Today’s PQ “lacks realism”, believes Lucien Bouchard

Mr. Bouchard, who has agreed to be honorary president of the celebrations surrounding the centenary of René Lévesque, believes that his former political formation takes its dreams for reality. According to him, the current context is simply not favorable to such an undertaking.

Can we imagine that a party, in 2022, will have an election campaign where it will promise to hold a referendum if it is elected? […] It’s a lack of realism – a fault that René Lévesque did not havehe says.

Lucien Bouchard himself often repeated the need to bring together winning conditions to organize a third referendum, when he was in charge of Quebec, from 1996 to 2001. However, this consultation never took place.

It would have been irresponsiblehe says, to expose Quebecers to a third failure. We would have gone below the floor afterwards. Frankly, we can’t hold a referendum in Quebec – and that’s why no one is thinking about it today – without having a minimum of certainties. […] we have a good chance of winning.

Mr. Bouchard discussing with Patrice Roy.Enlarge image (New window)

Lucien Bouchard spoke with Patrice Roy for about thirty minutes as part of an interview conducted for the centenary of René Lévesque.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

Lucien Bouchard agreed to talk about René Lévesque’s legacy and the current political situation in an interview, the best excerpts of which will be broadcast on Friday on the show In live with Patrick Royon ICI RDI, and at Newscast 18 hon ICI TV.

The former Prime Minister mentions, among other things, the courage of his predecessor, who led Quebec from 1976 to 1984, and who would have celebrated his 100th birthday on August 24.

He could have courageous reactions, but at the same time he was very careful. Above all, he was aware that you can’t ask too much of people. René Lévesque never held it against Quebecers for having voted “no” in the referendum. […] He understood. He understood Quebecers. He felt them. And to a certain extent, he also shared their concerns.


Founded by René Lévesque with the aim of making Quebec a sovereign state, the QPwho for a long time carried this idea alone in the National Assembly, no longer arouses the support of the past, recognizes Lucien Bouchard.

If the vehicle is worn out, and people no longer want it, we will choose another onehe said – remarks similar to those made on Wednesday, during the unveiling of the statue of Jacques Parizeau in the gardens of Parliament.

What is important is the dream that animated him. It does not die, a dream. And the dream is still there. For the moment, it is a little subdued. He is still there, I think, very strong. But to think of translating it into a reality through the activities of a party, a referendum, we are not there. »

A quote from Lucien Bouchard, former Premier of Quebec

Conversely, the head of the CAQ and current prime minister seems to connect more with Quebecers, according to Lucien Bouchard, who himself recruited François Legault in 1998, appointing him minister even before he was elected deputy.

Mr. Legault is a realistwhich does a good read [de] the political situationaccording to Mr. Bouchard. He knows where we are. He has a good reading of the population currently and… we can’t blame him! You can’t blame him that a lot of people share his opinion, that’s the reality.

If the trend continuesthe chief caquist is heading straight for a marshal electionnotes the former prime minister – an election where François Legault will win almost all the seats in the National Assembly. But can we blame him? This is what the people want!

Mr. Bouchard being interviewed.Enlarge image (New window)

“The Liberal Party will have to reconstitute itself,” believes Lucien Bouchard.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

The Liberal Party must rebuild “for Quebec democracy”

Lucien Bouchard is concerned, however, about the lack of an alternative solution in the medium term and even wishes ascent of the Liberal Party, a great party that left a great heritage to Quebecers.

Because the old formation, to which René Lévesque even once belonged, is now only a shadow of itself, he regrets.

I am a bit unhappy to see what is happening to the Liberal Party, admits the former prime minister. This is not good for Quebec democracy. It does not matter for the elections which will come, I think. […] But in the future, this party must be reconstituted.

According to Mr. Bouchard, the Liberals forgot their reason for being. Their party, he explains, is a coalition of nationalist francophones, but federalists, with the anglophones and the communities. It is a coalition. And it takes a goldsmith to manage a coalition. They had it with Robert Bourassa, [et] they would have had it with Mario Dumont.

Quebec francophones, even federalists, are nationalists. And there are many leaders of the Liberal Party who have forgotten that. »

A quote from Lucien Bouchard, former Premier of Quebec

He himself had briefly thought, in the wake of the publication of the manifesto For a lucid Quebecin 2005, to return to active politics with a new political party.

The group that Lucien Bouchard had assembled included both federalist and separatist personalities, a tour de force at the time. The idea of ​​creating a new party was in the air. It could even have swept Quebec, according to some polls.

I remember that at that time, I had discussions – I think it was Mario Dumont who called me – and we [l’avait] considered quicklyhe says, claiming in the same breath to have a lot of respect for the former ADQ leader, whom he hopes one day to see return to politics.

Yes, we could have done it at the time, concedes Mr. Bouchard. But it’s me, it’s me who didn’t really feel like it.

With hindsight, the former Prime Minister considers that the project could very well have resembled the one that led to the creation of the CAQin 2011. That was basically what Legault didhe summarizes.

Mr. Bouchard standing, fastening his jacket.Enlarge image (New window)

“I’m not desperate at the idea that the Parti Québécois is not doing well,” says Lucien Bouchard. It does not despair me. And between us, he doesn’t deserve to be doing very well either. It’s not strong there. It’s good people, and there are people for whom I have a lot of respect, they have merit, but let’s say that there is something that does not click in the political debate. »

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

For the rest, Mr. Bouchard does not dare to comment.

Who knows the future? […] Yes, there is a sovereigntist project that animated a whole generation, which made us do very correct things, with integrity, with honor, with respect for individuals, for democracy […]. But the idea? The project? This is a dream.

A dream that remains despite everything a political necessityaccording to the former PQ premier.

We can’t let ourselves be robbed like it’s happening now, he said. We are cornered [à un mur], the French language is threatened. No, you have to keep the idea. You have to keep the determination. But how? That, we don’t know. What form will this project take? How will it transform? It may not be a sovereignist project […]but it is certain that there is something that will not die and that will express itself in one way or another in Quebec political life.

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