Harper's French disconnection - Macleans.ca

Harper’s French disconnection

High-profile Quebec Tories blast the PM for ignoring the province

Harper's French disconnection

Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Peter White is about as conservative (and Conservative) as they come. He worked at Brian Mulroney’s side throughout the former prime minister’s nine-year tenure. In 2001, he turned his frustration with Jean Chrétien’s seemingly perpetual hold on power into a book, Gritlock, perhaps best described as a blueprint of how to neuter the then-powerful Liberal brand. In his free time, the former Hollinger Inc. executive has relentlessly pushed the Conservative brand in his native Quebec, both as a riding president and party organizer. And he’s sick of trying.

In a scathing open letter addressed to Canadians in general and the Conservative party in particular, White roundly criticizes the Conservative Party of Canada for ignoring francophones in general and Quebec in particular. “Today the voice of Quebec is virtually absent in Ottawa’s halls of power, or if present, it is a voice grown mighty small, and mighty easy to ignore,” White writes in the letter dated Jan. 12. “Since the election of May 2, 2011, many Quebec observers have concluded that Mr. Harper has consciously decided to ignore Quebec, now that he has convincingly demonstrated that he can win a majority without it.”

For some Conservatives outside the province, Stephen Harper might be forgiven for shunning Quebec. The Prime Minister has never been particularly popular in the province; he won a majority in last spring’s election thanks largely to a marked increase in support in Ontario and sustained support in the western provinces. In Quebec, meanwhile, the party lost five incumbent MPs (equalling half of its provincial caucus) and nearly a quarter of its popular vote. It marked the first time since the Conscription Crisis of 1917 that a government formed a majority with so little support from Quebec.

But while the rebalancing of power in favour of the West may seem natural for the Toronto-born, Alberta-bred populist, White says Harper’s Quebec brush-off will lead to a “de-Canadianization of Quebec,” in which Quebecers see less and less of themselves in the federal government—and turn (or return) instead to the Bloc Québécois. “Any competent demagogue—and there are several—could easily fan the tinder into flames by decrying the many petty slights inflicted on Quebec’s honour and pride at the hands of Ottawa since Mr. Harper has been Prime Minister.”

The sentiment is privately shared by a number of Quebec Conservatives, many of whom wouldn’t speak on the record about the party’s Quebec malaise. Some spoke of the lack of support from the party during the election, which has carried over into Harper’s first majority mandate. “To be successful, you need Conservative politicians regularly meeting with party activists, and in Quebec that isn’t happening,” says Bernard Côté, who served as adviser to former Conservative public works minister Michael Fortier. “I don’t know who is talking to who. Is it a lack of experience or desire? I don’t know.”

Contrary to the cliché that Quebec is a bastion of squishy leftists, a large swath of the province’s political landscape is receptive to small-c conservative ideals. Brian Mulroney twice swept Quebec largely by harnessing the conservative sensibilities of the province’s hinterland. In her 2007 book French Kiss, political columnist Chantal Hébert details how Harper made inroads in the province during the 2006 election campaign by appealing to those same sensibilities, and with a few highly symbolic gestures: recognizing the Québécois as a nation within Canada, and by beginning his speeches by speaking in French (a practice the Prime Minister continues to this day). An internal Bloc Québécois document written following that election noted, with barely hidden panic, how Harper resonated with “traditional, careful, old-stock French who … don’t see themselves in multi-ethnic Montreal.”

Harper’s French kiss effectively ended in the 2008 election, however, after announcing his youth crime bill and a disastrous decision to cut $45 million in arts funding from the province. Some say Harper hasn’t yet recovered from the slight. “Since 2008, there’s been a feeling that because Quebec shunned the Conservative party, that the Conservative party was going to do the same,” Côté says.

One example: the Conservatives only held their Quebec campaign post-mortem four months after the election, and it was co-chaired by Conservative campaign strategist Jenni Byrne. “All I know is that she doesn’t speak French,” says Georgette St-Onge, the Conservative riding president in Joliette. (Asked for comment, a Conservative spokesperson said “we have a strong and committed team” in Quebec. Neither Conservative MP and Quebec lieutenant Christian Paradis or Quebec adviser André Bachand responded to interview requests.)

White says he has met “four or five times” with Harper over the last two years, including an extended meeting last April, and he usually prefaces his criticism of the Prime Minister with praise for the man who united Canada’s right. He says there are fairly simple solutions to Harper’s image problem in Quebec—“Get him on French television to talk only about hockey” is one of them—but “the fact that he doesn’t do any of this makes me come to the sad conclusion that he doesn’t give a damn,” White said in an interview with Maclean’s.

“His image here is the pits. I’ve had francophones say to me publicly that they think he’s got ears and a tail, and he eats babies. And these are conservatives. They can’t understand why Harper doesn’t fix his image. Everyone knows he doesn’t eat babies, but he does everything he can to make people think he does.”

