Quebec Premier Pauline Marois surprised reporters this morning when she announced that the Quebec election, originally slated for next Monday, would be postponed until August the 27th.
“With students from Ontario trying to steal our democracy by registering to vote,” Marois explained, “I cannot afford to let this election go forward on the originally planned date.”
Marois cited her earlier decision to go back on a promise of fixed election dates constitutional justification for this move. The Directeur général des élections du Québec confirmed that the elections had, in fact, been postponed, adding that April 7th will remain an advanced polling date in selected ridings. The DGEQ assured voters that any correlation between PQ strongholds and ridings allowed to vote on the original date was purely coincidental.
The Journal de Montreal, who seemed to have been tipped off in advance, are praising Marois for this move in an editorial which argues that with a much longer election cycle, Quebec is getting much more democracy. But not everyone is happy.
Liberal leader Phillipe Couillard said that he was deeply concerned that the premier would use such tactics. He added that at least it would give Quebeckers time to see what happens when Marois and her husband appear before the Charbonneau commission.
CAQ leader Francois Legeault, on the other hand, applauded the premier’s move.
“Madame Marois,” he said, echoing his recent debate performance, “Madame Marois has shown us that we don’t need the bureaucracy of an election date to practice democracy in Quebec. I welcome these extra months to connect with voters.”
Green leader Alex Tyrrell, while shocked at the announcement, wondered if this would finally show Quebeckers that the big parties did not have the people’s interests at heart. Former candidate Anarchopanda, meanwhile, started laughing uncontrollably and still hasn’t stopped.
It was Quebec Solidaire’s Francoise David, though, who made the most astute observation. After her initial surprise, she said:
“Oh, I get it, very funny. Poisson d’Avril!”
For those who don’t speak French, that means April Fools!