Contrary to tradition, the prime minister Philippe Couillard was not consulted by his federal counterpart, Stephen Harper, when choosing the future Lieutenant Governor of Quebec.
And Mr. Couillard will not challenge this approach.
Prime Minister Harper announced Tuesday that the next representative of the Queen in Quebec was J. Michel Doyon. He will succeed Pierre Duchesne, based in Quebec since 2007.
That year, in May, when appointing the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, Prime Minister Harper had consulted the then Prime Minister, Jean Charest, as is the tradition in Quebec-Ottawa relations.
In 1990, for example, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney had also sought the consent of his counterpart, Robert Bourassa, before appointing Senator Martial Asselin to the position, to ensure that this choice would be welcomed at Quebec.
The Prime Minister, however, no constitutional obligation to do so.
Thus, on two occasions, in 1996, former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien refused to consult his Quebec counterpart Lucien Bouchard in August before appointing Jean-Louis Roux as lieutenant governor and then Lise Thibault, in December of the same year , to succeed Mr. Roux forced to resign following a controversy.
Outraged, Lucien Bouchard had publicly displayed his discontent at the appointment of actor Jean-Louis Roux, both denouncing the choice of candidate as having been excluded from the process by Prime Minister Chrétien.
The National Assembly had even passed a resolution to force the federal government to consult on this matter.
Asked whether Mr. Couillard was a whiff of the appointment of Mr. Doyon, the spokesman of the Prime Minister, Charles Robert, said Wednesday to The Associated Press that “the cabinet of Mr. Harper did not our firm consulted on the choice of the new Lieutenant Governor. ”
He hastened to add that this appointment was the “prerogative” of exclusive premier of Canada.
According to him, there is no tradition of “formal consultation” on this issue in the relations between Quebec and Ottawa.
Each year, Québec must pay $ 750,000 for the operation of the Lieutenant-Governor.
The PQ opposition for its part considers that the function is archaic and should be abolished altogether.
On his Facebook page on Wednesday, the leader of the official opposition, Pierre Karl Péladeau, described the function of “outmoded and outdated” unfortunate symbol and “incarnation of Quebec subservient to the Queen of England.”
This is according to him a waste of public funds, and questions to know “why the Liberal Prime Minister Philippe Couillard has he not taken advantage of the departure of Pierre Duchesne to ask simply the Abolition of the lieutenant governor? ”
The Prime Minister Harper did not respond to a request for explanation.
To choose a new lieutenant governor for Quebec, Prime Minister Harper created an advisory committee to make recommendations by drawing up a shortlist of potential candidates. But the prime minister has the final choice of candidate to remember.