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Friday, October 29, 2010

Mad Max - Beyond Separatism and Federalism

So, you and Stephen Harper are in the same party? Really?

But he said Quebec governments over the past 50 years have undermined this by constantly demanding more from Ottawa, including, he said “particular privileges.”

“Essentially, we are saying to the rest of the country, it’s only us who are special and we should have more powers and influence than all of you,” he said.

He mentioned the idea of Quebec having more seats in parliament than its demographic weight would specify or a veto on constitutional changes. “And we ask for all this of them with a knife to the throat: ‘Say yes, or else we separate.’ Put yourself in their place. Are they not somewhat right to be reticent?”

Amazingly enough the audience clapped. Just waiting for the calls of vendu to start echoing though La Belle Province...Well give it time. The one part of Maxime Bernier's speech, as well as the one he gave at the Albany Club earlier this month, that is likely to gain traction is the removing of the federal government from provincial affairs. While such increases in provincial autonomy would be matched by reduced transfer payments, it's a trade off that Quebec voters might be willing to mull. 

Max's provocative comments came at the kick-off conference to the Reseau Liberte-Quebec (Quebec Freedom Network), the same weekend that poll results suggest that a new right wing provincial party would do well in the polls. Selling small government in Quebec can be described as preaching abstinence in a brothel. The fiscal instability of Quebec's over generous welfare state seems, however slowly, to be changing the attitude of the province's voters toward the Santa Claus approach to government.

At the federal level this can only bode well. One of the common arguments offered by defenders of "incrementalism" is that Quebec will never vote in a small government party. A more fiscally and economically reticent Quebec would undercut that argument. Joined with Quebec's long standing desire for greater autonomy, you have the workings of a genuinely conservative majority government. Brian Mulroney built two majority governments by promising less government to Alberta, more autonomy to Quebec and national stability to Ontario. There is no reason that Mad Max couldn't repeat the trick, albeit actually carrying through on such an agenda. Unlike the Brian.


Posted by Richard Anderson on October 29, 2010 | Permalink


Alberta should take the example of Quebec to heart and demand more and more and more. Of course, Ottawa, under that SOB Stephen Harper, will tell Alberta to know their place. Then, Alberta declares unilateral independence and declares itself and ally of the US. What is Ottawa to do? It can't go whining to Obama about how Alberta wants to cause an oil crisis for the US, and urge a US invasion. All Alberta has to do is seize all the assets of the federal government in the province, and request the assistance of the Idaho and Montana national guards. Brand Harper an ally of Islamists (His record of coddling muslims is lengthy.) and declare a US invasion an act of liberation.

Posted by: AB Patriot | 2010-10-29 3:48:28 PM

AB patriot is a few bricks short of a load.

Posted by: Janice | 2010-10-29 6:26:28 PM

In an altruistic world seperation of provinces sounds nice until you realize that all your canada pensions no longer exist and how about trying to travel overseas on a quebec or even alberta passport. Im pretty sure no-one is going to let you into their country .

Posted by: ra cult | 2010-10-29 8:21:55 PM

Then, Alberta declares unilateral independence and declares itself and ally of the US.

Posted by: AB Patriot | 2010-10-29 3:48:28 PM

Cute idea but would never work unless AB could convince BC,Sask and Man. to join the seperation. If Iggy or Layton took over the PM's job the rumbling of western seperation would probably bubble to the surface again, as it did under Trudeau. Alberta is already one of the strongest allies of the US,as is every other province except Que.
To make it even more interesting, almost everything of value in Alberta is owned by outside interests, so you would have to go the "Chavez"(?) route which would really be entertaining.
But you were just joking anyway....right?

Posted by: peterj | 2010-10-29 9:40:14 PM

"To make it even more interesting, almost everything of value in Alberta is owned by outside interests, so you would have to go the "Chavez"(?) route which would really be entertaining.
But you were just joking anyway....right?"

You are in debt to your eyebrows, somebody else already "owns" you, pal.

Hell, you even buy your fuel from Hugo, so if we go the Hugo route, that should be just fine with you lot, eh?

At least our money would stay at home to fund our pensions. Besides, I'll make a prediction: price of oil goes nowhere but up and with the 2nd largest reserves of undeveloped hydrocarbons in the world, I doubt we'll have much trouble selling to anyone interested to buy.

Including you.

Posted by: po'ed in AB | 2010-10-30 10:00:19 AM

Bernier has zero hope of ever being head of the Federal Conservatives. I strongly suspect their leader after Harper will actually go the other way than more free market.
I doubt he would even do as well as a somewhat similar figure (Randy Hiller, last place in the leadership bid) did in the much less authoritarian Ontario Conservative Party.
I think he would do best to start a provincial party, I suspect there is a better chance of change coming from Quebec than anywhere else. The rational being that they have suffered more, and they are emotionally not tied to the national programs like The Canadian Health Care act like so much of the rest of the country is. That optimistic stuff said I still suspect he is just a vote troll, when push comes to shove he is still voting in lockstep with every new big government extravagance of Harper.

Posted by: Mr. Smith | 2010-10-30 10:33:04 AM

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