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Canada maybe the last place on earth you expect political violence but after Wednesday’s provincial election in Quebec that’s exactly what happened. And this wasn’t the work of some deranged loner. Apparently a local businessman tried to assassinate Quebec’s new premiere Pauline Marois, killing one person and wounded one in the process. He also tried to set fire to the Montreal club the Parti Quebecois was holding its victory celebration in.
There has been violence recently in Quebec but it’s been more of the Occupy-kind, rioting students in Montreal protesting tuition hikes which helped to undermine the ruling LP government. The alleged assassin, 62-year old Richard Henry Bain, reportedly shouted anti-Quebecois slogans while being taken away into custody. Marois was trying to revive the sovereignty debate after its has fallen into the doldrums over the past decade of Liberal Party rule. Although the PQ won this was due more to the Grits mismanagement, corruption and voter fatigue with the Liberals (even outgoing Premiere Jean Charet lost his riding) more than a desire for a another referendum (which if held only 30 percent would vote for, if that.) It would be political suicide for her minority government to try something like this (and no one expects her government to last very long anyway).
Still, there is one thing which could revive the debate, and that’s the attitude the ruling Tories takes toward the PQ. If they treat them with contempt, not only could it help the PQ provincially it could help the NDP consolidate their Quebec gains from the last Federal election and truly send the Grits to the ashbin of history. How the Harper government treats Quebec with a distinctly unfriendly, leftist government will show whether Canada’s politics have become as polarized as American politics (and unavoidably so) now that the NDP is the official opposition.