2008/04/02

Harper's Tories Pandering to Quebec

According to the Globe and Mail, the Harper government is telling Quebecers that if the Conservatives win a majority in the next election, they will look to reopen the Constitution and give more meaning to their recognition of Quebeckers as a nation. Jean-Pierre Blackburn linked satisfying“Quebec's historical demands'' to the possibility of the Conservatives winning 30 to 40 seats in Quebec, up from the current 11. Blackburn indicated that the Conservatives will launch further constitutional talks with the provinces if the Conservatives form a majority. According to a recent poll the Conservatives and the Bloc are neck and neck, at 29 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively in Quebec.

It appears that Harper's Conservatives are prepared to sell their principles (assuming they have some) for the sake of stealing some nationalist seats from the BQ in the next election in the hope of securing a majority. How will this go down in the Conservative/Reform heartland out west? If I were a Liberal stategist, I'd be arranging for someone (not Dion) to give great prominence to Blackburn's comments in Saskatechewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Why let Harper get away with this dumb move without subjecting it to the cold light of day?

Have they forgotten the Kim Campbell debacle after Mulroney's attempts to buy Quebec off through Meech Lake and later Charlottetown? Maybe there's still some hope for the Liberals after all.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080402.wquebec02/BNStory/National/?cid=al_gam_nletter_newsUp

2 comments:

Policy Guru said...

Dion is going to have to oppose this and that will make him even more unpopular in Quebec, dropping his personal popularity to singe digits.Ignatieff will feel good because he proposed opening up the constitution and then got pilloried for that suggestion.

Today, Charest said he is opposed to opening up the Constitution.

If they do, will there be another Elijah Harper (was it Harper?), the native from Manitoba, who shot holes in a previous attempt approach and helped sink it.?

Disenchanted said...

It works. That’s why they do it. By raising the specter and then backing down on special status, they get the nationalist vote that thinks that the Conservatives will give more power to Quebec if it gives them a lot of seats in the next election, and if the Conservatives do not deliver, well it is the fault of the mauvais anglais. It is a wink/wink move that is designed to give a sign that if and when Quebec comes calling, it will receive. And by backing down, it reassures the rest of Canada, which is too stupid to take the Conservatives literally in their claim that the federal government should be eviscerated and only be involved in key areas like National Defence. Surprise, surprise, defence spending is up, giveaways to the provinces are up, and national programs are down. How to make it palatable? Blame Ontario, which is really the only federalist centrist province left in the federation. And the below the belt tactics the Conservatives may be vilified, but it doesn’t stop them from working. Very different from the Meech Lake period because there was only one nation busting entity: Quebec (although represented provincially and federally), but now there are at least two: including, and most importantly, the federal government ruled by Albertans. I despair. And have no one to vote for, yet again. It is a pretty sad state of affairs when my only ethical choice is to spoil my ballot.