Gilles Duceppe lands a new role with Parti Quebecois

QUEBEC – The former leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Gilles Duceppe, appears to have landed a government job in Quebec.

He is being appointed by the pro-independence Parti Quebecois government to lead a commission whose role will be to fight the federal government over changes to skills training.

Duceppe led the Bloc through six federal elections, with numerous successes, before a spectacular wipeout in 2011 in which the party nearly disappeared and he lost his own seat.

Now the provincial government says he’ll be one of the people appointed to key roles in its so-called “sovereigntist government” strategy, with more details coming next week.

Opposition parties in Quebec are blasting the appointment.

The Coalition party says it’s a partisan nomination, designed to “offer a job” to help smooth over an old partisan leadership rift between Duceppe and Premier Pauline Marois.

The Liberals call it a taxpayer-funded “election tour” for sovereigntists, and they describe Duceppe as an “agent provocateur” who will sabotage relations with Ottawa.

The recent federal budget announced plans to shift some of the worker-training responsibility, and cash, away from the provinces toward a new program run by businesses and the federal government, along with the provinces.

In Quebec, where provincial governments tend to jealously guard their jurisdictions, the premier has said she won’t “budge an inch” in helping Ottawa set up the program.

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