Tuesday, January 10, 2006
A Vote to Save Canada?
The wisdom of David Frum's column in today's National Post cannot be overstated:
"A Liberal defeat would be a unifying moment for Canada, a moment that brings together Canadians from every region and every province to uphold norms of integrity and decency in Canadian politics.
"Another Liberal victory, however, will put Canada back on the path to a third Quebec referendum and other grave threats to national unity.
"The blunt fact is that Quebec elects separatists as a protest against Liberal over-centralization. The sequence of events tells the story.
1974: Liberal majority.
1976: PQ elected in Quebec.
1984: Conservative majority.
1985: PQ defeated.
1993: Liberal majority.
1994: PQ returned to power.
"The next Quebec election will probably occur in about a year's time.
"Nothing -- nothing -- would strengthen the separatist cause more than the re-election of the Martin government. If Martin still holds power when Quebecers next vote provincially, the separatists will be free to run against Liberal corruption, Liberal perversion of democracy, and the Liberal refusal to answer such basic questions as: "Who received the improper Adscam funds?"
"But if the Liberals have been defeated by English-speaking and French-speaking voters acting together, the separatists will face a much tougher problem. They will face in Ottawa a new, dynamic and honest government, fully committed to investigating and punishing wrongdoing. Electing a Conservative government would deprive Quebec separatists of their best issue. Electing a Liberal government would wrap the issue up for them and tie a bow on it".
There is no guarantee that Stephen Harper will succeed in solving the "Quebec question." In fact, odds are that he won't. But a federal government representative of all parts of Canada, which clearly demonstrates to the majority of Quebecers who are not hard-line separatists that their concerns are being taken seriously, will go a long way to thwarting the separatists' short-term success in the next Quebec election.
There is no reason why constructive dialogue between an honest federal government and the provincial government of Jean Charest should be seen as either a "sell-out" of English Canada or a repudiation of the reasonable expectations of the vast majority of Quebecers.
The trust of both sides has been violated for many years by opportunistic politicians and social engineers on both sides of the issue. That trust will have to be rebuilt slowly and carefully. In that light, it would seem that Mr. Harper may turn out to be the real Mr. Canada.
It seems remarkable that so few political analysts are seeing this election in such stark terms.
Read the complete column here.The Real Threat To Canadian Unity.