The AIP has been approved by seven communities so far with only one dissenting. At the time of printing Waskaganish voters were still going to the polls. Whapmagoostui saw 145 people voting yes compared to 86 for the no side. Wemindji yes voters numbered 339 to 44 for the no-side. Grand Chief Ted Moses hometown of Eastmain voted 193 to 40 for signing the AIP. Nemaska’s yes vote was 142 with 55 voting no. Mistissini seen 904 voting yes with 134 voting no. Ouje-Bougoumou was 143 over 38 for the deal to be signed. Waswanipi saw 261 yes votes with 103 saying no.
Chisasibi was the odd man out with the largest voter turnout so far. It was a close race as Chisasibi residents voted 668 on the no side with 621 voting yes out of 1298 ballots cast.
Landry Shuffles The Deck Premier Bernard Landry has dealt himself a new hand in the never-ending game of high-stakes political poker. In a move that experts suggest points towards a possible election call, Landry has drawn up a new starting lineup for team PQ.
Landry claimed he was trying strike a balance between experience, expertise and excitement by introducing 13 new faces to cabinet. The move has increased the size of Landry’s cabinet to 36 members, much larger than the 22 ministers who served in Bouchard’s cabinet. An appointment to the cabinet comes with perks like a limousine, staff and a bodyguard.
While some feel that an election could be called by the fall, others have suggested it might be a year or more before we see one called. Unless an election is called by spring, the PQ will have to get through six by-elections, three must be called by mid-March and three more by the summer as a result of the departure of the three resigning cabinet ministers.
The cabinet shuffle is but the latest big move geared toward placing Landry’s imprint on the governing party. The signing of the AIP last October was considered a major move toward solidifying Landry’s position as provincial leader. Now, having selected new cards to play with, Landry is hoping to load the deck in his favour.