Federal Cabinet Members come to Quebec for a Soirée Bleue

Photo: Nelson Peters

Minister Josee Verner with members of ACDUL, a Conservative student organization at Laval University

This past Thursday an elegant crowd gathered at the Chateau Laurier to welcome the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Josee Verner as well as Minister of the Environment Jim Prentice. Both were in town despite the prorogation of Canada's parliament to meet and greet the hundreds of Conservative supporters in attendance, as well as show their support for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. 

Minister Verner took to the podium and welcomed the crowd with aplomb, thanking several individuals in the crowd individually for their participation, including several Senators, Members of Parliament, as well as the local candidate in the riding of Louis-Hébert, Pierre Paul-Hus. She noted that the inspiration for the "Soirée Bleue" came from the Mulroney era of the party, a period of solid majorities never far from the minds of Conservatives in Quebec. Steven Blaney, MP for Lévis-Bellechasse was not in attendance, having gone to Montreal to welcome the first airplane filled with refugees from the recent earthquake in Haiti.
Eventually Madame Verner introduced Minister Prentice, who began speaking in decent French before gradually switching to English, his manner of speech affected with a discernable Albertan twang. He drew laughs from the crowd before recounting a moving story about a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan. Finally, he ended with a stirring call to arms and an appeal for support for the leadership of Stephen Harper.
Although the crowd was mostly composed of older, distinguished guests, several members of the Association conservatrice de l'Université Laval (ACDUL) were in attendance, and were able to meet both Ministers. Jean-Christophe De Le Rue is President of the Association, and although he was not present at the meeting of cabinet ministers, having accompanied Deputy Blaney to Montreal, he was able to answer a few questions for the Chronicle-Telegraph:
 QCT: What is ACDUL?
ACDUL is the name of our political association, which came to existence about six months ago. We are a group of young students who share the principles of the Conservative Party of Canada. Our main purpose is to provide information to our fellow students, so that they make the right choice in the next federal election. Above all, we are students interested in the political life of our country.
QCT: How can you defend Stephen Harper's prorogation at this time? 
Our Prime minister is currently dealing with the most aggressive economic crisis Canada has faced since 1929. Prorogating the Parliament was an exceptional solution to an exceptional problem. We believe Mr. Harper has to keep working on his"Economic Action Plan" for Canada in order to keep our economy strong. His plan has been successful so far, as Canada was both the last country hit by the crisis and the first one to overcome it. 
QCT: What do you think will be the most important issues in the next election? 
Our country has one of the stronger economies in the world, but that economy is threatened by many issues, particularly our enormous debt. Can we pass that burden onto our children? As well, sustainable development is one of the keys of a strong economy as well as a greener world. 
QCT: How will voting for the Conservative party in Quebec benefit its English-speaking community?
The English-speaking community represents around 20% of the population of our province. We believe that maintaining a good relationship with the English-speaking community should be the core of any serious party since we do share a country.