PQ rene­gade gets good au­di­ence

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS BRIEFS - Staff Sher­brooke

For

a party of one, the sep­a­ratist Op­tion Na­tionale may be on to some­thing. Its chief and sole rep­re­sen­ta­tive at the Na­tional Assem­bly, Jean-martin Aus­sant, was in Sher­brooke last Thurs­day in front of a stand­ing room only au­di­ence at the Univer­sité de

Sher­brooke at noon and in front of around thirty to forty at a one hun­dred dol­lars a pop fundraiser later in the evening. If the first event turnout was to be ex­pected, the fact that a prac­ti­cally un­known, who nev­er­the­less was able to jump to 2% in the re­cent CROP/LA Presse sur­vey, was able to raise a cou­ple of thou­sand dol­lars on his first visit to Sher­brooke raises some ques­tions as to the out­come of the next elec­tion.

Mr. Aus­sant, who rep­re­sents Ni­co­let-ya­maska which is across the Saint-lawrence from Three-rivers, is a rare beast. Not much is known of him; he is around forty and if not for a twit­ter ex­change last sum­mer, when he ad­mit­ted need­ing help about how to raise twin tod­dlers, not much is public knowl­edge. What is known is that he has a rather im­pres­sive re­sumé , with stud­ies in Eng­land and Spain, and real busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­ter­na­tional bank­ing sec­tor, hav­ing risen to a vi­cepres­i­dency at a sub­sidiary of Mor­gan Stan­ley, in London.

“I can only see ad­van­tages for Canada if Que­bec be­comes a sov­er­eign coun­try and even more for Que­bec, nat­u­rally,” he said. While the speech is well known, it is un­usual that it comes from a banker with Cana­dian and Euro­pean ex­pe­ri­ence un­der his wing.

Asked about the place of An­glo­phones in an in­de­pen­dent Que­bec, we learned that the PQ, he was a mem­ber un­til the de­fec­tion of five mem­bers

last June, had al­ways de­nied him the op­tion of giv­ing speeches to the An­glo­phone com­mu­nity. “For them it’s a waste of time. I did of­fer to go and speak in English in front of the busi­ness com­mu­nity and was told that the PQ had noth­ing to gain there. Well, as head of my party, I will speak frankly about why Que­bec can be a pros­per­ous in­de­pen­dent coun­try, not only in English but in Span­ish also.”

On Bill 101, where his party wants to re­store it as it was, with no ex­cep­tions, he was both firm and prac­ti­cal. “Ob­vi­ously a busi­ness that op­er­ates on a street full of English speak­ers would get per­mis­sion to do so.”

Speak­ing to his spin­ners af­ter the in­ter­view, once again we were struck by the frank­ness of what they see: a hard road ahead. Asked about the sur­prise show­ing of the Pi­rate Party in Ber­lin last year, we got a star­tled stare.

Photo Stanstead Jour­nal

Jean Martin Aus­sant spoke to a packed au­di­ence at the

Univer­sité de Sher­brooke

last Thurs­day.

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