Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Gilles Duceppe Lands a New Role with Parti Quebecois Government

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Gilles Duceppe Lands a New Role with Parti Quebecois Government

Article excerpt

Gilles Duceppe lands role with PQ gov't


QUEBEC - The former leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Gilles Duceppe, appears to have landed a government job two years after he lost his last one in a historic electoral drubbing.

He is being appointed by the pro-independence Parti Quebecois provincial government to lead a commission whose role will be to fight the feds over changes to skills training.

Duceppe led the Bloc through six federal elections, with some resounding successes, until the sudden and spectacular wipeout in 2011 where his party nearly disappeared and he lost his own seat.

Now the provincial government has confirmed he'll be one of the people appointed to key roles in its so-called "sovereigntist government" strategy, more details of which will be released next week.

"If there's anyone who knows the federal system well, who's had the chance to debate about it, to discuss it, to defend the interests of Quebec, it's certainly Gilles Duceppe," Premier Pauline Marois told the legislature Wednesday.

"I believe he's one of the most competent possible people to do this job, because we believe it's important to continue to make the case on behalf of Quebec's workers."

The appointment drew a heated reaction from the opposition benches -- and an icy one from Ottawa.

The on-the-record response from the federal government was diplomatic: The Harper Tories said they want to negotiate with the provinces to put skills training in the hands of workers and businesses, and they intend to negotiate with Quebec.

More quietly, however, they were conveying a less-than-enthusiastic reaction to news that their former foe would be turned into a federal-provincial interlocutor.

"It's hard to imagine Mr. Duceppe would be in good faith in his dealings with us," said one federal official, who requested anonymity. …

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