Legault has already “thought” of becoming leader of the PLQ!

For which François Legault, will the CAQ voters vote on October 3?

There were several! To be convinced of this, read the enlightening text by historian Éric Bédard in the latest issue of L’Inconvénient (aut. 2022).

In the early 2000s, Bédard, for 3 years, wrote speeches for Legault, who was, between 1998 and 2002, Minister of Education for the PQ governments.

In his portrait entitled “François Legault, the manager”, Bédard tries to identify, from the direct access he had to the man, certain fundamental traits of his thought.

Business man

Legault embodies a rare breed in Quebec politics: businessman, entrepreneur. In history, we had above all had lawyers, professors, ex-trade unionists.

Admittedly, in the 1980s, “entrepreneurial” liberal stars, who dreamed of replacing the Welfare State with the Provigo State – operating “like the private sector”, were ministers. But Legault is keen on the achievements of the Quiet Revolution.

His conception of politics is “managerial”. But he does not want, like the neoliberal right, less state, but a better managed, more “efficient” state, his watchword.

“He dreamed of improving or transforming the mechanics, not changing the engine”, illustrates Bédard. How to achieve it? “Accountability”, “reward for effort and imagination”. Hence the “performance contracts” that he is trying to impose.

Note: the debates on the political regime, “identity in danger”, very little for him, remembers Bédard: “The François Legault of that time, I am convinced, would not have raised the specter of a Louisianization of Quebec. »

In 2010, Legault left the PQ for a year. He thinks of creating a new party. Consults former comrades-in-arms, including Éric Bédard.

His new political formation will be nationalist, but non-sovereignist. Bédard, jokingly, retorts: but why not become leader of the PLQ then? He expects Legault to “giggle with laughter”. Oh no! “Seriously”, he confesses “having thought about it”! Before adding: “But the liberal brand is no longer good. »


Bédard has trouble understanding Legault’s “identity” turn. He asks himself: sincere conversion or opportunism?

The roads of the historian and the politician have separated. But to understand today’s Legault, I think you have to go back to the year 2015: departure in April of the ultra-federalist Gérard Deltell; bitter failure of the CAQ in the partial Chauveau in June; logo change (from multicolored to blue) in November. Transmutation will prove very “profitable” in 2018.

Moreover, if we are to believe a Léger survey recently commissioned by the IRAI Institute, the defense of the Quebec state, the desire to increase its powers, is still very promising: “clear majorities” of Quebecers want that Quebec has all the powers in terms of culture (77%) and language (73%), among other things.

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