Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Debiting His Credit


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.


CK said...

I would argue that the reason support for sovereignty has been on the decline has zero to do with even the previous Liberal Gov't.

A funny thing is that a recent poll in La Belle Province (Leger-Marketing, I believe) also showed that support for Canada is not on the rise but the same as it has always been, particularly amongst Francophones.

I had read another article where a couple in their 70s had said they voted for CAQ instead of PQ because even though they had been lifelong separatists, they were "allergic to referendums". Go figure. Try to make sense out of this one.

I can conclude, however, that since Lucien Bouchard left the helm of the PQ, no subsequent leader has been able to make the sales pitch. Not Bernard Landry, certainly not Andre Boisclair and least of all, Pauline Marois, who is and always was as unpopular as Boisclair.

Another thing is that over time, since Lucien Bouchard, the PQ has been steering to the right in the feeble hope of attracting business support. Yeah right. So they left their roots of the pro-working class way behind. Pierre Karl Peladeau nomination and candidacy was the death knell.

Perhaps another party (Quebec Solidaire?) or another leader will be able to sell it. Especially if Harper wins another majority. If he does, he will further ignore and shun Quebec, so perhaps a gift to next leader of PQ.

Remember, as mention above, sovereigny support may be down, but support for Canada has not gone up neither and if like that couple I mentioned above, perhaps the simple reason it is down is they simply don't want to do the work, in many cases, simply headed to a ballot box come a potential referendum day.

They (pundits and such) say youth don't support Harper, however, they don't vote. Simply with that inaction, they have proven to support Harper.

Owen Gray said...

I've always felt, CK, that support for separation may lie dormant, but it never dies. What makes the difference, as you suggest, is who leads the charge.

Levesque and Bouchard generated enthusiasm. No one else has. And Harper generates apathy.

Anonymous said...

How did end up with this smug, self centred bitch as our prime minister? We made a mistake, and we have to fix it.

Owen Gray said...

We have an opportunity in 2015, Anon. The question is, "Are we smart enough to seize it?"

rumleyfips said...

After watching Harper repeatedly snub, isolate and punish Quebec, I think this is just another pander to the baseness of his base. The election may show that the hated Quebeqois are as powerful as this ever shrinking base.

Owen Gray said...

Quebec has a history of punishing those who ignore the province, rumley.