Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Canada’s most-awarded
newsroom for a reason
Stay informed for a
lot less, cancel anytime
“Exemplary reporting on
COVID-19” – Herman L
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

"Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan." Many thousand would-be parents will be insisting they foresaw the result all along, or were always confident in the victory for Philippe Couillard and his Liberal Party.

Let me be the first to say I didn't see it coming when the election was called, and only saw a window of opportunity with the coronation of Crown Prince Pierre Karl. That Pauline Marois would run such an arrogant, inept campaign could hardly have been guessed. The lobster-trap strategy exploded in her face, but it might be a good idea, in the name of honesty, at least to have a look at some of the commentary that first week of the campaign, and just how wrong it was.

Wiser souls know that defeat and victory are both impostors. Those who want to rub the PQ's nose in the dirt and proclaim the end of sovereignty forever are just as wrong as those who thought Philippe Couillard a hopeless politician who would lead the Liberal Party to oblivion.

Story continues below advertisement

The Liberal win is Mr. Couillards first and foremost – and more power to him. But governing Quebec at this moment will not be easy, and he will have his work cut out for him. We no longer live in a time of political honeymoons, and more than one crisis – the economy, public finances, the Charbonneau Commission – will quickly be on his desk. Let him enjoy these first few days. It won't get any better than this.

He also needs to put the constitutional genie back in the bottle, if only because by raising hopes of some other "deal" to be had, he is embarking on a quixotic journey. True, the constitutional door is never closed. But given that Quebec is not alone in its demands, that many other provinces have referendum legislation, and the fact that most members of the public cringe at the simple mention of the word "constitution," this is not a time to be raising any expectations. Quebec has much autonomy, it has its distinctiveness, and the federation is decentralized. To spend much valuable effort trying to formalize this once again is simply unwise.

What of the Parti Québécois? Is sovereignty "dead?" Would that it were so, but it's not that easy. There will always be a body of opinion in Quebec that wants an independent country, and it will not disappear. Pierre Karl Péladeau didn't run to become second in command, and he will try to fashion a party around himself. The old social democratic nationalist left will be unhappy, and will gather around Québec Solidaire. But Quebec politics will never be dull, and it would be a foolish to believe that the dream of independence is completely dead. It's been given a good whack, because of an incompetent campaign and a visibly dishonest strategy, but it has shown resilience before and it will again.

So there's no rest, for the virtuous or for the wicked. Ms. Marois told those of us who took an interest in the Quebec election to "mind our own business." Canada is our business, Madame, and do not ask us to be indifferent to the fate of our country. Vive le Canada.

Bob Rae is a former member of Parliament and former premier of Ontario.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies