The leader of Quebec's third largest political party says it's time to launch a new round of constitutional negotiations with the federal government much like Rene Levesque's "beau risque" some 20 years ago.
"It's our responsibility to respond to Ottawa's extended hand by proposing a new 'beau risque,' the risk of autonomy," Mario Dumont, leader of the Action democratique du Quebec, told 300 delegates Sunday at a general assembly meeting.
Don't get me wrong, I think Canada desperately needs to re-open the constitutional can of worms if it has any real future. What frightens me is the man at the federal helm makes decisions based on political calculations, not the "greater good". Since the election, there is defintely more "buzz" about the constitution. Harper has waded into the fray with several statements that suggest he would be open to re-working federalism. I think it a highly dangerous circumstance to have a federal leader who essentially approaches federalism with a Premier's regional perspective. Stephen Harper has made it clear that his agenda is a means to facilate his shortterm needs. I don't see anything that suggests an overriding vision or longterm perspective. In fact, you could argue there is no philosophy, unless of course the pursuit of power is a tenet.
The fact that people are now openly musing about re-opening the constitution raises the stakes on this government. Obviously, nothing substantial will happen during a minority situation, and I doubt the issue will gain much traction next election. The danger lies in Harper attaining unchecked power and wanting to make his mark politically. It's all opinion of course, and conservatives would argue that this is all "boogeyman" talk, but if you take Harper words in the past it suggests a recipe for regionalism, while the nation withers. I don't want a Prime Minister who thinks we need "firewalls" around provinces to keep out the feds. This man is supposed to be the feds, not the eleventh Premier- that's how Canada maintains the balance. I get this strange feeling that Canada can't afford a long Harper reign.