Stephen Harper’s Quebec lieutenant says it will be “business as usual” between Ottawa and the new sovereigntist government, provided the Parti Québécois isn’t just out to pick fights.
Industry Minister Christian Paradis said the federal government is willing to hear out Pauline Marois on transferring powers, as long as federal-provincial interests align and it doesn’t involve touching the Constitution.
“We’ll see what she does. If she makes proposals with the goal of sabotaging the federal government, obviously there will be fewer grounds for agreement,” Mr. Paradis said. “But our open federalism approach remains the same.”
Ms. Marois won a mandate to form a minority government Tuesday. The PQ leader’s wish to hold a referendum on Quebec independence is unlikely to take place with a majority opposed in the National Assembly.
Part of the PQ strategy to prepare a referendum is to demand powers from Ottawa and use ensuing failures as evidence Canada doesn’t work for Quebec.
Mr. Paradis, an MP from Quebec’s Eastern Townships, said he senses no interest in a referendum among Quebeckers.
The PQ defeated Jean Charest’s Liberals by a narrow margin and will form the next Quebec government.
Mr. Charest has called a news conference for 4 p.m. where he is expected to reveal his future plans.