Dec. 14/12

Pauline Marois, Chef de PQ

Hello! I missed you on 12/12/12, but I was thinking of you. I'm excited to tell you that I've drawn a couple of faces this week. However, I drew Pauline back in late summer.

I only watch French (Quebec) news now, so Pauline is on all the time. After all, she's the head of the Parti Quebecois, which as I understand it is a separatist party. Marois has alluded to seeking independence from Canada, but seems to be focused elsewhere for now.

Marois is Premier of Quebec, but has a minority government, with only 54 of 125 seats. As I understand it, there is another separatist party in the Quebec legislature, plus one that wants to stay part of Canada but gain more autonomy for Quebec. I get the impression the three parties don't actually agree on some key issues.

Since Marois won the election in September, she's been busy. I started watching French news on my kids' return to school. At first, Marois played second fiddle (on television) to the Charbonneau Inquiry. However, with Charbonneau on hiatus, Pauline is on the front line.

The Marois government passed a new budget back in November (the 20th, I think), which was seen as very quick for a government so recently in power. In it, the finance minister expressed hopes for a balanced budget next time. Trying to get there has already resulted in controversy.

As I recall, Marois rolled out the Charter of the French Language not long after. Its purpose is to defend the French language against the encroachment of English in everyday Quebec life. Some people think the Charter goes too far, while others are disappointed that it doesn't go further.

My French is getting better (grace Ms. Marois, the newscasters, and many others), but I don't catch everything. I have come to understand that Marois campaigned on the idea that she (and her party) would fight corruption. They might have their work cut out for them: revelations of long-standing corruption have been a repeating theme in Quebec news since I started watching.

I think that to attack corruption, produce a balanced budget, and defend the French language is a pretty ambitious "pour faire" list. Most governments in North America are struggling just with balancing the budget. I salute Pauline for her courage. As I often mention: French Canada is never boring.

I'm the only Anglo in my family; my wife and kids are all French. My wife has no interest in Quebec politics.

Wikipedia was a source for this article: here and here

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