Harper playing dangerous political game with Quebec wild car


Scape
#1
Harper playing dangerous political game with Quebec wild card
Conservative-Bloc minority government won't serve Canada well

by David Orchard

While the sponsorship affair rages across the country, it is in Quebec where it burns the hottest * threatening far more than the Liberal party.

The opposition parties, particularly the Conservatives, appear prepared to play with this fire for their own ends.

Polls in Quebec show support for sovereignty at over 50 per cent -- its highest level since the Meech Lake Accord. The Charest government is very low in the polls and has been for months. Waiting impatiently in the wings is the PQ, with its promise of another referendum "as soon as possible in the next mandate."

Yet the Conservative party under Stephen Harper is not worried. It is ready to damn the torpedoes and join with the Bloc to trigger an election. A national news item, reporting on the lack of concern in the Conservative party about the dramatic rise in separatist momentum in Quebec, quoted a top Conservative: "We have a philosophy of federalism that is more in tune with how Quebecers see a federal state operating." What exactly does this mean and of which Quebecers is the Conservative party speaking?

Everyone can understand the Bloc's eagerness for an election. They and the separatist movement in Quebec are going to be the big winners in any early vote. But why would the Conservatives be prepared to take this risk with Canada?

The Conservative party is nowhere on the radar in Quebec and stands virtually no chance of taking any seats there; nor does the NDP. Like it or not, it is the federal Liberal party that has fought -- and is seen to have fought -- to keep Canada intact and it is the only force on the ground in Quebec capable of doing so. Harper's claim that Quebecers can or will vote for his new party as an alternative to Liberal corruption is a pipe dream. The Conservative party's weakness at the riding level, its support of joining the U.S. missile project and the war on Iraq, its opposition to the Kyoto agreement, and its positions in stark disagreement with the vast majority of Quebec voters on a number of other issues, doom the party utterly within the province in any near- term election. Harper's frantic attempt to recruit separatist candidates to run under his banner does nothing to change this reality.

As has been the case for years, the fight in Quebec is between les rouges, the Liberals, and les independantistes, the separatists.

By triggering an election at this time, well in advance of any process of sorting the wheat from the chaff via Gomery, Harper's Conservatives hope to improve their strength in Parliament. However, if they win a minority government, they will be able to govern only through the same method they used to get the election -- namely in alliance with the Bloc.

It's not hard to imagine the bargain a resurgent, reinvigorated Bloc will drive for their support of the Conservatives to weaken the federal ability to govern and set the stage for a winning referendum.

Some Canadians have taken to calling radio open line shows to say that if Quebec wants to leave, so be it.

The consequences for those of us who love this country would be not only the loss of Canada's largest province and the great geographic and strategic gateway to the continent, but the loss of the very heart of the nation, with its culture, language, dynamism, and four hundred years of shared history -- and would be a near-fatal blow to any hope of keeping the rest of the country intact.

Those in a rush "to throw the bums out" would do well to reflect on the scenario of a minority Conservative government propped up by a powerful Bloc Quebecois facing a coming Quebec referendum.

A Bloc controlling 60-odd federal Quebec seats, and a newly elected PQ with a majority of the provincial seats will be on one side. Who will be on the other side? Who will speak for Canada this time? Who will fight and win this battle for the hearts and minds of Quebecers? Pierre Trudeau did it in 1980, Jean Chretien in 1995. Both were leaders of majority governments with substantial support in Quebec. If Harper imagines that his words will motivate Quebecers to remain in Canada, he doesn't know the province very well.

These are the stakes that Harper is prepared to gamble with, in a manner remarkably similar to Brian Mulroney's famous "roll of the dice" with the country's future over a dozen years ago. Now, as then, only a strong outpouring of opposition from Canadians will stop Harper's dangerous game.

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David Orchard is the author of the bestseller, The Fight for Canada - Four Centuries of Resistance to American Expansionism, and ran for the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative Party in 1998 and 2003. He farms at Borden, SK and can be reached at tel (306) 652-7095, E-mail: davidorchard@sasktel.net www.davidorchard.com
 
no1important
#2
So many people do not see that Harper is a very Dangerous person and no way he should be Prime Minister.
 
Reverend Blair
#3
Orchard generally tells it like it is. The Conservatives are so afraid of him that they didn't even want him at the convention as an observer. The fact that he had run for the leadership and is more representative of traditional tory beliefs didn't matter...his mere presence scared them, so they took away his membership.

Is he running this time around, Scape? I think the Progressive Canadians could use his voice.
 
bluealberta
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Reverend Blair

Orchard generally tells it like it is. The Conservatives are so afraid of him that they didn't even want him at the convention as an observer. The fact that he had run for the leadership and is more representative of traditional tory beliefs didn't matter...his mere presence scared them, so they took away his membership.

Is he running this time around, Scape? I think the Progressive Canadians could use his voice.

David Orchard represents everything you on the left despise about the Conservatives! As a conservative, I find his views extreme. Why would you want him to run?
 
Reverend Blair
#5
He has a lot of views I don't agree with, Blue. He is honest though and he won't sell us out to the lowest bidder the Harper and his cronies want to. He is against deep integration.

He is also a real conservative, espousing the views of traditional conservatism. The Harperites are radicals.
 
Numure
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by bluealberta

Quote: Originally Posted by Reverend Blair

Orchard generally tells it like it is. The Conservatives are so afraid of him that they didn't even want him at the convention as an observer. The fact that he had run for the leadership and is more representative of traditional tory beliefs didn't matter...his mere presence scared them, so they took away his membership.

Is he running this time around, Scape? I think the Progressive Canadians could use his voice.

