Prime Minister Stephen Harper championed his "open'' brand of federalism in Quebec's rural heartland Saturday night, finding an echo in the province's newly emboldened autonomists.Harpers recent pronouncements are further evidence of the correctness of my analysis of the Tories two solitudes policy; recognizing the unilingual natures of Quebec and the Rest of Canada. An attack on Canada's bilingualism and multiculturalism, which the right wing has opposed since Trudeau was PM.
Harper -- speaking exclusively in French -- painted himself as a defender of the Quebec nation, and the federal leader best positioned to fight the province's separatist forces.
"When you are a nation, it is perfectly natural to be a nationalist,'' he told a crowd of more than 400 people gathered in the community centre of this farming town south of Quebec City.
A New Democrat MP says the appointment of a unilingual anglophone to a federal ombudsman's office is illegal.
New Brunswick MP Yvon Godin said Friday the hiring of Steve Sullivan, the first federal ombudsman for victims of crime, violates public employment laws.
The Acadie-Bathurst MP also said Sullivan's hiring is "immoral" because he can't represent francophones adequately.
"The victims will finally have an ombudsman to file a complaint, but the entire Canadian francophone community can't speak to him," said Godin.
"It doesn't make any sense, absolutely no sense."
Harper, unlike Preston Manning, was a student of the Calgary School. Harper's political practice is influenced more by this than Manning was. Hence Harpers surprise; the recognition of Quebec as a nation, giving it the separatism it wants within a decentralized federal state. That is more the nuanced politics of the Calgary School than the Reform Party demand that the West Wants In. The old anti-bilingualism of the Reformers is replaced with the subtle Two Distinct Languages policy of the Conservatives. Which again appeals to Quebecois nationalism, while also keeping the rest of Canada happy with one language; English.
The Conservatives are promoting two Canadian languages, not bilingualism and bi-culturalism, since that is a Liberal bugaboo, a much hated left over of the Trudeau era. The Harper Conservatives roots are in the old Social Credit party of Alberta, both provincial and Federal, the Reform party and its links to the reactionary right wing I spoke of earlier. They are willing to accept two language groups in Canada, as long as they are unilingual. They have always opposed multiculturalism and bilingualism.