Sunday, April 29, 2007

Oh The Harpocrisy

Andrew Coyne offers a succinct entry that speaks to the Harper duplicity, as it relates to Quebec nationalists. How far will Harper go? Apparently, as far as he needs to quench his thirst for power:

Conservative political parties have long recognized that their relative weakness in Quebec is a critical factor in limiting them to opposition rather than government status. Conservatives have also observed that, when they came to power in Canada in the past century, they did so in coalition with the province's so-called "nationalist" forces. This lesson has been interpreted by the Canadian Alliance as meaning that the party should position itself as a nationalist force in Quebec and focus on the significant anti-Liberal vote.

Over the past few years I have concluded that this strategy is fundamentally mistaken. It ignores the real lesson of Canadian history -- that while Conservatives have come to power by exploiting a nationalist strategy in Quebec, such coalitions have never lasted very long. Indeed, they have ended in political disaster.

The broad lesson of history is that Canada's natural governing coalition always includes the federalist option in Quebec, not the nationalist one. This is what the Liberals were in the 20th century. In the 19th century, when the Conservatives usually made up the government, they occupied a similar position. It would therefore be a mistake, in my judgment, for the Canadian Alliance to focus on simply grabbing the anti-Liberal vote in order to build a beachhead in Quebec. The party must undertake the long-run work necessary to become a federalist option in Quebec acceptable to a significant number of Liberal as well as anti-Liberal voters.

Steve Harper 2002


Prime Minister Stephen Harper championed his "open" brand of federalism in Quebec's rural heartland Saturday night, finding an echo in the province's newly emboldened autonomists.
Harper - speaking exclusively in French - painted himself as a defender of the Quebec nation, and the federal leader best positioned to fight the province's separatist forces.

"When you are a nation, it is perfectly natural to be a nationalist," he told a crowd of more than 400 people gathered in the community centre of this farming town south of Quebec City.

"Open federalism is what we did when we asked the Canadian Parliament to recognize that Quebecois form a nation within Canada," Harper said.

He said a re-elected Conservative government would lead a Canada that was "strong, united and free, with a Quebec (that was) autonomous and proud." ...
Monday is Harper’s birthday, and after his speech, which was entirely in French, he was serenaded to the Quebec birthday theme (the seperatist song), "Mon cher Stephen, c’est a ton tour de te laisser parler d’amour," to the tune of Gens du Pays.

Stephen Harper 2007 dreaming of majority

Harper quotes Duplessis, engages in heavy petting with seperatists, and then enjoys the PQ national anthem. I guess the question for Quebecers, and I believe this an important point, does sincerity trump opportunism? Stephen Harper cares nothing for the aspirations of Quebecers, the talking points are merely a means to an end. Utter targeted phrases, offer token gestures, speak to the wallet, all in an effort to win over Quebecers.

The common assumption, Quebecers are a sophisticated electorate. The next election will put this belief to the test, because clearly Stephen Harper has concluded he can manipulate the Quebec voter. As for Canada, from a federalists perspective, last night serves as one more clear example why this country can't afford a prolonged Harper reign.


OxyFrog said...

I don't think it's very fair to be attacking him for being sung happy birthday. The song has no seperatist conotation whatsoever, everybody I know from francophone Ontario sings it at birthdays.

Anonymous said...

Comment "fair"? C'est vraiment pas "UNFAIR" de souligner l'opportunisme politique des plus craces que démontre le Stevie préféré du Premier ministre Danny Williams (TN-et-Labrador). Et nous, pauvres Québécois et surtout pauvres Beaucerons, nous nous laissons "BERNER" par l'honorable Maxime Bernier et autres estafettes québéco-conservateurs de Stevie qui, comme Mario (néo-Harper) Dumont, vont nous mener dans la belle droite à oeillères et intolérantes. Lisez donc Vincent Marisal dans la Presse du 28 avril - Stephen Harper et son gouvernement sont un désastre national comme on en a rarement vu en 140 ans de fédération à cons.

Dylan said...

"The common assumption, Quebecers are a sophisticated electorate. The next election will put this belief to the test, because clearly Stephen Harper has concluded he can manipulate the Quebec voter."

Great post! I also blogged about this issue today and Harper's "Quebec nationalism" scheme is insulting not only to Quebecers but also to the rest of the country - especially the West.

I hope Quebec can see through his facade and gets bitten in the ass next election.

knb said...

Good post Steve.

Anon @ 8:31, well said. I wish I could respond in French, but I cannot. (btw, can someone please tell me how to access french grammatical accents?)

dylan, I think it's more than Quebec that has to see through this.

Honestly, I'm a bit astounded to what lengths this man will travel.

Scotian, if you are around, do you not find it incredible to see the depth of his depravity? I really didn't see this coming. I knew the want, the desire to prevail, but to take it here, no, I didn't see that.

lept said...