David Orchard represents everything you on the left despise about the Conservatives! As a conservative, I find his views extreme. Why would you want him to run?

I do not agree with most of his opinions. But he is a respectful man. And tells it like it is. He might be a right winger, but he IS a great human being.
 
Scape
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by bluealberta

David Orchard represents everything you on the left despise about the Conservatives! As a conservative, I find his views extreme. Why would you want him to run?


Those in a rush "to throw the bums out" would do well to reflect on the scenario of a minority Conservative government propped up by a powerful Bloc Quebecois facing a coming Quebec referendum.


Orchard has been consistently for Canada, a Strong and Independent one. Something that is very much out of vogue with the "throw the bums out" crowd that would gladly sell us down the river to get elected.
 
bluealberta
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Scape

Quote: Originally Posted by bluealberta

David Orchard represents everything you on the left despise about the Conservatives! As a conservative, I find his views extreme. Why would you want him to run?


Those in a rush "to throw the bums out" would do well to reflect on the scenario of a minority Conservative government propped up by a powerful Bloc Quebecois facing a coming Quebec referendum.


Orchard has been consistently for Canada, a Strong and Independent one. Something that is very much out of vogue with the "throw the bums out" crowd that would gladly sell us down the river to get elected.

As opposed to the Liberals who would sell us out to the heavier tax and spend NDP to get elected? There is one area the Bloc and the Conservatives agree on (the only one, but it is important), and that is that the provinces should be able to get the rights back from the federal government that were guaranteed in the constitution, and which the feds have consistently eroded away.
 
Numure
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by bluealberta

Quote: Originally Posted by Scape

Quote: Originally Posted by bluealberta

David Orchard represents everything you on the left despise about the Conservatives! As a conservative, I find his views extreme. Why would you want him to run?


Those in a rush "to throw the bums out" would do well to reflect on the scenario of a minority Conservative government propped up by a powerful Bloc Quebecois facing a coming Quebec referendum.


Orchard has been consistently for Canada, a Strong and Independent one. Something that is very much out of vogue with the "throw the bums out" crowd that would gladly sell us down the river to get elected.

As opposed to the Liberals who would sell us out to the heavier tax and spend NDP to get elected? There is one area the Bloc and the Conservatives agree on (the only one, but it is important), and that is that the provinces should be able to get the rights back from the federal government that were guaranteed in the constitution, and which the feds have consistently eroded away.

Its the only thing we agree on.
 
Reverend Blair
#10
Quote:

As opposed to the Liberals who would sell us out to the heavier tax and spend NDP to get elected?

As opposed to the slash and burn Conservatives? The NDP have promised balanced budgets and their platforms have contained how they would pay for their initiaves since Mulroney was in power and running up our debt.

Quote:

There is one area the Bloc and the Conservatives agree on

That it is in the their partisan interests and the best interests of their leaders to bring the government down.

I can understand that in Duceppe's case. He has never denied wanting to split this country up.

In Harper's case though? He's just trying to hang onto his job. He wants a chance to quit before his party goes into its next fit of cannibalism.
 
Scape
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by Numure

Quote: Originally Posted by bluealberta

Quote: Originally Posted by Scape

Quote: Originally Posted by bluealberta

David Orchard represents everything you on the left despise about the Conservatives! As a conservative, I find his views extreme. Why would you want him to run?


Those in a rush "to throw the bums out" would do well to reflect on the scenario of a minority Conservative government propped up by a powerful Bloc Quebecois facing a coming Quebec referendum.


Orchard has been consistently for Canada, a Strong and Independent one. Something that is very much out of vogue with the "throw the bums out" crowd that would gladly sell us down the river to get elected.

As opposed to the Liberals who would sell us out to the heavier tax and spend NDP to get elected? There is one area the Bloc and the Conservatives agree on (the only one, but it is important), and that is that the provinces should be able to get the rights back from the federal government that were guaranteed in the constitution, and which the feds have consistently eroded away.

Its the only thing we agree on.

The Liberals also like a track record of fiscal responsibility

8 budgets in a row they have done the job of balancing the books. Since the peak year of 1995-96, the government has reduced the accumulated national debt by more than $52 billion. The debt-to-GDP ratio measures the size of the debt compared to the size of the economy, and this indicator has fallen even more dramatically. In 1995-96, it was at 68 per cent. In 2003-04 is had fallen to just over 42 per cent, and is now forecast to reach 38 per cent in 2005-06. Goodale has set a target of 25 per cent within 10 years. That's nothing to sneer at and we have yet to see a conservative government that can run a country without polarizing it and balance the books. The liberals could (and probably will) spend half of the surplus to keep Parliament in session but they will still be in the black. I would like to see the debt payed off faster but we don't need to pay off the mortgage tomorrow and we have responsibilities today that must be addressed such as the child care program that has been promised since the 1970's and getting health care back on track.
 
Numure
#12
To that extent though, I must give credit where credit is due. The liberals have a done a dam good job at balancing the books. And not only that, getting ride of our huge debt. It came at a cost though. The current mess in Health care is due to the massive cuts done in the budget.
 
damngrumpy
No Party Affiliation
#13
It does not matter, Harper is about to be dumped on the political scrap pile of history. I believe the Liberals and the NDP want him to force an election, that way both can say its all Harpers fault. Not only that, but the Tories will be seen as climbing in bed with the Bloc, now that has to bee the kiss of death. Anyone who believes that Quebecers will join the Conservative Party is truly dreaming. They view Harper as well, I guess I can't be that mean. Atlantic Canada views him as an extremist, and Ontario, when they politically sober up will do what they always do Federally, they will elect liberals and New Democrats. The west will vote Tory and NDP and complain they have no voice in Federal Politics.
Canadian politics is so much fun eh?