Here, for instance, is Mario Dumont, who campaigned for the Yes side in 1995 — it is fashionable to forget such things, but memory is stubborn sometimes — and who came close to an upset victory in the 2007 Quebec election on a policy of simply ignoring Ottawa, fretting that Jean Charest has not been careful to kiss quite enough federal Conservative backside.
If Charest doesn’t work hard enough to get enough Conservatives elected, then that’ll mean fewer ministers from Quebec, and a “net retreat for Quebec.” It’s hardly obvious the Charestistas disagree, which is why a senior Charest minister has been campaigning overtly for the highly improbable salvation of my dear friend (Sen.) Michael Fortier (ret’d) in Vaudreuil-Soulanges.
I have believed that relations between Charest and Harper, Charest and Dalton McGuinty, and Charest and — gasp! — Stéphane Dion have been more complex than is sometimes reported, but so far I haven’t been able to move that feeling past the status of a hunch. Anyway, take all of this as you like; it’s entirely possible that Dumont is simply speaking the plain truth of the matter.