Duceppe calls for renewed sovereignty push
In the wake of Liberal party leader Michael Ignatieff's rejection of the proposed Liberal-NDP coalition, Bloc Quebecois -- the thinly-veiled third partner in the proposed government -- leader Gilles Duceppe has decided that it's time to renew the Bloc Quebecois' efforts toward Quebec sovereignty.
Reportedly the BQ had offered to take sovereignty off the agenda for 18 months as part of their agreement to prop up the coalition in confidence votes.
Now that the coalition is firmly off the table, Duceppe is in favour of renewing efforts toward Quebec sovereignty.
"Our goal is as pertinent as ever," Duceppe told a party meeting in St Hycainthe.
"In 2008, Bloc and Parti Quebecois victories brought hope to sovereigntists," Duceppe explained. "It's up to us now to translate this hope into action."
This announcement comes after the BQ and their provincial counterpart, the Parti Quebecois, were victims of several "friendly fire" incidents in which prominent members denounced the sovereignty program as impractical.
But as Duceppe calls for renewed efforts towards Quebec sovereignty, some people may wonder: what, precisely, has changed?
That is, aside from the obvious. Clearly, Ignatieff's rejection of the coalition agreement has changed the political landscape amongst the opposition in Ottawa. But other than that, what, precisely could have changed to precipitate this change in Duceppe's plans?
Clearly, the electoral fortunes of the BQ and PQ in 2008 haven't changed.
Reportedly Duceppe also noted the Liberal party's support for multiculturalism as a factor in his decision to push the party back toward the sovereignty agenda. Presumably, this hasn't changed over the past few months either.
The question of what changed over the past week to change Duceppe's plans so has just become startingly relevant.
It's hard to think of anything other than two possibilities. One is that Duceppe never intended to honour his commitment to the no-sovereignty-for-18-months promise. The second is that multiculturalism somehow factored into the promises the Liberal party and the NDP had to offer up in order to secure the Bloc within their coalition fold.
One thing is for certain: as a partner in the coalition government, the BQ never would have been able to put the interests of Canada ahead of Quebec's own parochial demands.
"For those who may not have noticed, no matter what party is in power in Ottawa, Liberal or Conservative, no matter who's in charge, the interests of Canada take precedence over the values and interests of Quebec," Duceppe mused.
Which can only mean that devotion to anything the BQ defines as "Quebec's interests" would have come before the country as a whole's -- especially likely issues related to national unity -- in order for the coalition to survive.
This is only one more reason why Canadians should be thankful that the spectre of the proposed coalition government has been dispelled for the immediate future.
Maybe next time the Liberals and NDP will wait until they don't have to rely on an unreliable and untrustworthy political bloc in order to accomplish this particular goal.
Other bloggers writing on this topic:
My Corner of the Universe - "The Definitive Sign That the Economy is on the Skids"
The Squid Zone - "Survivor - Canadian Style"