32

Annals of the most federalist Quebec premier in Stephen Harper’s lifetime


 

“Some are also increasingly asking what point there is in having a federalist in power in Quebec if he is going to conduct his federal-provincial relations like a sovereignist.”

link


 
Filed under:

Annals of the most federalist Quebec premier in Stephen Harper’s lifetime

  1. Reward bad behaviour and you get more of it. The ROC bends over backwards to appease Quebec so why shouldn’t they continue on this course. I am only amazed that other provinces haven’t figured this out yet.

    • The ROC bends over backwards to appease Quebec

      Really? How does the ROC bend over backwards to appease Quebec?

      • Third to last paragraph has a few examples but there are others. Or how about last month when the Coalition was trying to usurp government, the narrative was that ROC had to be careful what they said because we wouldn’t want to offend the party/people that want to break up the country.

        • Calling for people to not call their fellow citizens traitors, and insisting that we not marginalize other citizens’ elected representatives and treat them like second-class Parliamentarians isn’t “appeasing Quebec” it’s called “acting like responsible democrats”.

          If people really think that was appeasement, then I expect to see a lot more rhetoric around treason and sedition from the Tories in the future, and some open calls to have the Bloc Quebecois banned as a political party in the near future.

          • Ah don;t be so hard on jwl. i don’t know if he’s ever been in Quebec, but i think he still has the rather quaint notion that those guys may have lost a war or something. They obviously hav’n’t realised it yet.

          • Do you remember how concerned everyone was that we call them sovereignists, not separatists, because we don’t want to offend them?

          • Heaven forfend we call someone by what they desire we call them rather than whatever epithet we can think up. Who cares that people from the United States prefer to be called Americans. We’ll call’em United Statesians, and stuff it if they don’t like it. Not to mention all them kikes, pakis, honkies, niggers, jesus-freaks, frogs, and everything else. If we start to call them by what they want, we’re just appeasing them.

            Just like you would probably prefer to not be referred to as jackass. Is it appeasement, or common courtesy if I refrain from doing so?

          • They separatists prefer doublespeak so that’s why they want to be called sovereignists instead of separatists. It’s more warm and fuzzy than calling them what they actually are and I don’t understand why I should go along with their wishes.

            And do you really believe separatist is as offensive as “kikes, pakis, honkies, niggers, jesus-freaks, frogs, and everything else?”

            While I have Orwell on my mind, why is it that some commentators seem to be more equal than others here. What’s Macleans policy for making comments disappear?

          • I’m with you on the “sovereignists/separatist” angle and don’t really have a problem calling the Bloc’s MPs separatists. It’s “traitors” I think that offended.

            That, and treating them like less legitimate elected representatives than the other MPs in the House of Commons.

        • So basically you’re defining bending over backwards to appease Quebec simply as Quebec gets stuff. By that standard, didn’t we appease Newfoundland with the Atlantic Accord? Didn’t Ontario just get appeased with the auto industry bailout? Haven’t we been appeasing Alberta for years by never raising the spectre of another National Energy Program even though I believe we’re one of, or possibly the only, industrialized nation on the planet without some sort of NEP?

        • I give this post today’s award for ‘worst follow-up to an actually arguable premise’

    • Other provs have figured this out long ago, the only difference is they generally want to stay with Canada. Have you noticed that great big clubby thing Quebec is holding behind its back?

  2. This is such a strange comment: “Some are also increasingly asking what point there is in having a federalist in power in Quebec if he is going to conduct his federal-provincial relations like a sovereignist.” It sounds like the other Premiers are thinking of staging a coup in Quebec or something because Charest is not doing what people who live outside of his province and who aren’t his constituents want him to do, lol.

    Is this really more about Charest or about Harper? I mean “the most federalist Quebec premier in Stephen Harper’s lifetime” just won his third mandate, a majority. Meanwhile Harper’s hopes in Quebec are described as a coffin being nailed shut. Seems to me that Charest is attacking Harper because Harper and his government’s policies are unpopular in Quebec. So who’s really to blame? Harper, for destroying what popularity the feds had in Quebec, or Charest for existing in that reality?

    Federalist or not, Charest’s job is to be Premier of Quebec. He is responsible to the people of Quebec. He wasn’t elected to run interference for the feds, or to prop up their sagging popularity. As far as I can tell, Charest is simply reacting to the mood of the people he works for vis a vis the federal government. It’s Harper, imho, who’s responsible for that mood.

    • Every Premier no matter stripe, type, colour or personal pre-dispostion is duty bound or better better yet takes a solmen oath to slag the Fed’s whenever they run out of anything positive to contribute or political weather dictates as their very political life depends upon it . Woe to Premier who disregards this sacred dictum.

      • Of course, it helps if the feds are dramatically less popular than you are in your province. It’s an interesting phenomenon. Is Charest attacking the feds because they’re unpopular, or are the feds unpopular because Charest is attacking them?

