The past and future tense

by Aaron Wherry

CBC tonight referred to an essay—Our Benign Dictatorship—authored in 1996 by Stephen Harper and Tom Flanagan that refers specifically to the relationship between conservatism and Quebec nationalism.

Below, the excerpt highlighted by the CBC.

“If Quebec stays in Confederation, the Bloc will either disintegrate or become an autonomist party, participating in federal politics as a representative of Quebec’s specific interests. Philosophically, it is logical for liberals to offer Quebec money and privileged treatment, while conservatives find it easier to offer autonomy and enhanced jurisdiction. On that basis, a strategic alliance of Quebec nationalists with conservatives outside Quebec might become possible, and it might be enough to sustain a government.”

Later, there’s this.

“Bereft of carrots, the Liberal government is resorting to ever heavier sticks against separatism. In our view, only a conservative vision that takes government back to its proper role, and thereby concedes to Quebec the space required for its own civil society, can hold the country together for the long term.”

The full essay appears to be here.




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The past and future tense

  1. The addendum to the next edition should be interesting.

  2. What heavier sticks are these two doctors in redneckology referring to? The Clarity Ac?

  3. t.

  4. (and since when are Quebec nationalists automatically separatists)

  5. They’re pretty much arguing the <Maître Chez Nous case for Québécois self-determination, but, as usual, Flanagan and Harper argue everything so damn badly, confused, as they are, by Harper’s hatred of Liberals and by the American Flanagan’s profound hatred of Canadians.

  6. I personally find this part more interesting myself:
    *********************************************************

    If Reform has done anything, it has taught conservative voters that they do not have to be content with Toryism, that they can have their own party, that such a party can elect MPs and that it can influence the political agenda in Ottawa. The current Liberal government is more conservative on most issues than the previous Progressive Conservative government. Whatever the Liberals do seems moderate because Reform urges them to go further and faster. Conservative voters are getting better results as outsiders influencing a Liberal government than they did as an inside influence within a Progressive Conservative government.
    *********************************************************

    Of course, not being able to form government is frustrating too.

  7. Wherry,

    Stop it. Doncha know it’s anti-West to keep confronting the conservatives with their irresponsible, conttadictory, and hypocritical pronouncements?

  8. Contradictory…stupid iPod.

  9. “Of course, not being able to form government is frustrating too.”

    Of course, being government had lead to a morally bankrupt, free-spending Conservative Party being tugged ever leftwards in its attempt to destroy the Liberals.

  10. Andrew> Hit the nail on the head there. There was a lot of discontent with Harper’s government among the western base before the attempt to oust him. Now of course with this coalition business, the Tory MP’s in the west have just been given job security for the next 10 years.

    But hey, who cares if the Albertans hate you a little more right? Who needs opportunities anyway?

  11. ” In our view, only a conservative vision that takes government back to its proper role, and thereby concedes to Quebec the space required for its own civil society, can hold the country together for the long term.”

    Geee… Wonder why they didn’t brought that up today?

  12. When confronted with the document, Stockwell Day denied the existence of a province called “Quebec”…

  13. They were obviously wrong. In my mind they tried to ‘offer autonomy and enhanced jurisdiction”. Harper even called the Quebecois a nation. How was he rewarded?

    I personally think Quebec is already separate. Lets stop the charade–and the cash flow.

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