June 15th, 2024

Jean Charest’s son reacts after Legault says comparison to ex-premier is ‘insulting’

By The Canadian Press on October 25, 2023.

Quebec Economy and Innovation Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, (left to right), former Quebec premier Jean Charest, Quebec Premier Francois Legault and Hydro Quebec president Michael Sabia visit the La Romaine hydroelectric plant, Thursday, October 12, 2023, in Havre Saint-Pierre, Que. Jean Charest's son is responding after Quebec Premier François Legault suggested it's an insult to be compared to the former federalist premier. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

QUEBEC – Jean Charest’s son is sticking up for his father after Quebec Premier François Legault suggested it’s an insult to be compared to the former premier.

Antoine Dionne Charest wrote on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, that Legault’s decision to insult a former premier was disrespectful, ungenerous and unworthy of the office he holds.

The dispute comes after Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon suggested in the legislature that Legault’s discourse on Quebec independence is identical to that of Charest and former prime minister Jean Chrétien.

Referring to the recent exchanges with the PQ leader, Legault can be heard in a video published by the Journal de Québec asking if there could be “anything more insulting” than being compared to Charest, who led the province from 2003 to 2012.

The sovereignty debate has been resurrected in the legislature in recent days as the Parti Québécois presented its theoretical budget for the first year of an independent Quebec.

When needled on the issue by St-Pierre Plamondon, Legault, a former PQ cabinet minister, has repeated his stance that Quebecers aren’t interested in a referendum and have no desire to resurrect tired debates over federalism versus sovereignty.

On Tuesday, St-Pierre Plamondon said the phrasing Legault used in the legislature to refer to the sovereignty debate was “the expression of Jean Chrétien.” And last week, he said he “thought (he) was hearing Jean Charest” as Legault criticized his financial plan for independence.

Legault was seen in the video on Tuesday asking a reporter, “Is there anything more insulting than being called Jean Charest?” He then added, “He even said ‘Jean Chrétien.’ Really!”

Speaking Wednesday, St-Pierre Plamondon said he hadn’t been insulting Legault, but merely pointing out the similarity between his words and those of the former federalist leaders.

“I think François Legault doesn’t like me putting a mirror in front of him,” he said.

The PQ leader called on Legault to “rectify” his words, but refused to say whether he should apologize.

Legault appeared in public with Charest less than two weeks ago, when the two made a joint appearance to inaugurate the Romaine hydroelectrical complex, which was launched during Charest’s leadership.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2023.

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