COVER

SURVIVAL STRATEGIES

BRIAN BERGMAN November 12 1990
COVER

SURVIVAL STRATEGIES

BRIAN BERGMAN November 12 1990

SOVEREIGNTY NOW OR LATER?

As a private citizen, as well as leader of the separatist Parti Québécois (PQ), Jacques Parizeau has lived through easier times. On Sept. 30, his wife of 34 years, Polish-born novelist Alice Poznanska Parizeau, died af ter a long struggle with cancer. And, al though his party has surged ahead of Pre mier Robert Bourassa~s Liberals in public opinion polls, Parizea** has political troubles as well. The 60-year-old former Quebec finance minister faces dissent among party members who challenge his policy of a gradual approach to Quebec independence. The latest threat came last weekrejectin~ Parizeau's ina~s~ence that a~y move to wards independence first meet with public approval in a referendum~ Péquiste MNA Jean Garon insisted that a PQ government should declare j~depen4ence on the strength of an election victory. Declared Garon, a veteran member of the PQ: "The people want to fight for their convictionsand that ansstwereiQntv~

Infact, the question of the PQ's approach to Quebec sovere~g~ity has long been a source of division within, the paity. k'anzeau himself quilt the government of former Quebec premier René Lévesque in 1984, after Lé.. vesque softened his stand on independence. Then, in 1987, Parize~ u's predecesscr, PierreMarc Johnson, was forced to resign as party leader after the PQ membership, including Pan zeau, rebelled against his efforts to make inde pendence a secondary plank in the party plat form The issue is like Vesuvius said former Johnson aide Andre Sormany `It cools down for a while but, then it always. manages to exolode again."

i~or hIs part, k'arlzeau says tnat ne woulu iiew a election victory as. a mandate to egotiate Quebec independence with.Ottawa~

constitution, would. requi:e ratifi cation. by Quebecers in a public referendum. But even Parizeaifs defenders acknowledge that the pressure to move more swiftly to wards independence is unlikely to wane. Said PQ MNA and par. mili tant Pauline Marois: `People are

At th~ same time, cntics nave begun to questkn whether Pan zeau has the ersona1 vigor and

popularity to capitalize on the party's stand ing in the polls. Indeed, some Péquistes suggest privately that former federal cabi net minister Lucien Bouchard-now leader of the Bloc Québécois in the House of Commons-should take over the party. Other party members dismiss such specula tion. Said former PQ cabinet minister Ber nard Landry: "Quebec is destined for inde pendence-and it is Parizeau who deserves to lead us there." But it is clear that the rising impatience within the PQ could fuel not only a bitter policy debate-but also a damaging fight over the leadership itself.

DAN BURKE