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A House Divided


New Frontier
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Philippe Cornet slipped into the St. Louis quietly, the smell of cigarette smoke hanging thick in the air. Nodding to the bartender, Philippe was ushered past the general public into a small back room with dim lighting. Palming a twenty to the barkeeper, Philippe found a seat near the end of the table beside his brother, Christopher. The few empty seats at the long table were quickly filling up as high-profile members of La Parti Quebecois slid into the room and seated themselves, none of them speaking. Philippe counted seven Cabinet Ministers and four Assembly Secretaries, plus a handful of key figures from the Church, the unions and even a tall, slim man that Philippe figured to be a representative from the Lafontaine Family, the pinnacle of Quebecois organized crime.

Christopher leaned over to Philippe and whispered in a slow, measured French. "Rumour is old Maxie is behind this meeting, though I can't imagine he'll show up here himself."

"I heard that too, from Geoffrion. I think you're right though. Even if that is true, I would assume that Laboulet will be running this meeting." Philippe sipped the glass of water in front of him.

Philippe and Christopher Cornet were a part of one of Quebec's most high-profile political dynasties, both of them members of the Parti Qebecois Cabinet. Philippe served as Minister of Treasury Board and Revenue, while his younger brother managed the Education portfolio. The third Cornet, Marc, was a junior member of cabinet, tasked with Southern Quebec Economic Development, though he wasn't present. Had he been invited? Philippe made a mental note to ask whoever turned out to be their host.

"I see you've all arrived." A deep, dark French voice from the far end of the table began the proceedings. Philippe looked up and saw that he was right, the meeting was being run by Patrice Laboulet, the Republic's Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. "I think you are all aware of the common trait we share, and the common philosophy we hold."

Indeed, thought Philippe. It was no secret that the Parti Quebecois was a dying organism, its entire framework having been based upon creating a sovereign Quebec. That goal reached, it didn't take a rocket scientist to know that the party wasn't likely to survive until the next election. The people assembled in this smoky backroom were all known to be among the party's more nationalist wing, closely aligned with Quebec's figurehead, President Maxime Vigneault, as well as the Catholic establishment.

"Quebec deserves to take its seat as a major power, and we must pursue the advancement of Quebec, the Catholic Church, and the global status of the French language and culture. Prime Miniser Picard is either unwilling or unable to seek such advancements, and La Parti Quebecois includes too many weak social democrats. As we move forward, we will need a new vehicle."

Philippe nodded and murmured his agreement, and he was not alone. It seemed that the present company had been well-chosen, for the entire group voiced their agreement, except for one. Philippe couldn't help but notice that the man from the Lafontaine crime family remained silent.

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