The grouped salvo, right to the foot, by Paul St-Pierre Plamondon

Paul St-Pierre Plamondon’s change of tone was as sudden as it was abrupt. The outstretched hand and unbridled optimism with which the PQ leader had preached until now were suddenly replaced, before his national council and then in Parliament, by alarmism that was both excessive and counterproductive. An autoregressive historical amalgam and a retrenchment of identity, both loaded with words loaded with meaning that the leader, usually composed, cannot claim to have improvised.

Anxious to de-dramatize the holding of a new referendum well before the next electoral campaign, in order to debate when the time comes the country’s project rather than the mechanics of the sovereignty timetable, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon adopts a resolutely assumed. The educational strategy for this third major vote, already announced, could bear fruit. Catastrophism aimed at persuading us of its necessity, a little less.

The leader of the Parti Québécois went on an all-out offensive last Sunday, brandishing the “erasure” of the Quebec people, their “decline”, even their “disappearance”, unless we become “the majority here”. Accusing the Canadian government of leading a “charge against Quebec,” Paul St-Pierre Plamondon criticized Justin Trudeau for his systematic interference in the areas of jurisdiction of the Quebec government. But also to abuse it, by refusing to grant full immigration powers to the Quebec state, in order to “destabilize Quebec”.

The first complaint is not unjustified. Justin Trudeau in fact surpasses his predecessors of the last 30 years – conservatives and liberals alike – in terms of interventionism. He even seems to betray his own opinion when he claims that voters don’t care about respect for the Constitution.

There is no shortage of contemporary recriminations against Ottawa. Evoking this week the deportations and executions of Francophones (factual, but dating back several centuries) for the purpose of rallying against the federal government was excessively hyperbolic and thus undermined advocacy. Repeating this arrogance on every platform, in the hope of legitimizing it, has not made it any less clumsy.

And chanting the threat of “concerted action” seeking to “erase us” has also taken a step that has previously served neither Quebec nor the Parti Québécois.

The demographic weight of the Quebec nation within Canada is certainly decreasing. The redistribution of the federal electoral map will create five new constituencies, but none in Quebec – whose weight in the Commons will thus decline slightly, from 23.1% to 22.7%, continuing the constant decline it has experienced since it was established. stood at 28% 50 years ago.

The French language commissioner, Benoît Dubreuil, also observes a jump of around 50% in 15 years in the proportion of the Quebec population who do not master Vigneault’s language. However, it must be recognized that the insufficiency of resources in terms of francization, a right enshrined in the Charter of the French Language, has been documented many times.

However, by clumsily resurrecting this “we” – and carefully avoiding defining it – Paul St-Pierre Plamondon risks putting off those he is precisely trying to convince to join the movement. Because although the Parti Québécois is comfortably leading the polls, support for independence has not benefited from the same growth curve, still oscillating around 36% to 40%.

The appetite is less among young people and remains in the minority among Quebec Solidaire supporters. Support, according to Léger, is at 33% among these two cohorts. The very ones who are the least reluctant to immigration, which Paul St-Pierre Plamondon once again demonizes, in a loaded lexical field. And which he will nevertheless need, he himself recognizes, to form a grand Yes coalition.

The response from Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois — who chirped that “to create a country, hope is more fruitful than resentment” — probably reflected their reaction well. As well as the real danger that awaits this change of approach. Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon did well to end the week by reconnecting with his frosty side by pouring himself a bowl (soup) of milk.

This withdrawal of identity is not unique to the Parti Québécois, and it is not new either. Prime Minister François Legault contributed extensively to clearing it by brandishing, using his own excess, a “Louisianization” that precarious the “survival” of the nation. The lexicon was revised, but its ministers were still raising the “threat” to Quebec identity this winter. The CAQ referendum will be sectoral – if it comes to fruition.

This apocalyptic rivalry, in which the Coalition Avenir Québec and the Parti Québécois should stop engaging, will only push Quebec into a debate from which neither the nation nor the independence project will emerge victorious.

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