécois made a strategic blunder by promising there would be no referendum on sovereignty if the party was elected, according to a veteran CBC radio host and political observer.
"I think that that's what made it possible for particularly traditional Francophone Liberal voters — who were afraid of the sovereignty option — to move away from the Liberals and go over to François Legault's CAQ," said Bernard St-Laurent.
"And the same for sovereigntists, who figured: 'OK, well if we're not going to be talking about referendum, maybe the next best thing is the CAQ and their nationalist policies,'" he told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.
"So I think that strategy ... is probably what has contributed to the demise of the PQ in this last election."
Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), a right-of-centre party that has never held power, won a majority with 74 seats in Monday's election, ousting the incumbent Liberals.
The PQ lost official party status when it won just nine seats — one less than the sovereigntist Québec Solidaire.
To discuss the fall of the Parti Québécois, and what comes next, Tremonti was joined by:
- Bernard St-Laurent, veteran CBC radio host and political observer
- Graham Fraser, visiting professor at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and the author of several books on Quebec politics
- Valérie-Anne Mahéo, a political science researcher at the Université de Montréal
Listen to the full discussion near the top of this page.
Produced by Idella Sturino, Samira Mohyeddin and Suzanne Dufresne.