You may or may not be aware,(probably not) that the Parti Quebecois launched an online petition demanding that Premier Charest call a public inquiry into the nefarious graft, contract rigging, payoffs and tax-avoidance goings on in Quebec's construction industry.
Even if a million people signed the petition, Premier Charest would resist, to his death, any notion of a public inquiry. There are just too many skeletons to bare and even if the government would be found blameless (which it wouldn't) for the shenanigans, they would still pay the price come election time.
It's likely that the PQ is well aware of that fact and probably decided on the petition as a way to keep the controversy in the public eye.
For Mr Charest, the lesson of Prime Minister Martin, who's government was shot down over the sponsorship inquiry, which he foolishly himself launched, is not lost.
As Jean Chretien said, scoffing at the inept decision making of Martin, " Better to sweep the whole thing under the carpet, even if it makes a big bump!"
No amount of political heat compares to the damage that would be caused to the Liberal government of Mr. Charest had he gone ahead with the inquiry and after all, Mr. Charest's parents may have raised chubby boys, but not particularly stupid ones. He is the ultimate political boxer, knowing when and where to attack, but more importantly, when to duck and play rope-a-dope.
The petition is now closed and for the PQ, the issue will soon be mercifully forgotten. The project, which seemed like a good idea at the time, backfired badly, it's dismal performance actually serving as validation for Mr. Charest's strategy of 'Batten down the hatches.'
How bad did the petition do?.... Very bad.
Less than 1 out of every 120 Quebeckers signed.
The 60,000 signatures the petition garnered is humiliating when one considers that there are over 100,000 card carrying members of the Parti Quebecois party itself!
There's just no underestimating the apathy of the Quebec electorate. Perhaps if the PQ had included the ADQ as a sponsor of the petition, they'd have done better, but because they went it alone, it was seen as just another partisan, cynical political gambit.
I tried to get a copy of the petition and see who signed it. I'm convinced that it's roll is full of many 'Donald Ducks' and 'Capitaine Bonhommes', the petition is just to fat a target for pranksters to miss.
As you may recall, Quebec humorist Jean-René Dufort known as INFOMAN cast a vote via telephone in the ADQ leadership race last year. He voted under the name of OMAR BONGO, the recently deceased notorious dictator of Gabon, in Africa.
The eventual winner of the race, Gilles Taillon won by just two votes! The affair got many laughs and much publicity and so, I am sure that the PQ petition was subject to many such fraudulent signatures.
Unless the petition is actually delivered, which it has not been up to now, we'll never find out.
Everything related to the project has been an abject failure. When Bernard Drainville the PQ MNA attempted to create a photo-op by soliciting signatures in the Longueuil metro stations, he was filmed getting hassled by Metro cops who threatened him with a ticket for illegal soliciting. It was quite a humiliating scene.
Last year the PQ set up a web site where people could sign the petition, which included a blog which wrote about the activities of the petition. The web site has 42 blog entries going back to last May and generated a pitiful 31 comments in almost a year.
Yikes, even I do better than that!