Couillard, Marois meeting only next week
The Canadian PressFriday, April 11, 2014
QUEBEC - Quebec premier-designate Phillipe Couillard will have to wait at least a few more days before discussing the transition of power with his predecessor, Pauline Marois.
The symbolic but important post-election meeting signifying the change typically takes place a few days after a provincial election.
Interim Parti Quebecois Leader Stephane Bedard said Friday a face-to-face encounter should occur sometime early next week but he did not specify the day.
It isn't expected before Tuesday.
In the meantime, members of the Liberal transition team have been meeting behind the scenes with their PQ counterparts.
In September 2012, outgoing Liberal premier Jean Charest met with Marois just 48 hours after his party's election loss.
There was still no official word from Marois's camp on Friday, four days after Monday's general election which saw the Liberals snag 70 of the 125 seats in the legislature to form a majority government.
The PQ was left with 30 seats following the stunning defeat and Marois lost her own riding of Charlevoix-Cote-de-Beaupre.
The outgoing premier has been careful to avoid reporters since announcing on election night she was stepping down.
According to Charles Robert, an associate of Couillard, the radio silence from Marois's inner circle is, at the very least, "surprising."
The Liberals had hoped for a meeting within two or three days of the election but were rebuffed, Robert said.
The final PQ caucus meeting should be held next week while the income premier intends to form his own cabinet the following week, after Easter.
Bedard, who was named interim leader Thursday, told a news conference the transition process is well under way and has been harmonious. There is a spirit of co-operation with the Liberals, and government departments have opened their doors, he said.
In Bedard's opinion, the date of a Couillard-Marois meeting is not as pressing as it's made out to be.
"In the first two days or in the first seven, it doesn't matter, the transition has already started," Bedard said."The people are meeting also, there aren't any problems. I think trying to make a story out of this is missing the point."