Saturday, September 13, 2008

Commentary -- Calgary Herald

Harper Spent Years Pondering, Not
Pandering To Quebec

The other day in the newsroom, a relatively savvy fella reflected on how no one seems to comment on how the biggest change in Stephen Harper from his Reform days is how he treats Quebec.

"He's always pandering to Quebec," complained my colleague.

A few days later I ended up editing and publishing a column on this page by Naheed Nenshi that stated: "What is clear is that the transformation of Harper is complete. The idealistic outsider is now the consummate insider. The 'West Wants In' advocate now panders to Quebec for his majority."

But, if there's any issue Harper has remained constant on long before he became PM, it's over what Canada's approach with Quebec -- and indeed all provinces -- should be.

To my colleague in the newsroom I simply responded: "Harper's position with Quebec has been consistent from the get go. He has done for Quebec what he always said he thought the provinces should do anyway, that is to build "firewalls" to protect their constitutionally guaranteed powers."

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