It isn’t only national unity at stake, White says, noting how the NDP has usurped much of the province, and that the Liberal party is slowly rebuilding its brand here. “Re-securing Quebec would re-energize the Liberals’ Ontario base, and all of a sudden Mr. Harper’s studied (or otherwise) avoidance of Quebec will become a problem for him,” White writes in his letter. “In politics as in life, you deserve what you tolerate. And most Quebec Conservatives are fed up.”




Harper’s French disconnection

  1. Just a heads up to Mr White; maybe you shouldn’t start off your letter, which presumably you want the PM to read,  by reminding him of what Trudeau and the LPC had previously accomplished in the country for Quebec? – that’s what post scripts are for. I don’t see this letter even making it to Harper’s desk. It’s probably already a paper airplane over at the PMO.

    • Just another free stress ball.  This is why they don’t need to buy them.

  2. “Any competent demagogue—and there are several—could easily fan the tinder into flames by decrying the many petty slights inflicted on Quebec’s honour and pride at the hands of Ottawa since Mr. Harper has been Prime Minister.”

    “a disastrous decision to cut $45 million in arts funding from the province”

    “His image here is the pits. I’ve had francophones say to me publicly that they think he’s got ears and a tail, and he eats babies. And these are conservatives. They can’t understand why Harper doesn’t fix his image. Everyone knows he doesn’t eat babies, but he does everything he can to make people think he does.”

    White nails it, lol   Quebec, the beautiful, passionate, self-absorbed, high-maintenance girlfriend.

    “Get him on French television to talk only about hockey” – I’ve thought that for a long time.

    • Stop already with the girl friend/ boyfriend imagery!

       The notion of Mr H courting  and making out like a sugar daddy to this high maintenace beau madam is making me oddly queasy. :) 

      I don’t hink the hockey idea will fly either.

      “Look frankly, i must say that idea of the superiority of the Habs, and the total dominance of the French factor in  National hockey has more to do with their exclusive monopoly of the farm system of it’s time – which i intend to see never happens again…

      No more centralized one desk socialistic drafting supported by the hard earned tax $ of western prairie families…hey who cut my mike…i wasn’t fin…i  haven’t told you what i think of Richard yet…he was really really grey ya know…more than me….”

    • I don’t disagree with your comments. Quebec will not be happy until all of Canada speaks French and despite the fact the country is 80% unilingual they keep trying to force their language agenda on the rest of the country by being obstreperous.

      Quebec will not be happy until the federal government turns over the Canadian treasury so they can fund their European style government services and programs. Look at Charest’s attitude about the healthcare funding announcement.

      Harper is a serious guy. He should be judged by his actions and his accomplishments. However, that won’t work in Quebec because they do not agree with his policies. That really is the bottom line.

      • “I don’t disagree with your comments. Quebec will not be happy until all of Canada speaks French and despite the fact the country is 80% unilingual they keep trying to force their language agenda on the rest of the country by being obstreperous.”

        Seriously:  What the fuck are you talking about?  You can happily live and work anywhere in the country as a unilingual Anglo, with the exception of most of Quebec (Montreal being the exception within the exception) and about a third of New Brunswick.

        • No need to use profanity. Are you an idiot who can’t express himself.

          Have you talked to anybody working in the federal civil service and some provincial civil services. Discrimination abounds and careers truncated as a result of the demand for civil servants to be bilingual.

          Its costing the country billions. For what purpose? The number of people who are considered official bilingual has not changed much over the past 40 years. As a social engineering policy it has failed miserably.

          Have you heard of the demands that every senior level of employee in the federal government must be bilingual i.e. AG and now Supreme Court Justices.

          Have you heard about the demand that all federal institutions operating in Quebec must be bilingual.

          You need to wake up and smell the coffee buddy.

          For God’s sake they even are demanding that the coach of the Habs must be bilingual despite few of the players are French. You know they are just hanging off trees those bilingual NHL coaches.

          Bilingualism applies to the Rest of Canada but not Quebec. Yet we have a federal government and elitists across the country trying to tell us the country is officially bilingual. Talk about hypocrisy.

        • Yes you can work in most parts of the country as a unilingual  anglo but if it is in any Federal Government Department, you had better be functionally bilingual (French plus one other) to get any kind of promotion, even if you work in BC or the NWT.

          • You seriously have a problem with the policy that civil servants should be bilingual? We are a county with two national languages, which means that citizens have the right to receive service in either English or French. Bilingualism is one of the job requirements, and those who have a problem with that can feel free to look for a job where it is not part of the job description.

            In my mind the real problem is that the reality is that people are less fluent than they claim to be. Finding someone in Quebec who is able to offer services in English is damn difficult, just as it is difficult to get access to services in French just about everywhere else in Canada. It’s part of the reality of our population distribution. However regardless of population distribution the government has a responsibility to offer services to it’s citizens in BOTH of the national languages.

