Thursday, March 22, 2007


You can tell what scares people by what they use to threaten others.
Here's an example:
The Conservative government is promising to take historic steps to limit federal spending power - but only if Quebecers vote for a federalist party next Monday.
Lost in all the budget headlines this week was a little-noticed promise to negotiate with the provinces about how to formally prevent Ottawa from spending money in provincial jurisdictions. Prime Minister Stephen Harper repeated the promise in the House of Commons on Wednesday and said he hopes to hold those discussions with a federalist government in Quebec.
Tory Quebec lieutenant Lawrence Cannon was asked whether that means the entire initiative hinges on the defeat of the separatist Parti Quebecois in Monday's election.
"That's what I understood," Cannon said of the prime minister's remarks.
"We'll see what happens on election night. But it takes federalists to reform federalism."
The suggestion that Ottawa could scrap such a major initiative if it disagrees with Quebec voters' choice drew accusations of interference in the provincial election.
"It's not a responsible comment," Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe said.
Harper is trying to flex his fiscal muscles in an attempt to make Quebec shiver in shock and awe. Now for Harper, like many federal politicians, nothing is more frightening than the prospect of losing influence, being cut off from authority and power by electing the "wrong" party.
So he thinks Quebeckers must be frightened of this, too.
There's not much that scares Quebec, but I think they find this kind of federal flexing to be particularly pathetic.

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