Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Last time I saw you, we had just split in two

I'm not sure how good a strategy "national unity" is this time around: OTTAWA (CP) — Liberals will revive the national-unity debate as a campaign theme and paint their opponents as twin partners in the dismantling of Canada. Top party strategists have indicated in recent days the long-dormant issue will return to the forefront if there’s an election this spring. Outside of some fuzzy-headed Trudeaupian idealists in Toronto and Montreal, who still maintains absolute, unquestionable national unity as their drop-dead election issue? That is, how many voters are there who are willing to extend any necessary amount of federal largesse to Quebec to maintain the current composition of Confederation, and all other issues be damned? I'd be willing to wager there'll be a lot fewer of those people this time around. The purported threat seems a lot less urgent, but more importantly, the constant demands of revenue and special privileges extracted from the rest of Canada are getting just a bit old. The predictions rang true Wednesday when Prime Minister Paul Martin, his deputy prime minister, his cabinet, his party’s MPs, and top strategists all sounded the same alarm bells. One senior government official warned that a Liberal defeat would help propel Quebec towards independence. "Our opponents aren't just against health care, and sunshine, and puppies; they will destroy the country!" Yeesh. Not that giving up on that particular battle wouldn't be an idea to pursue, though. I'd be happy to see an indepedent Quebec. The separatists get what they want, and can then go fend for themselves. No more federal job creation grants for questionable golf resorts in rural Quebec, no more preferential treatment for Francophones in federal hiring, and especially no more of an entitled-feeling minority periodically holding the other provinces - with which they have between little and absolutely nothing in common - hostage. A Liberal defeat would be the impetus for the long-overdue secession of Quebec, you say? Faster, please.

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