          • if there are two people and one speaks french and one speaks english its covered; have you tried to speak to someone who speaks enlish as a second language; its almost impossible to understand them unless they are highly skilled, which most are not.  I am english and I deserve to be spoken to in my language.  Thank dog the NDP interm leader or for that matter former PM Jean does not work at a counter somewhere, because nobody would under stand a darn thing.

          • also, please keep in mind that out side of Rome, Toronto has the largest population of Italian’s anywhere.

        • sorry, but that is incorrect, unless you want a min wage job working out of site; obviously you have never tried to find a decent job in Ottawa (which is in Ontario), and only speak english.  Unless you a bi-ling good quality high paying jobs do not happen.  I am ex mililtary, and unless you are 100% bi-ling or french you do not get past the rank of Captain.  sorry, but you are incorrect. (sorry for the mis-spells)

    • Yes, he could talk about hockey but he would have to be a big Habs fan…he could not support the Flames.

  3. Look the country is evolving and it only stands to reason that one region will rise as another falls.
    Quebec still enjoys a special status that none of the other provinces do, so I would not complain too much. Stop federal transfer payments and see how fast Quebec sinks into bankruptcy from all its socialist programs like seven dollar a day daycare…
    Quebec, your time in the sun is up.

    • Maybe…but if things carry on as present, sooner or later someone will decide that if Quebec is a nation within Canada then i wonder how much more of a nation it’ll be outside of Canada.  

      • It will be a long time before they go. They would rather threaten and coerce Canada. It has worked well for them over the years.

        I don’t think Quebecers realize that if they left Canada their standard of living would alter dramatically. They would be a French enclave among a vast North American continent who could care less about what they think and feel. More particularly they would have to speak the language of the world if they wanted to survive.

        Yes they may go back supporting the Bloc but that will force the rest of Canada to ensure their vote counts and they get the government they want.

        • Why are you unable to grasp that Quebecers are just people like you and i? Some vote for the hardline blackmail stuff and lots voted for federalists for a long long time. Stop your cartoonish depiction of them!
          I’m sure by now they are pretty well aware of the consequences of their choices.

      • kcm2…..if Quebec leaves Canada….who will pay for their “seven dollars a day daycare?”
        In fact, that is why I don’t understand Quebecers distaste for Alberta’s “dirty” oil….because that “dirty” oil pays for that seven dollars a day daycare.  In Alberta there is no seven dollars a day daycare.  Are people just dense or do they not understand that  the “dirty” oil is what makes Alberta a have province who can give its money to have-not provinces like Quebec so they can give their citizens fantastic social programs?

        • Check out equalization payments…it’s not as simple as that.

          • Yes, and to the best of my knowledge, equalization is slanted so that Quebec gdp does not include the Hydro income that they overcharge Newfoundland to transit Quebec, or any of their own hydro income.

          • Well, to me none of that matters.  Quebec has been snubbing the rest of Canada for years and years.   As far as I am concerned, Quebec voted any which way but conservative, even going so far as to vote for people who had no idea what their own platform was or should be; so why are we worried about whether Stephen Harper can appease them or not?  I think it is time to let them hang for a bit….

    • $ 7.00 a day or $ 210.00/ month not bad if you can get it. Steve gives the rest of us $ 100.00/ month and tax breaks to companies that invest in  company daycare spaces. You know it was going to create 240,000 spaces. Holw s that going by the way.

  4. The BQ is in shambles.  The PQ is in shambles.  Harper’s strategy of respecting the Constitution’s separation of powers is working wonders.

    By leaving Quebec alone, and not interfering in areas of provincial jurisdiction, Quebec politicians have no one to blame for the pathetic state of Quebec, and ordinary Quebecers are seeking to throw the bums out.

    The corrupt and complacent establishment in Quebec (as represented  by White) is scare to death of a Quebec spring.

    Hooray for Harper. 

    • The separation is going so swimmingly that we might as well consider retrenching on bilingualism and the protection of minority language rights – was that the kind of spring you had in mind?

      Besides, even if you are remotely correct does it actually make any sense as Mr White says to abandon the province to liberals and dippers? Some strategy.

      • The strategy is to get an indigenous Quebec conservative spring.

        The Quebec establishment has no place to hide and reality, economic reality, is closing in on them.  50 years of delusional thinking in Quebec and Ontario are coming face to face with the stark reality of the global economic crisis.

        Harper is correctly choosing the side of the Quebec people and not the Quebec establishment.  (True…they may not realize it yet, but when this is over, they will.) Ditto in Ontario.  Harper is choosing Ontarians, and not the Ontario establishment.

        The chickens are coming home to roost.

        Quebec gets a second chance at a “quiet revolution”, and this time they will hopefully get it right, instead of having it screwed up and hijacked in the middle.