        Seems to me that the role of a Premier is at least in part to represent the will of their province’s citizens. I don’t see any reason that a Premier should assist his or her federal counterparts with enacting programmes that their constituents disagree with. A federalist Premier isn’t some Trojan Horse we sneak into the National Assembly to fight the democratic will of Quebeckers. Charest answers to the people of his province. The question is, do the people of his province dislike the Tories because he convinced them too, or do they just dislike the Tories. My sense is that this actually has little to do with sovereignty. It’s just that having given the Tories a chance to prove themselves federally, Quebeckers have begun to remember all the things they don’t like about the Conservatives, and Charest is merely reflecting that reality.

        The extent to which Charest has helped fuel that reality is an open question.

  3. Harper is far from being dead in Quebec. His ace in the hole, which he will play in many parts of Canada at election time is, “get representation at the government table”. This has lots of appeal in have-not areas such as Quebec and the Maritimes. It loses appeal only if the Coalition is clearly ahead of the Tories on election day. Another factor in Harper’s favor is that Duceppe, a very effective campaigner, has mused about retiring before the next election.

    Harper and some provincial premiers are shunning Charest because he clearly does not understand the concept of “quid pro quo”. Charest got more in equalization and federal transfers and his seat at UNESCO. In return, Charest gave …. next to nothing. In fact, Charest piles on Harper during the federal election over trivial Arts funding. He could easily have stayed out of the fray, as most premiers do during a federal campaign. Even now, Charest could bend on the national regulator, and claim victory for the Derivatives business that Montreal will get.

    • What? You don’t need to elect a conservative to get a seat at the government table. You can elect someone else and have them become a Conservative seat, ala Emerson, you can elect someone else and have an unelected person be elevated to senator to sit in Cabinet, ala Fortier, or hell, you can just elect someone else and Stephen will give representation to a completely different person anyway, ala Sharon Smith.

      Evidence have shown, there are two ways to get a seat at the government table. One is to elect a back-bencher who will be promptly muzzled or kicked out of the party should he dare say anything against the conservative line ala Turner and Casey, and the second is to not elect any conservatives in the region, which will cause Mr. Harper to give someone from your region a Cabinet seat.. and presumably slightly more access to Our Glorious Leader who actually makes all the decisions.

      Seems to me that the second way has more of a chance of actaully getting your region’s concerns addressed by government.

    • That “ace” only works as long as you are the perceived front runner.

      If it has so much appeal in those have-not areas, why are the Tories, having formed a government twice now, not doing better in both Atlantic Canada and Quebec than they actually are?

    • So, CJ, you’re saying that having bribed Quebeckers in the past and apparently received nothing in return, Harper’s ace in the hole for the future is to bribe Quebeckers?

      I think what you’re actually missing is that Charest probably didn’t see all of the Tories “quid pro quo” manoeuvring as being directed at him. He probably thought (as I did) that the feds were trying to bribe Quebec VOTERS, not the Quebec GOVERNMENT. He thought the nation resolution and all that cash falling from the sky was supposed to convince the people of Quebec to vote Tory, not to convince the Charest government to convince the people of Quebec to vote Tory (or to convince the Charest government to ignore the people of Quebec in favour of helping the feds). I’m sure in Charest mind it’s the people of Quebec who didn’t give quo in exchange for the federal quid, not him.

      That said, it seems to me that you’re saying that while the problem is that Charest didn’t give any quo in exchange for his quid, the saving grace for the Tories is that they still have quid left over to give. Now, I question that there’s any quid left (I’m quite certain the feds are in a quid deficit), but if not I’d be shocked to see the Tories sending any more quid Quebec’s way.

      Scratch that, no I wouldn’t.

      Nothing in federal politics shocks me anymore.

      • What I’m saying is that Harper’s ace in the hole is every sitting government’s ace in the hole. The Libs have played that card here in Calgary up to the 2004 election campaign (obviously with no success). Chretien used the phrase “Get a seat at the table”. Martin changed it to a variation of “The West wants in”. Federal Libs never did “get” Calgarians. We take pride in shutting them out for 40+ years.

        And I haven’t even mentioned the obvious campaign Harper is going to run against the Coalition, with slogans like “A vote for the BLOC is a vote for the Liberals”, and “A vote for the Liberals is a vote for the BLOC”. It seems to me that anglo federalist votes in the Montreal area are all up for grabs. Harper should also be able to again attract strong candidates in Quebec.

        Quebec is very far from a wasteland for Harper. Did I mention that Harper has twice as much money to spend as all the Opps combined ?

        • ““A vote for the BLOC is a vote for the Liberals”, and “A vote for the Liberals is a vote for the BLOC”

          I wouldn’t be surprised to see this either. It’s the “We’re the only party in the country completely unwilling to deal with the Bloc as legitimately elected members of the House” argument.

          To me, it reads as the Tories saying out loud what I’ve always expected they believed in private.

          They know they only represent less than 40% of the nation, but they also believe that’s the only 40% of the nation that should be listened to. Bloc MPs? Traitors. Liberal and NDP MPs? Traitor sympathizers.

