{ Au Revoir } ~ Jacques Parizeau

Former Premier of Quebec, Jacques Parizeau, has died.
An event that will be greeted with mixed responses from different parts of the country.  Unarguably, he was a competent and highly respected Financial minister within the first PQ government.  Indeed, his acumen helped transform the party from 'protest movement' to 'competent governance' - certainly he was no less accomplished than any of his predecessors in the post and that was the point.  It gave that first PQ government respectability and made them a viable option for the mainstream.  Parizeau was invaluable for this purpose.
He had his chance as leader of the Separatist cause with decidedly mixed results.
Parizeau was a purist and a 'true-believer'. There would be no studied ambiguity like his former predecessor Rene Levesque. No 'essay question' would be posed when he called the Referendum.  It was a clear and simple choice between separation: 'yes' or 'no'.  For his cause, this was almost complete disaster.
There is much revisionism regarding the last referendum, but at the time, Parizeau's choice was leading the 'Yes' forces to a clear and comprehensive defeat.  Chretien was being hailed as a master-mind for letting his opponents fall on their own swords.  That changed mid-way through the campaign when Parizeau was forced to step aside for Lucien Bouchard, the talismanic and telegenic leader of the federalist Bloc Quebecois, who had recently survived near-death experience from a flesh-eating virus that claimed one of his legs.  Bouchard revitalized the 'Yes' forces with his 'virage'- a change in the path- and Canadians and Quebeckers were back to the studied ambiguity 'sovereignty-association' or something similar.  It was humiliating for Parizeau, no doubt, and some of that contributed for sure to his intemperate concession speech when he blamed 'money and the ethnic vote'.  His political career was finished.
Cartoons that dealt with Parizeau through the years which were printed in The Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Star, and Portfoolio. These are scanned from photocopies; the originals reside in the National Archives of Canada.
Pen, brush and ink on paper were the materials.


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