Thursday, November 30, 2006

Daily Digest November 30, 2006

Joe Hueglin wrote:


HALIFAX HERALD - In search of renewal

MONTREAL GAZETTE - More words than help from NATO

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Canada can't fight alone  

NATIONAL POST - Another black eye for the RCMP

TORONTO SUN -  NATO can't cut and run

HAMILTON SPECTATOR - [] Will NATO share combat load?

K-W RECORD - Share the danger in Afghanistan

SUDBURY STAR - Grit grist; Conservatives have feasted on Liberals' absence from policy debate

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Even Canada’s enforcers don’t follow rules

VANCOUVER SUN - Victoria has to come clean on what's allowed under private health care  


Natives stir 'nation' debate


PM gets little help at NATO

Tax cuts can stoke business R&D spending  

More gas-tax follies  


Health fund touted by CMA
The Canada Health Act's sixth principle  

Alberta backbencher and leadership contender Ted Morton full of paradoxes

Steady Eddie Stelmach is quietly in the hunt for Alberta's Tory leadership

Provincial Tory leadership hopeful Ted Morton comes to the debate armed with ancient grievances ... and not much else

Harper migraine in making

Hold ’em or fold ’em

Strahl gives wheat board president two weeks' notice, offers no explanation

After 100 hours of study, Senate votes to send Bill C-2 back again

Ministers should tell PMO to 'get lost' on staff: PC Sen. Murray
PMO interference with ministerial staff detrimental to Parliamentary democracy

Old-style leadership race lives on; Liberals reject one-member, one-vote

Liberal leadership hopefuls meeting behind closed doors as vote approaches

Liberal leadership poll finds Rae leads Ignatieff in perceived electability

Voting strategy the big buzz at Liberal convention

Volpe's velcro grip on his delegates moves him from the spurned to spotlight

Young Liberals ask leadership hopefuls about war on Afghanistan

Organizational sorcerer Orchard ready to spook Dion's opponents

Martin breaks silence on Tories

> Buzz about the second ballot

> Liberal leadership bash in Montreal kicks off with machinations and hoopla

> Liberal leadership rivals preach unity, attack PM as convention ...

> Divisions behind us, Martin says

> Campaign everywhere, Dean urges Liberals as convention opens

> Dean offers first-hand advice to Liberals

> Learn a lesson from U.S. Democrats, Dean advises Liberals

> Liberal convention starts with political intrigue

> The rank and file's unrest worries Liberals

> Liberals focusing on battle for third

> A peek at the candidates' strategies

> Sizing up the second choices

> Painful to behold

> Liberals need a litter box

> Calendar of events

> Same-sex law to be reviewed

> Get set for a new gay marriage spat

> News agency gets heavily censored version of PM’s briefing book

[] Rae alone is ready for prime time

Pulling back the red curtain

Separated by our semantic differences

Canada may pay a price for "nation" resolution

MP Chong deserves accolades  

Southwestern Ontario is a nation, too

Confused about nationhood? Consider these equations

Motion commune adoptée à Québec

Intrigues au Palais des congrès

Les négociations entre candidats à la direction du PLC sont bien engagées

Ignatieff veut voir les jeunes exporter les valeurs canadiennes dans le monde

Le PLC refuse de passer au mode un membre-un vote à l'élection du chef

Les libéraux fédéraux sont déconnectés du Québec, croit le ministre Fortier

  Bob Rae déplore le manque de français au congrès du Parti libéral

Le Québec, une nation dans un Canada uni - Le PLQ, le PQ et l'ADQ négocient une autre motion

Défense et bilinguisme



                 The federal government has threatened to fire the president of the Canadian Wheat Board for not toeing the Conservative line
                 on ending the board's monopoly.


The Hill Times, November 27th, 2006

Whose interests is the New Conservative Government serving?
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not giving foreign policy professional focus. He gave a green light to civilian bombings in Lebanon and has lost public trust in the war in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet have been skipping international events like AIDS and environmental conferences and creating an international incident at the Francophone Summit that he did attend.

We also know the environment isn't taken seriously as the conservatives are attempting to defer emissions targets to 2050.

Notably, some in "Canada's New Government" give non-tendered contracts to associates, use government aircraft for personal trips, and are under investigation for violations of election laws. Prime Minister Harper broke a written income trust promise that cost participating Canadians $36-billion. In many ways, the new government is as old as any we have ever seen.

Nevertheless, Harper's Conservatives are making one clear political move. The Prime Minister indicated he is talking to the provinces about setting formal limits on Ottawa's powers. Mr. Harper wants to provincialize the country. And, Mr. Harper has integrated U.S.-Canadian foreign policy (sometimes word-for-word). We now know, the Prime Minister's full agenda is to both Balkanize and Americanize Canada's pieces.

The Prime Minister's intentions are clear; so we now know whose interests he is serving–even though it's a betrayal of the interests he is sworn to protect.

Eugene Parks
Victoria, B.C.

Suan H.Booiman

Does it really matter if we express an option, no one gives a d...... Quebec is no more a Nation
than my neighbour is St Nicolaas. All we do is being corrupted by democratically elected
politicians and it does not matter what colour they represent. I have not been ask now nor
at Meech but a C'town and said NO did any one care in Ottawa, nooooo............
and it will not change till the blackmail is over or the country has fallen apart in the
effort to buy votes in Quebec. No one is a Quebecois, they are all, 98 % of split marriages
including Trudeau, Charest and many more that say they are French, my foot they are like
Métis but don't want to hear about it, included the imported from Haiti or Africa.
The AG should investigate who used the 772 billion to enforce bilingualism, am sure many
Liberals did benefit some way. My hope is as a British Columbian of Ted Morton in Alberta,
but that will likely also wash out with bribes from corrupt Ottawa.
Am I bitter, you better believe it, would not vote for a Conservative ever again after some
45 years. Who not sure maybe the Green or the Communists, than I know for sure to be
taken to the cleaners. My MP is a sheep and blah blah others words because he has none,
but than he is a lawyer that helps his personal progress. Can you imagine three B.C.
Liberals voted against the Nation motion, they bought their way to re-election, while
a large amount of B.C.Tories will be send fishing, as they should.

