Jeffrey Simpson's column, in this morning's Globe and Mail, is a sad commentary on Quebec's links to the rest of Canada:
In most walks of life – in what we might call civil society – the links are thin. And within the political realm, where historically francophones and other Canadians interacted constructively or with conflict, again the links have frayed.
Today, more than at any time in Canadian history, there are almost no federalists in Quebec political life who speak often and with conviction about the merits of the Canadian federal system. There are no federalist champions from Ottawa whose voices resonate in Quebec, and there are few in the realm of provincial politics.
The two original partners in Confederation seem to be leading entirely separate lives. They no longer share the same house. And the Harper government is absolutely unconcerned about this state of affairs:
The government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is hugely unpopular, devoid of impressive ministers, led by someone Quebeckers have come to think of as remote and uncaring of their aspirations, driven by an agenda incubated somewhere else.
Indeed, the summer’s saddest (or funniest) political spectacle was Mr. Harper’s appearance in Quebec. Surrounded by imported ministers – some of them unilingual English-speakers – and his rather feeble Quebec contingent, Harper’s team organized a forlorn photo op in the middle of nowhere, really, and presented the entire fabricated affair as a relaunch of Conservative hopes and intentions in Quebec.
So the task of keeping the marriage going falls to Thomas Mulcair -- or the new Liberal leader, whoever that may be. And the task will be, as they say in French, "formidable."