        • I’m sorry but you’re dreaming in technicolour. Conflating the Arab spring with Harper’s strategy in Quebec is a reach – like to the moon. No doubt he’s counting on working closely with CAQ but he’s also likely winging it like everyone else. You map it out like it was his Grande Strategy! The guy’s pretty clueless in Quebec and if anything is relying on dumb luck – which i admit he has in spades.
          The chickens may or may not be coming home to roost but don’t ask me to believe Harper’s planning anything in Quebec beyond not getting plucked bald by the other parties.

          The quiet revolution redux…no no! That was guys with real vision like Lesvesque, Trudeau et al., not myopic anti visionaries like Harper…you see he only does incremental, cuz that’s about the limit of his vision.

          • Incrementalism is working much to your chagrin and the rest of the Liberal establishment.

      • Of course this is Mr. White’s opinion. That may not be the reality. Harper knows what he wants and I would not be surprised that suddenly the party becomes more active in Quebec once again.

  5. It’s all about strategery. A charm offensive (esp. if it involves “making it rain”) in Quebec is problematic, because it risks inadvertently shoring up the position of Jean Charest, an unreliable ally, horrible premier, and poor standard-bearer for the federalist cause. Instead, Harper should wait until the CAQ wins the next election, so he can work with a non-corrupt premier that shares his ideological outlook, and who needs to pander to the same set of voters as Harper (the Quebec city area). 

    • excellent analysis.

  6. I hate to tell such an illustrious personage that he has totally missed the point – but, Sir you have.
    Quebec voters are canny, self absorbed and calculating.  The past Federal election was, as seen from here in the West a typical Quebec strategic voting session.  With the Bloc in shambles and the threat of separation increasingly irrelevant, I thought the Quebec voter made a typical, perhaps even a classic voting decision, made not on Layton’s leadership (that was just the central Canadian media), but that the NDP in another Conservative minority would hold the “hammer” and deliver Quebec to the centre of national attention.  A surprising Conservative majority left them on the outside looking in for the first time since when ? 1917? They – the voters – made the decision they did and should bear the result for the next four years – not be excused. Perhaps a lesson will be learned.

    • ” but that the NDP in another Conservative minority would hold the
      “hammer” and deliver Quebec to the centre of national attention.”

      Hum, not really. I’m a quebecker and from here it’s really obvious that it was 90% Jack Layton.

    • It’s not a competition. Harper is supposed to be the PM of Canada, not just Saskberta. What you  call “the West’s” decision to strategically vote for Harper?

      • I’m not denying that – Westerners supported Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney NOT Kim Campbell, Preston Manning, Stockwell Day, and Stephen Harper.  That doesn’t strike me as strategic voting at all but taking a position pretty well regardless and letting the chips fall where they may.  In my time Quebec has voted Social Credit, Liberal, Progressive Conservative, Bloc and now NDP.
        I am not criticizing that, my frustration as a person who once ran for nomination for the Liberals in “Saskberta” is that the party “Brain Trust” would give us nothing to use to encourage strategic voting – what we got instead was the National Energy Policy! 

        • Thanks for the clarification. I was born and bred in Alberta and I remember the NEP. I guess I always identified more with being a Canadian than an Albertan while many in Alberta are Albertan first and Canadian second (not unlike Quebec). It was very frustrating time for me so I did the right thing and moved out of province. I tried to go back during the Getty years but it was just too surreal. Take care and have a nice day Jim.

    • I love the description of Quebec voters as “canny” and “calculating.” The CBC peddles that one, too. Quebec voters are so “canny” that they elect university students who can’t even speak the language of their constituents and go on vacation to Mexico when an election is called. How canny can you get? LOL!

  7. “Today the voice of Quebec is virtually absent in Ottawa’s halls of power, or if present, it is a voice grown mighty small, and mighty easy to ignore,”
    He says that like it’s a bad thing.  Quebec has wielded disproportionate power for nearly 50 years and it makes me and several million other Canadians very happy that Quebec is marginalized.   They voted en mass for a  fringe socialist party that had never won even 15% of seats and they deserve what they get.

    I think the analysis is backwards:  Quebeckers generally hate Conservatives because they identify it as the party of “Anglo-Saxons” – it’s purely racial.  No policy or pandering will ever change that, and even if it did, those pure laine types have a birth rate of like minus 9000 and their numbers are diminishing rapidly.  Scarce electoral resources should be directed toward a more robust cohort.

    Harper tried, with his “Three Sisters” strategy.  It didn’t work and it never will.  Quebec has been replaced by socially conservative ethnics and immigrants as the third pillar of Canadian conservatism.

    “I’ve had francophones say to me publicly that they think he’s got ears and a tail, and he eats babies.”

