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  The s-word
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ContributorIndyGeorgia 
Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Aug 02, 2015 09:21pm
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CategoryGeneral
AuthorThe Economist
MediaNewspaper - Economist (The)
News DateSunday, April 6, 2014 03:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionWHEN Pierre Karl Péladeau (pictured) raised a clenched fist in the air on March 9th and declared he wanted Quebec to be an independent country, Quebeckers took notice. Unfortunately for the ruling Parti Québécois (PQ), for whom the multimillionaire media baron is a star candidate in the April 7th election, it was the wrong kind of attention. Independence, or sovereignty as the PQ likes to call it, might be the party’s raison d’être but the majority of Quebeckers do not want another divisive referendum after failed votes in 1980 and 1995. The PQ was slightly ahead of the second-place Liberals when Mr Péladeau’s candidacy was unveiled. It has been sliding downward ever since.

Why Pauline Marois, who is trying to turn the PQ minority government of September 2012 into a majority, did not see this coming is a bit of a mystery. Until Mr Péladeau thrust independence to the forefront, Ms Marois assiduously avoided talk of a referendum, preferring to focus on a proposed secular charter that would prohibit civil servants from wearing overt religious symbols such as a hijab or turban. Opponents expected the separatist party would tap the latent xenophobia of rural and elderly Francophone voters in order to secure a majority, and then pick fights with the federal government to bolster separatist feeling before calling a referendum.
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