The Harperites are screaming "separatist" at every mention of the Bloc Quebecois's connection to the new coalition. We're so-o-o scared.
Pretty strange, since Stephen Harper, long a proponent of decentralizing Canada - dare we say "breaking up the country" - once argued that an alliance with the Bloc "wouldn't be out of place" because the Bloc are nationalist the way Albertans are populists. How's that for a coalition of convenience?
So besides grooving on Gilles Duceppe's fun and folksy debating chops, here are five fortifying reasons why a governing deal with the Bloc rocks.
SUCCEED, NOT SECEDE
Let's get real: the Bloc has ditched campaigning on separatism in favour of defending Quebec's "interests." Even its close ally the Parti Québécois isn't running its current election on the need for a referendum. Quebec nationalism these days mostly feeds the sense of communal responsibility needed by everyone, everywhere. The good news is that the Tories' self-centered hysteria has nicely killed their dream of a majority dead.
A STITCH IN TIME
It will help bring Quebecers - the largest proportion of whom, 38.1 per cent, are Bloc backers - into the governing structure of the country and convince them that their national aspirations can be achieved in a relationship with the rest of us. For the first time, Duceppe will actually be responsible for federal government actions. Talk about a plan to keep the country together, eh?
THEY ARE US
When you get right down to it, the interests of the Bloc are almost identical to those of the rest of us. The coalition needs its 50 votes and the country its generous social justice, green and anti-militaristic policies, from peace-keeping and Kyoto to wind power, mandatory GMO labelling and decent EI payments.
We'll all be better off if we allow the spirit of Quebec's communitarian culture to waft through our federal institutions. Maybe Duceppe will deconstruct his constituents' culture-loving, social dem, group-hug mindset for us - like, where's Ontario's $5-a-day daycare, topped-up maternity benefits and anti-poverty law, anyway?
WHAT PART OF the DEAL DON'T YOU GET?
Tories are foaming at the mouth about how a coalition with Quebec will give away the keys to the cupboard. But during every federal election, parties offer concessions to la belle province to curry favour in those 75 ridings. So what's new? In an alliance, every player wins and loses stuff. Jack Layton has dropped Afghanistan withdrawal, Stéphane Dion his carbon tax. Yes, there will be compensations for Quebec, but look what we stand to gain in return.