Parizeau used Bouchard in 1995, Chantal Hébert’s new book shows
They don’t make sovereignist leaders like they used to. It’s hard to imagine any candidate for the Parti Québécois leadership matching the combination of Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard in the 1995 sovereignty referendum.
That referendum wouldn’t have been held without Parizeau’s single-minded pursuit of sovereignty. And the sovereignists wouldn’t have come within fewer than 55,000 votes of winning if it hadn’t been for Bouchard’s ability to gain voters’ trust.
Yet, as a forthcoming book shows, Bouchard did not trust Parizeau — and with reason.
Not only did Parizeau, who was premier, unscrupulously use Bouchard to deceive voters about his intentions, he intended to shove Bouchard aside after a Yes vote so he could make a unilateral declaration of independence.
The book is The Morning After, written by widely respected Ottawa journalist Chantal Hébert. It’s to be published early next month.
It’s based on recent interviews by Hébert and commentator Jean Lapierre (my fellow CTV Montreal political panellist) with political leaders of the day about what they would have done after a Yes vote in 1995.
It describes a “power struggle” among the three party leaders on the Yes side before the vote, with Mario Dumont of the now-defunct Action démocratique du Québec siding with Bouchard of the Bloc Québécois against the PQ’s Parizeau.
Bouchard and Dumont had forced Parizeau to promise that after a Yes vote, he would offer the rest of Canada a new partnership, political as well as economic, with a sovereign Quebec.
And in the mid-campaign turning point for the Yes side, Parizeau handed its de-facto leadership to the more popular Bouchard by naming him Quebec’s chief negotiator after a Yes vote.
Bouchard told Hébert and Lapierre he might have settled for something less than outright sovereignty and wanted a second referendum to ratify the results of negotiations — admissions likely to confirm some sovereignists’ lingering distrust of him.
Parizeau, however, would accept nothing less than sovereignty. (Continued: Montreal Gazette)