Quebec politics are endlessly amusing. No, seriously, they are especially if you have a highly developed sense of irony and cynicism. But I guess that's true about politics everywhere.
Scroll back a year or so and the Parti Québecois was having a leadership race. Pauline Marois* a Quebec separatist politician with tons of experience was running against André Boisclair pretty much a newbie, who eventually won by a landslide (60% to her 30% – or something along those lines).
Boisclair was the flavour of the month. He had looks, he had style, and at 40, was hip and urban. Boisclair was hot, nothing could stop him.
Marois retired, stating she was no longer interested in politics (or words to that effect).
Before this leadership race, Gilles Duceppe was asked to run. He didn’t, stating he had no interest in leaving the Bloc Québecois in Ottawa where he still had lots of work to accomplish – keep in mind the work he’s there to accomplish is advancing the cause of Quebec separation in Ottawa. Me, I think he likes that steady paycheck; he's been there years and years.
Cut to recent past: The last Quebec election. End of March, the Liberals are re-elected with a minority government. The opposition becomes the upstart Action Démotratique, the party most to the right in Quebec. Shock and consternation. Teeth gnashing and hair pulling. The Horror! The party to the right is now the official opposition… Much analysis and beating up on the regions (anything outside the island of Montreal basically) - where the AD got in strongest ensues.**
And the PQ? They’ve been routed. Their worst showing since 1973. So much for the golden boy. It was a good ride while it lasted. He resigned as leader early this month, pretty much hounded out by the very people who elected him as their new god. Ooops.
Cut to present: Boisclair in an interview a few days before resigning said that the way would be open for Duceppe if he left.
Duceppe, hurt that anyone might think him an opportunist, answered again that he had no interest whatsoever in the Parti Québecois leadership. C'mon people, this man has integrity and goes by his word, he that rare bird, a politician who doesn't lie... or something.
Pauline Marois, she of the "I’m through with this discourse" has decided to run for leadership again – and this time seems to be the right one, so far she's alone in the race. I suppose no one wants to touch the party now that they're unpopular - who wants to lead a loser? Contrary to the hardliners, she's saying let's shelve separation for the moment, obviously the population isn't interested, check out the election results people. The woman is right. The hardliners will be very unhappy.
Duceppe (I love this) announced that he was running too! He changed his mind though, as soon as he realized he’d have only 20-30% support.
Pauline Marois stated that it takes courage to retire from the race as he did.
Courage? I tend to lean to the theory of a great liking for that steady paycheck from the Canadian Government.
Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame. - Laurence J. Peter
* From wikipedia, which seems to have its facts pretty much straight...
** Everybody everywhere seems to be leaning to the right these days. And so the pendulum swings...