Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday November 15, 2019
As western tensions rise, BQ’s Blanchet says West shouldn’t look to him for help
As economic tensions rise in Western Canada over the slump in the oil sector, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is warning the region that it should expect no help from him — and saying that he still wants Quebec to be its own country.
Speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa Wednesday morning, Blanchet was asked about the push for independence in the West and whether he would consider setting a more collaborative example in Ottawa.
“I doubt it, because I still believe that Quebec will do better when it becomes a country,” he said. “So I’m not the one that will fight to have a nice, beautiful and united Canada.”
Trudeau’s meeting with Blanchet is the latest in a series of meetings between the PM and opposition leaders as the Liberal minority government prepares for a new session of Parliament.
Blanchet was also asked if he has any advice to offer those pushing for western independence.
“If they were attempting to create a green state in western Canada, I might be tempted to help them. If they are trying to create an oil state in Western Canada, they cannot expect any help from us,” he said.
Blanchet said he will continue to fight, through national and international channels, the idea of “obsessively” extracting oil.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shot back at Blanchet’s comments, saying Quebec should not reap the financial benefits of Alberta’s oil sector if Quebecers are so opposed to its existence.
“If you are so opposed to the energy that we produced in Alberta, then why are you so keen on taking the money generated by the oilfield workers in this province and across western Canada?” he said. “You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Pick a lane.”
Blanchet did not say much about Quebec separation during the campaign. He did say that, in Parliament, he would continue defending Quebec’s interests.
“We are people who are convinced that one day Quebec will take on the attributes of sovereignty,” Blanchet said on the final day of the campaign.
“But that’s not the mandate of this election. We’ve been saying it for five weeks.”
The Bloc surged during the campaign, going from 10 seats prior to the election to 32 afterward. (CBC)