What a perfect gesture from a party that has clearly decided to write off newly-orange Quebec.
I had thought all the “royal” foofaraw a few weeks past was merely insensitive, as well as being an utterly bewildering political move overall. Harper’s red-meat base prefers the wild and crazy American version of conservatism to the British imperial legacy, and the handful of red Tories left are not fooled by a PM whose open contempt of British parliamentary traditions precipitated the last election.
But now I wonder if, in Stephen Harper’s tiny binary mind, the new alignments for the political Armageddon to come are NDP/Quebec and CPC/ROC.
It’s sure starting to look that way.
Angelo Persichilli comes with all the right conservative credentials, including a morbid dislike of unions. He’s always been a de facto flack for the CPC, and the fact that they’re now willing to pay for what he used to give for free is merely long-overdue recognition.
It seems he has a real chip on his shoulder when it comes to Quebec. One of Harper’s strengths for the past several years has been his ability to keep a lid on the anti-French Quebec-haters who infest his base: now, with the slap in the chops he received a few months ago, and the surge of support the NDP has been getting in the polls since, it may be that he sees no further use for making nice with the poutine-bashers.
Enter Persichilli, a man who speaks no French (he’s starting lessons next week) and whose disdain for Quebec, although he now claims he doesn’t remember it, will gain him instant street cred with not a few pitchfork-wielding conservative yokels.
It’s all here in one unattractive package: Quebec’s pursuit of its interests are “an annoying lament,” there are too many francophones in the federal public service and Parliament, the usual.
But now: “I have the utmost respect for people living in Quebec, no doubt about it.” One approaches dangerous wild animals with respect. Respect should be assumed, however, when it comes to a province of Canada with a population of eight million or so fellow-citizens, and you’re flacking for the Prime Minister of the country.
One has to hand it to Persichilli, though: in advance of his French instruction, he’s already mastered a tricky bit of nuance. Quebeckers, he says, “will get all the attention they deserve” from the federal government. It works better in the other official language: “toute l’attention qu’ils méritent.”
Two nations warring in the bosom of a single state? You ain’t seen nothing yet.