I confess, I don't really understand why people are in such a tizzy about Harper's Quebec motion. Political motivations aside, it would seem that the government has merely stated the obvious. Recognizing Quebec as a nation within a united Canada doesn't necessarily translate into a constitutional nightmare, nor does it move Quebec closer to seperation.
From everything I gather, the paradox of Quebec as nation, while simulatenously part of the larger Canada, is a concept that is readily accepted by most Quebecers. This debate is not an either/or proposition, but more an admission of the simulateneous realities. Quebec already has special powers in the constitution, which affirm a distinct situation within the federation. Embracing the idea of nation, in a cultural sense, doesn't demand extra powers, because the federalist case is still strong. If the goal is too bring people together, then a sensitivity is required and through this recognition the irritants that seperatists use are muted. The important point for English Canada, you can't project your view into the debate and not expect resistence.
I suspect Quebecers don't see yesterdays announcement as particularly earth shattering. Every poll I have every seen reveals that Quebecers do have an affinity for Canada. Canada looks more attractive when it embraces the sentiment of the majority in Quebec, not when it fights tooth and nail to curtail. Harper's motion says to Quebec, we accept the reality which you already know. Too often, English Canada tries to beat down any notion that has the potential to recognize Quebec's special status, which in turn merely alienates. You can't ignore the issue, because in so doing you allow the tensions to fester, which ultimately won't be ignored. Do we want the Bloc as permanent fixture in our federal House? The Chretien approach of do nothing, maintain the status quo, only fuels the seperatist argument. Much better in my mind, to recognize the obvious and see if there is a way to move forward together. Funny thing about compromise and openness, it has a tendency to work both ways if the sentiment is genuine. Quebec is a nation, and I am proud to be part of a Canada that thrives within this reality.