The most telling detail about Stephen Harper's appointment of Angelo Perischilli as his new Communications Director is that Perischilli doesn't speak French. He may, indeed, be able to reach out to other linguistic communities. He has been, after all, the political editor of Corriere Canadese.
However, he reaches a much larger audience in The Toronto Star, where he wrote during the last election campaign that:
Many are tired of the annoying lament from a province that keeps yelling at those who pay part of its bills and are concerned by the over-representation of francophones in our bureaucracy, our Parliament and our institutions.
Whatever you thought of Jack Layton's political principles, it was undeniable that he connected with Canadians -- in both languages. A recent poll suggests that Mr. Harper's numbers have gone up in Quebec. But the appointment of Perischelli also suggests that Mr. Harper believes he doesn't need Quebec to accomplish his goals.
A better student of history -- particularly Conservative history -- would know that it was the Diefenbaker government's total disregard of Quebec's aspirations which radicalized Rene Levesque. Canada's existence has never been as simple as one man/one vote.
As is so many other ways, the Harper government is trying to turn back the clock. And the results could be catastrophic.