Our sustainable development advisor Andre Boisclair just took a job as special envoy to New York. New York is the world’s largest financial center. They influence many things such as the interest rate on Quebec Government bonds. It’s an important job and I’m sure Andre will do Quebec proud.
My wife and I met Andre in October of 2010 over a dinner inMontreal. It was a meal beautifully cooked with Western Canadian shale gas, as I may have gone out of my way to mention to Andre at the time. Andre was delivering a speech the next day on local natural gas development. I was already known to be outspoken on the issue and he primarily wanted to do some fact checking.
At the time, polls had just been released showing 78% of Quebecers were in favor of a moratorium. Andre’s view was anytime 78% of Quebecers agreed on anything, something was wrong. He saw the situation for the mania of the Availibility Cascade. He saw natural gas could make Quebec stronger and improve our shared environment at the same time. He wanted to be out front on the issue leading Quebecers.
Andre and I are an unlikely pair.
Andre’s personal brand as socially liberal and environmentally conscious overshadows his commitment to Quebec’s fiscal strength. His position as a sovereignist is nuanced by his ideal of a Maastricht Treaty model for Canada. This is really only federalism à la mode European.
The public brands oil and gas executives based on cardboard cartoons straight out of Dallas. So my fiscal conservatism will be no surprise to anyone. However, my social liberalism, environmental concern and strong belief in Provincial autonomy may be less obvious.
That Andre and I have a lot more in common than might first be guessed is something. His keen intellect, political entrepreneurialism, and shared commitment to a better society are what cement my admiration and friendship for him.
The most common argument of our opponents, the bloqueux, is the weak logic of ad hominems. On cue they attacked Andre personally for working as an advisor to Questerre. Disgracefully, his weekly spot on RadioCanada and his position as an advisor to Greenpeace were terminated. They purposefully ignored that Andre was active and vocal about shale gas for one year before we asked for his advice. Just a few at the time, such as Stephen Guilbeault, recognized the alternative to confrontation requires us to understand each other.
I’m told all the time that I’m biased. I retort that it doesn’t prove I’m wrong. My biased view is Andre Boisclair has been a true leader and he paved the way for supporters to talk openly about the many benefits of local natural gas development. He helped Questerre and myself to be true to what we believe while being sensitive to the identity and views of Quebecers. I will miss working with Andre.
Pauline Marois hired an exceptional person to represent Quebec in New York. At the same time she took away the most effective proponent of local natural gas development (present company excluded 😉 I truly hope her motivation is to tell the New York investment community that Quebec is open for business.