    Don’t forget the soulless Anglo-Saxon blue eyes.  You know what, Quebec?  Beat it.  Scram.  Vamos.  We’ve poured tens of billions into your provinces and we get hate in return.  Goofs.

    • ” Quebeckers generally hate Conservatives because they identify it as the party of “Anglo-Saxons” – it’s purely racial”

      They must have been in atrance when they supported Duplessis brand of theoconservatism for lord know how many years

      Not Anglo enough for you?

      They must have been sleep walking when they helped give Mulroney back to back majorities right after supporting Trudeau’s policies for umpteen years.

      They even showed signs of liking Harper enough to give him a majority until he couldn’t keep his big mouth shut about artists and galas

      Who’s the goof again?

      Sure they’ve showed absolutely no commitment to the notion of Canada – not ever!

      Like most neo cons/ idealogues you’re self pitying crybabies whenever things don’t go your way.

    • Your “racial” argument is absolutely unsupported, please provide some support for it (if any exists). From the experience I have from speaking of politics  with my fellow Quebeckers (which I routinely do), I’ve never heard anybody refer to the conservatives as typical anglo-saxons, nor did I hear anybody say that they couldn’t stand them because of this. It is all about their way of shutting down the democratic debates and their right-wing ideas which do not fit with the socialist views of most Quebeckers. That’s all. No “race” stuff. 

  8. Saying the current Prime Minister is a populist is like calling the Pope an Anglican. Mr. Harper is, and has always been, a professional politician and calling him a populist is simply wrong.

    • Opportunist might be more appropriate.

      • Maybe even a Neo-Liberal ???
        I don’t know, maybe just a pragmatist doing what he thinks he can.
        There is an old saying that a compromise is a solution that all sides dislike equally and I can assure you he is mostly tepidly popular in the West – not a lot of Raving Fans.  So maybe he is a compromise candidate for the Rest of Canada.  One thing i will bet though, is that after 4 years of being on the outside looking in the Conservatives will do better in Quebec next election.  (Which will be evidence to my point of Quebec voters being the masters of strategic voting)!

        • I’m not sure about that. Most of the people I meet can’t stand him. I’ve never personally met anyone who loves him. I do know someone who went to school with him. He didn’t paint a very positive picture of Harper’s high school years at Richview. He doesn’t have a very strong opposition though —  I think he’d have big problems if the opposition got on track.

  9. If it is that bad quebec should grow a set and separate . Don’t forget to leave your Canadian passports and currency at the boarder. And pick up your share of the National Debt as you leave.
    B-Bye quebec have a good trip. 

  10. Just as his bashes Harper on CBC’s Power and Politics Patriquin tries to stir up trouble with this column. The fact is Quebec broadly does not support Harper and the Conservatives. Yes there is a small swath of Conservatives among Francophone Quebecers but it is not big enough to allow Harper to win many seats in Quebec.

    Why would he pay attention to Quebec after they defeated cabinet ministers and other Conservative MPs while they ran and fell hook, line and sinker for what was the fourth place party in Parliament. They were for some reason mesmerized with Jack Layton who had little chance of forming government other than through a coalition and could do little to help improve the lot of Quebec. Give me a break.

    It is not Harper’s fault that Quebec is not represented adequately in the government. He has to deal with the hand his was dealt in the election.

    There is no use beating your head against a break wall. As Harper said about the loss of the UN seat he knows who his friends are. Until there is a significant change in the attitude of Quebec I suspect Harper will not put a lot of time and effort in that province.

    One of these days Quebec will grow up instead of acting like a petulant child. They will become a full partner in confederation at some point but that day is not here. Continuing to support the NDP is not a solution.

    • Dispite the fact that BQ and PQ are in shumble, the OUI is always at 43% (last poll)

      • Good for them. They can dream but you and I both know that Quebecers are not going to vote to separate given a clear question and a real majority vote. They are on the gravy train and they know it. So they will continue to be obstreperous and continue to be the hurt petulant child of confederation. However, separate? I don’t think so.

        • Gravy train!
          The high canadian dollar, doped by the dirty oil, is affecting our small industries.
          Our oil by the way is from Algeria. We get nothing from Canada. We are losing staying in Canada

      • What currency you are going to use?  See Greece.  Damned if they use the euro.  Brutal austerity. Damned if they leave the euro.  Starting over from the dark ages.

        A sovereign country has to have its own currency.  That is the lesson of the global economic crisis.

        Within Canada, Quebec (and Ontario) can restructure with mild austerity, because the oil sands and the mineral extraction from outer Canada pays the bills, and will allow for manageable interest rates on Quebec’s (and Ontario’s) debt, and for increased transfers from the West via the federal government.