        • And a liberal campaign could read: The Cons don’t care about Quebecers. Even a simple attempt to include Quebecers for 18mnths was thrown back in their faces as: traitors, deal with the devil…
          Addmittedly not as catchy as: a vote for the bloc is a vote for the libs but they’ll think of something. Of course they”ll have to think of something else in montreal but i doubt if Harper will run yr slogan in the hinterlands either. Everthing depends isuppose on whether we’re talking about the coalition here or not? My preference is not.

        • Chretien used the phrase “Get a seat at the table”. Martin changed it to a variation of “The West wants in”. Federal Libs never did “get” Calgarians. We take pride in shutting them out for 40+ years.
          If that line didn’t work for the Liberals in Alberta, what makes you think it will work for the Conservatives in Quebec?

          It seems to me that anglo federalist votes in the Montreal area are all up for grabs.
          Then you don’t understand anglo-Quebeckers any better than their French-speaking neighbours.

          Harper should also be able to again attract strong candidates in Quebec.
          Doubtful. Every single one of these “strong candidates” was defeated in the last election. Many of them will surely save themselves the trouble next time, especially if polls continue to show the Conservatives in third place. The best Harper can hope for are the former ADQ MNAs who were soundly rejected by voters in the last provincial election. Good luck with those.

        • “Quebec is very far from a wasteland for Harper. Did I mention that Harper has twice as much money to spend as all the Opps combined ?”

          Gotta love democracy, CPC-style.

  4. Most Quebecers, including Charest,are a bunch of snivling whiners. I wish they would just go away.There I said it.
    I get it. Your a special province with extra special people that requires extra, extra special attention.
    Have no fears Quebecors as Ignatieff is dreaming up new ways to double down and buy your love as Harper has used up most of his goody bag.

    • Well you certainly told them. If they wer’n’t going to go away, they certainly are now!

      • Well, I appreciate that you feel my opinion can convince them to leave. If only my powers of persuasion were true.
        I’m sure there are many people who don’t mind Quebecors voting for separatist, and generally never happy with Canada. I mind actually. I recall a statement by parizaeu that if Canada can be shown to be disfunctional, than that is good for separatist’s, He is 100% rightas the all the political parties in Quebec create this disfunction. As each passing year I grow to resent Quebecors not because of it’s people so much but because of it’s politicians of all stripes.
        The Bloc, PQ, and Liberals, Media stir the pot, make demands, and influence Quebecors in such a way that there will ALWAYS be an element of Canada is bad, we need more convincing. The right issues will always flair up eventually and be used to motivate Quebecors.

        • I recall a statement by parizaeu that if Canada can be shown to be disfunctional, than that is good for separatist’s
          The federal government and Parliament have never been as dysfunctional as they are under Harper. Relations between the federal and provincial governments have not been this bad in decades. Score one for Jacques Parizeau, I guess.

          The Bloc, PQ, and Liberals, Media stir the pot, make demands, and influence Quebecors in such a way that there will ALWAYS be an element of Canada is bad, we need more convincing.
          And here on planet Earth, the Liberal government refused to recognize the existence of a fiscal imbalance. Meanwhile the Conservatives promised to give Quebec an extra billion dollars in equalization to fix this phantom imbalance even though the federal and provincial governments, including Quebec, had recently agreed to a ten-year equalization deal. The Liberal government also refused to give Quebec a separate seat at UNESCO, which Harper was only too glad to promise them. Conservative ministers were bragging during the last election campaign about how much pork they’d brought home for Quebec. The post-Reform Conservatives we’re going to be different, not at all like Brian Mulroney, we were told. Yeah right.

          • I agree. As I said Harper used up what in his goody bag. It was a result of Quebec politicians making the demands though. You either give Quebecors what they want or don’t get any votes.
            Have you been paying attention? How well have the Liberals been doing there perhaps as a result of their opposition to these things. The Conservatives have gotten some benefit you know.
            Make no mistake, Ignatieff will be the one wooing Quebecors in the future with his own goody bag of giving in to Charest and Quebecors.
            You see how this circle works?

  5. The bottom line guys is the battle line has been drawn throughout the county.. Next campaign, it’s the Tories vs the Coaltion. The talking points and slogans will vary (by both sides) throughout the Country.

    I understand the BLOC’s prime directive is to separate Quebec from Canada. They will use whatever means to justify that end. Including following Parizeau’s advice to make Canada appear as un-governable. What better then for that impression to take hold than for the BLOC to have a direct say, if not a veto, on ALL federal policies ?

    Only a fool thinks the BLOC MPs are some kind of benign presence in Parliament. These MPs (not those who vote for them) pose an existential threat to the country. And Harper is right to make that point throughout the land. Also, how much of the $1.95 per vote subsidy that the BLOC gets goes to the Parti Quebecois ? Surely even anti-Harperites have a problem with that. … I’m outa here for the day.

    • To be fair, this is merely the battle lines SH wants to be drawn. Whether he can sucker Canadians into believing it remains to be seen.

      • Agreed – if Ignatieff can effecitvely communicate that the coaltion was merely an intent to spring the Conservatives into action on the economy – those are different terms.

        This is a tougher message though – if I were the Liberals I would spend a lot of time thinking through how best to deliver this message to Canadians.

Sign in to comment.