Saturday, June 03, 2006

On favours

From Jean Charest's comments yesterday, it would appear that he's turned against the Harper federal government completely. But I have to wonder whether he's ultimately trying to force an election now for the federal Cons' benefit:
Quebec Premier Jean Charest challenged Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe on Friday to bring down the minority federal government over its refusal to pay its share of a made-in-Quebec program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Charest said if Duceppe is serious about defending Quebec's interests, the Bloc will vote against the federal budget.

"If Gilles Duceppe wants to ... criticize the premier of Quebec, I invite him to do what people have mandated him to do in respect to his responsibilities," a combative Charest told reporters after signing a series of new agreements with Ontario.

"He represents Quebecers in the House of Commons. If he believes in what he is saying, unless it is empty rhetoric, well then he will vote against the budget in the House of Commons. So we'll see who has backbone."
Now, I'll readily agree with Charest that the budget isn't one that Duceppe should be supporting without some serious changes. But considering the frequency with which Charest and Harper are allied on particular issues (not to mention Charest's need to secure federal support to try to stay in power), it would be surprising to see Charest calling for the federal government's head already without at least some implicit approval from the federal Cons. Which makes it seem rather likely that Charest's call is simply a first step in a movement by the Cons to try to force an election before the Libs can sort out their leadership mess.

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