Monday, October 20, 2008

Not Too Late For Harper In Quebec

From the Globe And Mail:

Stephen Harper has no choice: He'll have to do something about Quebec, even if many Conservatives urge him to start focusing exclusively on Ontario, the province that might eventually grant him a majority. Forget Quebec, they say. Mr. Harper bent over backward to appease the nationalists, and what did he get? In the province that was supposed to pave the way for a Harper majority, the Tories lost one of the 10 seats they already had, and three points in popular support.

It's quite understandable that some Conservatives would be furious at those “ungrateful” Quebeckers who turned their backs on the man who had showered them with so many favours, only to succumb to the Bloc Québécois's isolationist embrace.

Still, Mr. Harper cannot ignore the second most populous province, not only because of its electoral impact but also because it is the duty of any prime minister with a national vision to pay attention to Canada's francophone minority. This is obviously what Mr. Harper intends to do. At his press conference the morning after the vote, he stuck to his habit of reading the French version of his text before the English one – a way to point out that, as he said when he presided over celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of Quebec City, “Canada was born in French.”

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