Sunday, April 17, 2011

Can You Appease a Sleeping Giant?

This weekend in Montreal the Parti Quebecois is holding a convention. They gave their leader Pauline Marois a 93% confidence vote. If any time in opposition can be considered good times, these are good times for the PQ. The Quebec Liberal Party and Premier Jean Charest are about as popular as the Boston Bruins. The widely held consensus among the pundits and prognosticators is that barring a major reversal of fortune, Pauline Marois will be elected as the new premier of Quebec in the next election. That election will likely take place sometime in the next 24 months. Yes, boys and girls the separatists will be back in power in Quebec by sometime in 2013. This means for the first time in a decade, the threat of separation will be wielded by a government in power.

Why mention this in the middle of a federal election? I mention this because our current federal leaders seem to have given up the good fight of selling the idea of Canada to Quebeckers. Mr. Harper who brought forward the sordid Quebec nation resolution five years ago has never believed in a strong federation and seems content to give away the store to try to avoid the issue. Mr. Layton wants to limit the use of English in federal offices in Quebec. For his appeasing and the personal popularity of presumed leader-in-waiting Thomas Mulcair, the NDP is in record territory in Quebec. Finally, and most distressing for me, the Liberal Party, the traditional defenders of this country as a country, as more than a collection of provinces is led by a man who seems almost sublimely unaware of the problem. Let us not forget that it was Mr. Ignatieff and his musings in 2006 that led to the nation resolution that M. Duceppe beat the other leaders over the head with during the debates this week. How will any of these leaders stand up and defend a united Canada if and when Mme. Marois takes Quebeckers back into a referendum after they've already conceded so much sovereignty already?


WesternGrit said...

Harper content with giving away the store? He's up to much more than that.

Growing up in the Prairies - and having a Reform MP for a Godfather (yes)... I know what these guys have been saying since day one: they always hated Quebec, and want Quebec to separate from Canada. Ask any foaming-at-the-mouth Reform-a-Tory and they'll tell you what they think of Quebec. People in AB, SK, and Manitoba are still raging over French being "forced" on them. Their angry bile of NEP, gun registry, Kyoto, the Canadian Wheat Board, and "French" are real. Some of those hates go back to the 70s and cross generations.

Harper will surprise us on the Quebec situation. He won't cede anything... He'll just say goodbye to the Province which hasn't liked him from day one. He will do this to tilt the Parliamentary numbers massively in his favor... destroying Canada's progressive nature - for so much of that is based in the very strong and vibrant Quebec culture.

Miles Lunn said...

I think the PQ would want to win it and considering the BQ is consistently polling under 40% and support for sovereignty is well below 50% they would hold off calling a referendum until they had the winning conditions. Now if Harper wins a majority and takes a hard turn to the right, this could change things as Quebec is more left wing than other provinces.

Westerngrit - While many right wingers may want Quebec to leave, I don't believe it would be the end of the Progressive politics in Canada. Asides from Alberta, the other three Western provinces have all elected NDP governments at one time or another, Ontario is pretty evenly split, and in Atlantic Canada most Tories are Red Tories so if they party swung too far to the right they would go over to the Liberals. In fact I could see the Liberals and NDP merging and considering the Tories usually get over 40% in English Canada, but almost never over 50% (I believe the last time was 1958) they would have to moderate or stay in the wilderness.

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