        • I don’t know. (the whole project was to keep the Canadian dollar)
          Personnaly I am in favor of the usd. No more play. Same dollar.
          (Panama has usd now)

      • Jacques, please know that there are millions of Canadians outside Quebec who would love to say “bye bye” to your lovely province as a member of Confederation, and enjoy visiting it occasionally as a foreign country. As soon as you guys leave, the other provinces would save about $7 billion per year in equalization. We could save another $2.4 billion in bilingualism costs. Our UI premiums would drop. Hell, we’d save about $400 million a year just getting rid of your 75 MPs and their staff and office expenses. So all the best of luck to you, I hope you can boost your sovereignty numbers to over 50% and have a referendum as soon as possible.

    • If you recall, Harper partially ran on the premise of accountability, which presumably includes the notion that individual regions and ridings should not be rewarded/punished based on their tendancy to vote dark blue vs red or orange or light blue.  Pork barrelling was supposed to be more of a PC thing than a C thing (or so we were told, despite shananigans by Gazebo Tony).

  11. Even if PQ and BQ are falling apart, the OUI is always at 43% according to the last poll

    • I’m sure you’ll be repeating that in 2020, 2030 and 2040, just like you’ve probably been saying that in 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010.  Some separatists never give up – but neither do federalists.

  12. There may indeed be a small conservative base in Quebec, but the sad fact is, the province is heavily socialist.  They are far too accustomed to being nurtured on luxury social programs funded by other provinces and there’s no way on God’s green earth they are going to toss the soother away by voting Conservative.  Short of giving them the keys to the national treasury (currently they only get regular escorted visits, more often when they threaten to secede) it wouldn’t matter what Harper does to win their approval.  For fifty years they’ve succeeded brilliantly by playing the spoiled teenager role and they won’t mess with that formula any time soon.  If Quebec wants to be taken seriously, it needs to pull its own weight, and reject equalization payments.

  13. If forking over $2.2 billion is “ignoring” Quebec, Harper can ignore me all he likes. Quebec’s little game of having federal leaders begging for favors seems over as long as Harper is in charge. Unless they’re terminally stupid, maybe Quebec whiners will finally grow up and stop acting like the baby in the cradle of Confederation.

  14. “Any competent demagogue—and there are several—could easily fan the tinder into flames by decrying the many petty slights inflicted on Quebec’s honour and pride at the hands of Ottawa since Mr. Harper has been Prime Minister.”

    Just as a demagogue (no names, please), I won’t say competent, fanned the flames of western discontent and caused this to happen in the first place.

  15. Quebec is a complex society of 8 million people. Referring to francophones or pure laine Quebeckers as an homogeneous ”cohort”, race or groupe of people is completely stupid and only show your own ignorance.
    Anglophones and immigrants in Quebec also supported the NDP en masse at the last election, and francophones elected many anglophones (some of them unilingual) in their ridings. Your ”it’s about race” argument is unfunded and is simply based on outdated misconceptions from traditional English Canada. Historically, francophones voted en masse for the Liberals, a party behind multiculturalism and bilingualism policies. Of course Quebeckers will not vote for an anglo-saxon only party, would you vote for the Bloc or a francophone party?!

    The number of francophones in Quebec is increasing and french Canada is not dead. Yes, the population increases more slowly than in fast-growing Ontario or BC, but Quebec compares very well with the US and most western countries with a high fertility rate (1.7 children per woman as for 2010) and around 55-60,000 immigrants a year (70% of them francophones).

  16. Harper’s French disconnection

    High-profile Quebec Tories blast the PM for ignoring the province***************************************************************************************************French Voters Disconnection With CPC Has PM Ignoring Ungrateful Quebecois.

  17. That’s odd. I’m from Alberta and I’m pretty certain that Harper eats babies also.

  18. Whose fault is it that Quebec is supposedly ignored? They voted out the Bloc and voted in the NDP. Harper has relentlessly tried to accommodate Quebec and all he got in return is a royal kick in the azz. You reap what you sow. So Mr. White, keep your trap shut. You’re just blowing hot air. Mind you I do think you have some ulterior motives for this letter.

  19. Quebecers been voting separatist for over 20 years having no representation in the ruling government of Canada whether it be Conservative or Liberal and they wonder why they are being ignored.

    Figure it out boys and girls

  20. This is just baloney. 

    Harper has made numerous attempts to gain ground in Quebec.  In fact, before he even considered that he could win a majority with Ontario, back in 2007 he juiced equalization to address the Quebec invention of the so-called “fiscal imbalance” and he made the resolution to call Quebec a “nation” amongst other initiatives.  Quebec, as usual, was getting far more attention than the rest of Canada.  Even recently, he threw more money in their direction (the HST money) that in reality was just another invention (they were never actually due money for the HST).

    Harper regularly has gone out of his way for Quebec yet has not been rewarded at the ballot box.  The real problem in Quebec for Conservatives is that there is no ground game, there is no conservative constituency in places like Montreal, and for that you need locals on the ground promoting conservative policies, which essentially never happens in Quebec.

