Turmel, a former union leader and longtime Dipper activist, has an interesting history re: support for Quebec Solidaire, everyone's favourite little communist/separatist party that could, led by the determined if boneheaded Amir Khadir, as well as the Bloc Quebecois.
First up, the Quebec Solidaire connection:
[Now former MP] Marcel Proulx accused his challenger, Nycole Turmel, of flirting with separatists in the 2007 provincial election, when the former president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada publicly backed the local candidate for Québec solidaire, a left-leaning sovereigntist party.
Proulx said Turmel's endorsement, as head of the nation's largest federal labour union, was particularly damaging given the federal government's status as West Quebec's top employer.
"Why did she support the separatist Québec solidaire party in the past? Madame Turmel should have known that separation would cost the region thousands of federal public-service jobs," said Proulx, who is seeking his sixth term as MP.That candidate was Bill Clennett, an anti-poverty activist and the guy who Chretien gave a "handshake" to in Shawinigan.
Next up, the Bloc connection:
During the spring election, Turmel was accused of flirting with separatism. That’s because during her time as PSAC president she approved the union’s decision to endorse a slate of Bloc Québécois candidates in the 2006 federal election. The union cited the politicians’ positions on labour issues, not the Bloc’s push for sovereignty, as the reason for the endorsementsNow, to her credit, she did declare afterwards pretty clearly that she wasn't a separatist. I believe her.
“Bloc candidates are better prepared and more willing to cooperate with PSAC in furthering our causes,” the union said in a news release at the time.
However, I question her judgment. As the leader and public face of a union of public service sector workers, a good portion of them federally based, to endorse separatists is not the greatest of ideas in the world. Even in her public statement on the PSAC website, she talks about "25% of Bloc supporters being federalist" and how they support the progressive policies, not separatism. Well, anyone knows that the Bloc doesn't care and won't attune themselves to that supposed support, and that they'll give up lots of their progressive policies if given the chance to stick one in the eye of Canadian federalism. That's their entire purpose, after all.
And now, as leader of the Official Opposition, even in an interim position, one wonders whether that good judgment might return to her.