Despite somewhat healthy leads and something of a moral high ground these days (thanks the the PLQ's various scandals), the separatist Parti Quebecois had three high-profile defections from their caucus today, dropping from 52 seats to 49, as well as screwing over any chance Pauline Marois had at credibility in the near future.
The defections are Bourdas MNA Pierre Curzi, who once said a stronger PQ government could remove the voting rights of anglophones; Rosemont MNA Louise Beaudoin, a former Parizeau/Bouchard/Landry minister; and Cremazie MNA Lisette Lapointe, famous for being Jacques Parizeau's wife.
Is this huge? Well, take it in context of why they defected: they did it because of arena funding. Yep, that's right: arena funding.
The Quebec City arena deal, which by now has been totally forgotten by more important arena-related events, is refusing to lie dormant. The issue surrounds the fact that Taschereau's PQ MNA Agnès Maltais brought forward and was supported on a bill to "protect" Quebec City after the multi-millions poured into the arena by Quebecor, and questions over how the deal was tendered.
Those three MNAs, all Montreal-area MNAs I may add, didn't like the deal, so they decided to leave and sit as "independents committed to sovereignty." Whatever that means.
Back to the original question: is this a big deal? Very possibly. While they aren't as high profile as everyone makes them out to be, it speaks volumes of how two long-time supporters of the PQ, along with one of their newer MNAs, are so easily alienated. And I suspect there are more where that came from that didn't want to take a step forward. There may also be something else beneath the surface; I'm sure at the very least Ms. Beaudoin has seen worse letdowns than this, so what gives? Is the arena funding really that serious?
Make up your own minds, but I think there's something else there. And I don't think we've seen the last of it.