  21. The tories got 612,000 votes in Québec out of 6 million electors.
    9 Québécois out 10 didn’t voted for those Red Neck who kiss the a… of the Queen everyday

    Québécois have nothing to do with those warriors, those zionists, creationists, biblist and all those anti-gays, anti-French, anti-culture people

  22. Quebec and Tories.  Fire and ice.  Oil and water.

  23. I am suprised to learn that the PM d0oesn’t eat babies. How does he compensate for that act of generosity? All good conservatives know that babies who deserve to live should be able to pull themselves up by their own diaper tabs. Be a true tory Stephen – regard this as a moral imperative, not a modest proposal. Barcus

  24. Patriquin is a hack and not even a good one,  but aside from that –  I am a resident of Quebec and was  around the PC’s when Peter White was – he knows full well the compromises  Mulroney had to make in Quebec with the separatists and the nationalists. And still they never stopped whining with the end result being Bourchard and the BQ. Screw that – it’s over. Quebec wants in? Let them prove it.  We now know this country can be governed without Quebec. So let the Libs, the Nippers and the BQ fight over the carcass. That can only help the Conservatives as they truck on governing the country. Great 

  25. Does anyone have any actual evidence that Harper does NOT eat babies? 

  26. M. Marissal,
    Je suis encore une fois en désaccord avec votre chronique dans l’édition du journal LA PRESSE du mercredi 18 janvier 2012 et je m’explique.
    D’abord ce n’est pas un psychodrame la santé au Canada.
    C’est tout simplement une équation mathématique à résoudre et à projetter dont sont impliqués près de 35 millions de citoyens du Canada.
    Je vous accorde que cette équation fait peur à bien du monde et en tout premier lieu notre très honorable premier ministre du Canada M. Stephen Harper.
    Mais cette attitude ” chicken ” de notre très honorable premier ministre, dénote sa personalité conservatrice et craintive qui lui cause une résistance très forte ne serait-ce que de s’assoir et écouter le chialage que nos bons amis M. Martin et M. Chrétien semblent avoir eu de la misère à écouter.
    Il ne suffit pas d’être un bon économiste pour être premier ministre d’un pays comme le notre, mais notre premier ministre doit avoir au moins un courage ou si vous voulez comme les anglais le disent, he” must have true grit “, et être capable de s’assoir tel un médecin de famille et écouter le chialage de sa clientèle qui est très réelle et qui tient plus souvent de la souffrance qu’elle vit que de l’enfantillage comme se plait à décrire certains.
    Donc en bon ” chicken “, par manque de courage ou manque de patience à écouter ceux qui souffrent, on appelle cela du manque d’altruisme.
    Notre très honorable premier ministre du Canada se défile par la porte d’en arrière économique pour fuir ses responsabilité.
    N’est-il pas écrit dans notre constitution, art. 91: ” Il sera loisible à la Reine, sur l’avis et du consentement du Sénat et de la Chambre des communes, de faire des lois pour la paix, l’ordre et le le bon gouvernement du Canada, relativement dans les catégories de sujets par le présent acte exclusivement assignés aux législatures des provinces. “.
    De plus n’est-il pas écrit dans notre constitution au chapitre des pouvoirs exclusifs des législatures provinciales à l’article 92: ” Dans chaque province, la législature a le droit exclusif de légiférer sur les matières qui rentrent dans les catégories de sujets ci-après énumérées: ”
    Et justement la catégorie 7 décrit: ” L’établissement, l’entretien et l’administration des hôpitaux, des asiles, des hospices et des refuges dans les limites et pour la population de la provinces, sauf les hôpitaux de marine; “.
    Donc si il a été spécifiquement non inclu comme exclusif aux provinces l’établissement, l’entretien, l’administration des cabinets des médecins de l’époque qu’ils soient médecins de campagne en 1867, médecins généralistes aujourd’hui tel que brillament décrit dans le livre qui gagna le prix nobel de la littérature en 1958 de l’auteur Boris Pasternak: ” Le docteur Jivago “, personne, ni les provinces, ni le gouvernement fédéral ne peuvent se défiler et dire que le bon gouvernement fédéral ne peut légiférer sur la pratique en cabinet à travers tout le pays.
    Ceci étant dit, pourquoi que le gouvernement fédéral et les provinces ne s’assoient-elles pas ensemble et ne mettraient-ils pas sur pieds une agence de contrôle de la qualité de l’acte médicale en cabinet de médecins pour vérifier si ce qu’ils s’est fait était bel et bien médicalement requis tel que la loi sur l’assurance-maladie du Qubec le décrète.
    Ainsi si ce qui s’est passé dans le cabinet du médecin ou ce qu’il en ressort n’était pas médicalement requis alors les régies des provinces ne seraient pas tenues de payer les médecins pour ces actes non médicalement requis et ainsi récupérer les sommes injustement payées. et tel l’harmonisation des taxes de vente et de la valeur ajoutée, cette fois ce pourraient être l’agence fédérale qui récolte l’argent pour être ensuite redistribuée aux régimes de santé provinciaux. 
    En bout de ligne voilà un contrôle des dépenses des coût de la santé au pays fort légitime et en plus cela stimulerait mes collègue à se botter le derrière pour faire enfin ce qui est médicalement requis de faire et de ne  pas seulement voir le patient que pour un bobo, une visite, mais pour faire ce qui est médicalement requis.
    Et si les patients étaients mieux traités en cabinets de médecins et que par conséquent moins de patients n’aient besoin de se rendrent aux hôpitaux, notre agence fédérale de contrôle de qualité de l’acte médical en cabinet aurait atteint deux fins: l’amélioration des services en cabinets médicaux, le contrôles des dépenses en santé en cabinets et qui sait peut-être une diminution des besoins de nos patients de se rendre aux hôpitaux qui éventuellement diminuer les dépenses des hôpitaux.
    Et si les canadiens sont maintenus en bonne santé, ils seront moins absents du travail et ils permettront d’augmenter le nombre de personnes disponibles pour travailler, étudier, consommer l’indusrtrie du divertissement etc. etc. etc. et ainsi augmenter le P.I.B. du pays et peut-être alors un jour notre P.I.B. dépassera l’augmentation des coûts de la santé au Canada, soyont optimistes.
    Voyez-vous le problème dans notre régime socialiste de la santé comme se plait à décrire nos voisins du sud, c’est que présentement  la RAMQ paie le médecin si il a vu le patient, mais qui est-ce qui fait les contrôles de qualité à savoir est-ce que le médecin a vraiment fait ce qui était médicalement requis de faire lors de la visite du patient au lieu de le référer à un autre collègue et de “casher” en vitesse son supposé dû sans imputabilité. 
    N’oubliez pas dans un système socialiste, lorsqu’un tier paye pour l’individu, il a le droit de réclamer que son argent a bien été rendu tel que la loi ou le règlement le permet et cela prend des contrôleurs, on les appellent les ” gates keepers” à la fondation Kaiser en Californie,  U.S.A., pour vérifier ne serait-ce que de façon aléatoire que tous, médecins comme patients, nous n’abusons pas du système de santé publique.
    Merci de votre attention,
    P. Clifford Blais, mdcm
    McGill ‘ 81

