Liberal win boon for PM
By ALLISON DUNFIELD
Globe and Mail Update
Tuesday, Apr. 15, 2003
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said the Liberal win in Quebec is a boon to both the Liberal Party and him as he enters the final months of his leadership of the federal party.
“It’s very good news because the government of Quebec — the party that was forming — had the objective to eventually do the separation of Quebec. And they lost the election yesterday by a big margin, and for me who has been fighting this problem for a long time I had a lot of pleasure,” Mr. Chrétien said Tuesday from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, where is on a mini-trade mission and later taking a golf vacation.
In Monday’s provincial election, Jean Charest led the Liberals to a convincing 45.8 per cent of the vote. The Parti Québécois, which had been in power for nine years, garnered only 33.2 per cent of the vote under the leadership of Bernard Landry. The right-wing Action Démocratique du Québec, under relative newcomer Mario Dumont, received 18.3 per cent of the vote.
Mr. Chrétien said as his leadership of the federal Liberals winds down, “the conditions of Canada are very, very good, economically, fiscally, and trade wise.”
Mr. Chrétien said a friend told him of the Liberal victory in Quebec — “This is the cherry on the sundae … the red cherry.”
“Rouge is the colour of my party, you know,” Mr. Chrétien told reporters in the Dominican Republic, where he signed seven new trade agreements between Canada and the Dominican Republic on Tuesday.
The seven investment deals are worth $619-million. A statement from the Prime Minister’s office said they will enhance co-operation on trade, energy-efficiency projects, mining and engineering across the Dominican Republic. The country is one of Canada’s largest trading partners in the Caribbean, with $245-million in two-way trade in 2002.
“These agreements are indicative of the considerable investment potential in the Dominican Republic,” Mr. Chrétien said. “Companies in both countries are realizing the gains that can be made from enhanced co-operation, which lays the groundwork for broader and deeper partnerships.”
The Prime Minister also noted that the Canadian International Development Agency has agreed to provide $17.8-million for HIV/AIDS programs between the two countries.