Quebec Premier Pauline Marois takes sovereignty road show to NYC

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Pauline Marois has taken her sovereignty road show to Manhattan.

According to the Canadian Press, the Quebec premier addressed a crowd of well-heeled business types at a swank event in New York, on Thursday, telling them that they shouldn't lose sleep over an independent Quebec.

"As you know, I hope that one day the people of Quebec will one day be a part of the concert of nations," she said, adding that sovereignty would not change borders or the province's relationship with the U.S.

"This is an internal debate. This will happen when Quebecers are ready."

[ Related: Marois tells Americans she hopes Quebec will become sovereign one day ]

Marois is in the Big Apple trying woo more investment from New York — a state that already receives nine per cent of the province's exports.

But, it seems, wherever she goes, she can't help but promote her goal of a sovereign Quebec.

In an interview with Bloomberg News published Friday, Marois said independence is "a very good idea" for Quebec "because we will decide our economic policy, our fiscal policy, our social policy."

She did, however, rule out calling a referendum until she earns a majority government and had some interesting things to say about recent poll results that suggested support for sovereignty was on the decline.

"Support for sovereignty depends on the question that pollsters ask, Marois said.

"When you ask the question: 'Do you want sovereignty?' support is low, 30 percent or so," she said.

"If you ask the question we asked in the referendum -- 'Do you want to be sovereign, but with an agreement with the rest of Canada' — some months we have 45 or 46 percent support.""

Could Marois be hinting about a future referendum question?

Despite all the sovereignty talk, it appears that New Yorkers aren't too concerned.

According to the Globe and Mail, the premier's two-day investment junket has been received well.

"It is excellent for Quebec and Canada to be visible here," Daniel Arbess, a partner at a boutique investment bank told the Globe.

[ Related: 1976 PQ law prohibits current leader Marois from selling $6M home ]

"Such occasions serve to remind investors that New York's ties with Quebec span a wide range of areas — particularly hydro-electric power," he said adding that investors aren't unnerved by talk of independence.

"At this stage of history, investors tend to be concerned on more immediate questions."