View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – National Unity- Marois Victory will now be part of Harper’s legacy

CFN – The win by the Parti Quebecois in Quebec’s election will give many a writer lots to speculate about in the future and most folks will be watching Prime Minister Stephen Harper and how he handles this new “national unity” file that has been dumped into his lap by Quebec voters.

It won’t be easy for Harper as he will almost certainly have to carry the can on this file himself. His caucus from Quebec is virtually nonexistent and he lacks a strong minister who can play the role of a Quebec lieutenant. Certainly Minister of Industry Christian Paradis has shown he is not up to the task. Who then can? The answer is no one but Harper.

For years the Conservatives relied on failed advice from ADQ supporters in Quebec, look at the number of them appointed to the Senate (including one today), but it has gotten them nowhere in that province.  The party infrastructure remains weak and there was always the belief in some quarters that at election time, the minimum could be done in Quebec while a concentrated effort was made to win a majority in the rest of the country. An election strategy that worked last time for them, but which has left them and Harper vulnerable now.

Everyone expects Pauline Marois to start jerking Harper’s chain and it is to her advantage to do so. How Harper responds to each of her incoming attacks will have long range repercussions for both Quebec and the country.

The Conservatives like to stress in their press releases that this is the “Harper government” and in this case they are right. Harper is the one who will have to make all the decisions on “his” Quebec file.

Any Prime Minister in his sixth year in office and nine years as party leader has to start looking at his legacy. What will he be leaving Canada with when down the road he decides to leave? Up until this point it was his performance on the economic front that was the strongest item, now how he performs and whether or not he can keep Canada together will also be part of his legacy.

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails.

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  1. The country needs the constitution open – eqaulization program and language – and all provinces need to be treated the same.

    Maybe that could be the something big Mulroney said should be done.

  2. Keith….thank-you for not bringing the language issue up in your column…’s enough already.

    Keith, I doubt the country will seperate, most quebecers are not for seperation. They need us and we need them and if and when it does happen that they seperate, Harper will be long gone.

    Eric……thinking you are dreaming in color. One doesn’t have to look too far…. take the USA for example. Do all the states combined have the same rules and enforce the same laws? It just doesn’t work that way.

  3. stella, I am talking about how the federal government provides for all provinces. If it did come down to seperation, issues like land severance, building and land reimbursement, border control, trade and on and on would need to be discussed first.

    And why doesn’t something work that way? Because special interests are the only ones who complain and it is easier to not rock the boat. Shame on all of us!

    And my “color” is spelled colour!

  4. Hello Eric,

    Agree with your posts; of course, all the provinces should be accorded the same rights and privileges…no more, no less.

    Am glad that PM Harper will be negotiating for Canada’s best interests. He obtained his majority without Quebec, the shift of power westward confirms that Quebec’s power/authority wanes, daily.

    Harper has received the message, loud and clear, from the Rest of Canada. NO MORE: special rights, privileges, contracts or deals for Quebec.

    Harper will act in Canadians’ best interests…no matter what language they speak! Believe his legacy will be to resolve this issue, once and for all:)

  5. Make a stand Prime minister Harper -5 seats in Quebec ,if that’s the sacrifice to bring equality so be it .
    But one must remember that 30 new seats added to parliament 3 in Quebec, the remaining in the ROC.

    I am pretty sure he knows his game plan.

    As for Quebec they are self destructive .
    Ideals and passion out-rule logic this fascist socialist regime will only alienate Quebec and put them further down the path of financial ruin.
    To my fellow Canadians over there(Quebec) I am sorry for the future does not bode well for you.

  6. Harper’s legacy so far includes a conspicuous failure to meet with provincial premiers. How many times in six years has he called a meeting with them: Once?

    Considering his failure to do so, along with his contempt for Parliament and climate change, and his antiquated ideas on crime and punishment, how can he be expected to act in Canadians’ best interests? That’s a tall order for a man who consistently says No to anything that does not serve HIS best interests.

    Let’s say Harper’s attention to the economy and trade is so far his best legacy. It’s a short-term legacy at best, however, because a true definition of economy means so much more than making a buck while you have the opportunity to do so. It means paying attention to and preserving the natural environment on which an economy depends….for the long term. So also with trade. Exporting Canada’s natural resources AT THE EXPENSE of Canada’s natural environment does not make economic sense…not over the long haul.

    Harper has a lot of re-thinking to do if he is to leave a legacy that is anywhere close to plus territory. It could start with understanding what it means to serve the best interests of Canadians…ALL Canadians… including the people of Quebec.

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