"no seperatist conotation whatsoever"
- let me see, the prime minister being sung this anthem in a nationalist stronghold: just a happy birthday message?
While, yes, it is widely sung on birthdays it does have a history which everyone in Québec references it to in this context.

Scotian said...

"Scotian, if you are around, do you not find it incredible to see the depth of his depravity? I really didn't see this coming. I knew the want, the desire to prevail, but to take it here, no, I didn't see that." knb 9:17 PM, April 29, 2007

I did, have said so many times in the past and cited this willingness to ally himself to these forces as one of my grounds for stating this man threatens the future of this nation if not removed from power and discredited. This comes as zero surprise to me, indeed I must admit I am a little surprised at yours, but then I also can understand why one would not want to go here, the problem for me was I knew too much about Harper and his background from actually watching him for nearly 2 decades to not expect this sort of thing. This man has no scruples at this point in his life where gaining power is concerned; I stopped having any illusions about that thanks to the Grewal fraud. It is one of the reasons I don't let that one go, for if a party leader/LOO will cover-up that kind of slander/fraud against their political rival then they have shown they cannot be trusted with real power.

This is alas just one more example of me feeling like Cassandra, and I cannot begin to tell you how tired I am of it. I suspect Steve V remembers me being concerned about this sort of alliance between Harper and the nationalists in Quebec for even worse repercussions than Mulroney's alliance with them.

"JOLTIN' JOE' said...


A re-elected Conservative government would lead a Canada that was "strong, united and free, with a Quebec (that was) autonomous and proud,"

As an Ontario-io-ian I must ask this: Which level of government's edict am I following as I change my light bulbs, the Government of Canada
or the Government of Ontario?

Related to the division of powers (now that the thought's in your mind) is this necessary information: What powers would be those of an "autonomous" Quebec under "A re-elected Conservative government" and which would remain those of a "strong and united" Canada?

Another question to be answered (prior to the election rather than afterwards) is this: Would all provinces be "autonomous" or just the one?

Anonymous said...

So, can all other provinces demand autonomy and mega dollars to keep us happy?

Let's all cry seperation and see what happens.

OxyFrog said...

lept, yes, I believe it's simply a birthday message. I don't think about the political connotations of the song when I sing it at birthdays, or when it's sung to me. Harper can certainly be criticised for much of the substance of the piece, and I certainly think that flirting with the nationalists is dangerous, but trying to find seperatist bogeymen where there are none is silly.

knb said...

Scotian, my surprise lies in the depth into which he will lie to himself.

I know he will do anything to achieve power in this country, but somehow I didn't see the Quebec stuff happening. Well, I didn't see the ADQ I'm a poor judge perhaps.

Please do not misunderstand me. It's not the fact that Harper
is not capable of this, I know he is, I just did not see the Quebec opening for him and his hypocritical stance coming.

Oh, I'm not expressing this correctly. I'll leave it at, I took my eye off the ball as it relates to the ADQ. I didn't think Harper would be given that chance. I'm not surprised that he pounced, I am surprised at how quickly he did and how I don't think he's measured the impact in the West.

Dana said...

Joltin' Joe, the answer to your last question is yes, all the provinces would be autonomous. They would all be firewalled off one from another and from the federal government.

We would become a de facto republic in the US model.

That's been the vision all along.

Anonymous said...

Is it a surprise Harper shares his birthday with Hitler? He is a danger to all that is Canada. His wicked alliance with those that serve to dismantle Canada should send him to prison for TREASON. Wish all those cult donkeys would wake up and smell the rot from this foul creep.

Antonio said...

Steve I see your point but the whole Happy Birthday = Separatist Plot thing makes you sound a tad ridiculous

Steve V said...


I don't claim to have intimate knowledge of Quebec, but given Harper's rhetoric, the song just seemed like icing on the cake, didn't it?

Antonio said...

Ill put it a different way.

If we sang Happy Birthday to Jean Chretien or Stephane Dion, would it be a separatist plot?

It's happy birthday.

(the bonne fete version is an anglicism)

The rest of the post was good, but like i said the happy birthday = separatist plot threw it all out the window.

This autonomist thing should frighten a few people. Looks like Harper does want a confederation instead of a federation. We already are the most decentralist federation in the world, thanks to a few JCPC rulings.

I would personally like the two levels of government to stick to their own jurisdiction. I also believe that the federal government also has a role ro equalize services across the country. The Liberals defend that part of the federal role, but sometimes overstep it.

As we saw with harper, he wants the opposite.

Steve V said...

Fair enough.

Betty said...

A politician begging for votes is like a guy trolling for favours. They will promise and plead and pledge and perjure themselves to prevail. It’s pathetic to behold. Quebec voters beware!