Quebec Premier Pauline Marois says she has no immediate plans to meet Harper

DAVOS, Switzerland – Premier Pauline Marois says she has no immediate plans to press Prime Minister Stephen Harper for another meeting to push her political demands.

Marois talked tough in Quebec’s election campaign last year, saying she would pick fights with Ottawa to get more powers.

The two leaders met in Kinshasa at the summit of francophone nations last October, a month after Marois formed a minority government.

She said a get-together with Harper is still on her mind.

“When it’s possible, I’ll try to get a meeting with Mr. Harper,” she said Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“For now, I’ll do my prep work.”

Marois is being criticized back home by opposition parties who suggest her strategy of sovereigntist governance is simply aimed at laying the groundwork for Quebec independence.

Spokesmen for the provincial Liberals and the Coalition party say Marois has no mandate to try to win new powers from the federal government as part of a long-term goal of achieving sovereignty.

Marois says her strategy of sovereigntist governance is aimed at defending Quebec’s interests, a role she insists has been assumed by previous Quebec governments,

“I am stunned,” Marois said Thursday after learning of the opposition criticism of the sovereigntist governance strategy.

“We were elected after all. With a minority, but with the program we have. I’m not going to prevent myself from governing just because I lead a minority government.”

The opposition is putting heat on the PQ because of a renewed push planned this year for its sovereigntist agenda.

There are reports Quebec Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Alexandre Cloutier is working on a plan to get more powers from Ottawa.

Marois didn’t address sovereigntist strategy but said the Liberal and Coalition parties have both agreed with the transfer of powers regarding culture and communications to Quebec.

She also says a campaign to promote sovereignty to be launched this winter will be financed exclusively by the PQ.

That campaign has also been denounced by the opposition.

Other PQ objectives include obtaining Quebec data from the defunct federal gun registry as well as powers over employment insurance.

There is a broad consensus in favour of getting the gun data but support for getting control of EI is less clear.