  27. I think Quebec voted themselves out of the power circle. As it is they are over represented in government jobs in Ottawa. They still get a disproportional slice of help from the rest of Canada. CBC still loves them.

  28. Francophones only make up about 23% of Canada’s population, and nearly all of them live in Quebec, where they comprise about 85% of the population. Since Quebec has the lowest birthrate in all of Canada, it only follows that Quebec and its francophone population will become less significant in the electoral politics of Canada as time goes by. 

    It’s obvious that Stephen Harper needs Canada’s Francophones less than they need him. 

  29. We have a PM who is not from Quebec for once (in a very long time) and doesn’t bend over backwards to please Quebec.  And the problem is ??????

  30. Harper tried like every other PM to bribe Quebec and finally concluded it’s not possible, they always want more.  If they continue to treat him and his party in a hostile way, why shouldn’t he focus on working with provinces that want to work with him?  I don’t think White grasps that everybody in Canada view the treat of “separation” as the huge joke it is, who’s going to leave a country dumb enough to give them $10 billion a year in transfers while just liking sand at them in return. 

  31. I am a Montrealer, and there are many, many things I do not like about Stephen Harper – but his ignoring Quebec is not one of them. 

    As Canada’s “squeaky wheel” that ALWAYS got the grease, Quebec alienated itself from Canada with its permanent blackmailing, whining, and the PQ’s constant state of patented “Outraged Humiliation™”.  

    The fact is that with its own law, Civil Code, and powers, Quebec already HAS de facto soverignty association:  now perhaps Quebec will have to behave and budget like a responsible partner with the other ‘sovereign’ provinces of Canada.

  32. Quebec clings to a dying language. The West has won. Get over it.

  33. What a shame! The blackmail is being diminished in spades. I guess Quebec will have to start acting like Canadians (oh, I know, old habits are hard to overcome) or they will continue to lose out. Who knows, is it possible that one day they could be as equal as the rest of the country?

  34. Utter nonsense. Harper ignoring Francophones? Hardly. White has lived too long in Quebec and is obviously suffering from the Stockholm syndrome, not to mention being too long in the company of Mulroney. Canada is about a lot more than Quebec and so called ‘French power’. Any power they may have is what has been handed them by misguided Anglos. Quebec can’t even come close to paying it’s own way in Canada, much less run it. Quebec is the albatross around the neck of Canada.