Stephen Harper has a habit of taking credit for what others have done -- or for just pure dumb luck. In 2008, he took credit for the solidity of Canadian banks, even though it was Paul Martin who beefed up capital requirements for the banks, while Harper -- as the Leader of the Opposition -- insisted that Canadian banks should follow the model of their American cousins.
And recently, at the Calgary Stampede, he took credit for the "gradual decline in Quebec separatist sentiment." Celine Cooper writes:
If support for sovereignty in Quebec is on the wane, it is in spite of his party’s governance, not because of it.
As research conducted by Université de Montréal sociology professor Claire Durand indicates, support for sovereignty has been receding among young francophones for close to 15 years.
In other words, support started to slide while the federal Liberals were still in power.
Beyond keeping their nose out of Quebec’s internal politics (the “don’t poke the bear” approach), neither the ebbing of sovereignist sentiment nor the PQ’s truncated tenure should be directly attributed to Harper’s governance. It is disingenuous for him to suggest otherwise.
Cooper suggests that, in the next election, the Conservatives will be off the Quebec radar screen -- because they concluded a long time ago that they can win a majority without any real presence in la belle province:
When the Conservatives won 10 Quebec seats in 2006, one of the reasons was because the Liberals had been in power for so long and were flailing in the aftermath of the Liberal sponsorship scandal and the Gomery commission.
But after realizing they could win a majority without Quebec, Harper more or less retreated from the province.
However, the prime minister has never let facts stop him from taking credit for what he sees as his monumental achievements. The truth is that there is nothing monumental about what he has done.
And it's time to debit his credit.