Mark Hendriks


Do people really believe that subtle word play will somehow defeat
Quebec separatism?

Do Quebecers (Quebecois?) really believe that Stephen Harper, who
opposed official bilingualism as a Reform member, has now become a
friend of francophonie?

Does anyone else see the significance of the fact that one of Stephen
Harper's most consistent views, right from his earliest days in
politics, is the one area where he does agree with the Quebec
separatists: the devolution of powers to the provinces.

Does anyone else smell a rat?

Mark Hendriks

Ronald D. Grantham

Deat Joe:

How very much I enjoy and appreciate receiving your e-mails.  Thank you.

I have some views on our Prime Minister's move to declare "Quebecois a Nation in a United Canada".

I congratulate our Prime Minister and applaud what he has done to correct a problem which has plagued
Canada for many generations.

Jacques Cartier and Samuel Champlain from France established the first colonization of
North America when they colonized what is now Quebec in the year 1617.  We recognize
even today that the first farmer in what is now Canada, Louis Hebert, arrived in the year 1617.

In 1759, British General Wolfe defeated New France when he surprised the French army
by scaling the cliffs on the north shore of the St Lawrance River to the Plains of Abraham
where he soundly defeated the French army commanded by General Montcalm, which expected
to receive an attack from the north.

When Wolfe's troops were returned to Britain there were insuficiently equipped english-
speaking persons in Quebec to govern so Britain was required to appoint a government
composed of the French.

In 1965, French Canadians made up four-fifth of Quebec's population, mostly descendents
of the few thousand settlers who came during the 1600's to New France, as the French called
their colony.  English-speaking  people did not settle  in the Quebec region until after the
Revolutionary War in the late 1700's, when groups of United Empire Loyalists came from
what is now the United States.

Do we remember that most of the early colonization of Canada was done by the French?
Do we remember  La Verendrye who explored what is now Canada, having French
settlers established in small farming communities from the years 1685 to 1749?  Or
Champlain, who founded the first settlement on behalf of France in 1608? Or that the
first symphony orchestra in Canada was put together in 1902 by French Canadians?    
Or that a French Canadian, Calixa Lavallee, composed our national anthem, "O Canada"?

Remember the Coureurs de Bois we learned about in school fort-five years ago?  But is not
mentioned today?

My references make it quite clear that our present Province of Quebec is worthy of being
called a "Nation Within A United Canada", as, of course, we have recognized our Indian
Canadians as a nation for many, many years.

My dictionary is a "Random House College Dictionary" revised to 1979,
with previous editions revised in 1973, 1972, 1969, and 1968.

The definitions given for the word "nation" are:

      1.  A body of people, associated with a particular territory, that it is sufficiently conscious of its unity to
We are part of a great  country.  I am proud to be a Canadian.  I wish we knew a little more of the truth about each

Once again, our Prime Minister is to be commended and congratulated in receiving almost
unanimous support from all Parties in the House of Commons for his motion.

Ron Grantham, now residing in Edmonton, Alberta.

Norman Greenfield

Here is my two cents worth on this, 'nation,' thing.
The motion presented and passed by the House last week was the purest example of what Joe Clark once called hot button politics. It is visionless, it is pandering to either a pure political need for an empty gesture that one thinks others care about, or the lowest common denominator. Instead a good leader strives to raise the level of debate and policy making to the highest possible level, out of respect of the people that put them in level.
It goes the furthest to prove why over 50% of the voters in Canada really don't care about politics and do not vote.
Why vote?
I had the pleasure of working on Elizabeth May's campaign in London Ontario this past weekend. The issue of the, 'Nation,' question did not come up at all. Either on the doorsteps, or in the campaign office where the vast majority of the people were young, vibrant, inteligent, and with many from McGill. They were there to work on a campaign for an MP who would represent a new kind of politics.
May almost did it. She beat the Tory and NDP candidate, and narrowly lost to the Liberal winner.
Now, the next election will be lowered to debating the meaning of the word, 'nation.'
The next election, will be for another minority government, as will the next ten to twenty years of governments.
This motion has done nothing else but to drive a wedge into a country in a thousand different cracks.
Thank you

Norman Greenfield

Michael Watkins

Re: Nation

It'll come as no surprise that I am dismayed that Harper has joined Ignatieff
on the slippery slope of appeasing Quebec sovereigntists, and for what? No
high principle has been espoused, no wrong righted; its a debate rashly
started and abruptly concluded all in a quest for votes and power.

The former wants to use majority power to further subdivide the country,
while the latter merely wants to taste power for the first time, and what
he'll do with it we can't even guess at this point.

Neither deserve it.

Ron Thornton

Hi Joe:

I opposed both Meech Lake and Charlottetown.  Such initiatives influenced my decision to eventually join Reform.  As I've stated before, any relationship that dwells upon its differences shall eventually hearken the demise of that relationship.  Be it national or simply within your own family, it is what we have in common, our mutual bonds, that unite us.  If one member of that family insists on being treated as special or different from the rest, then the rest must agree with that or else the family will come apart.  If you can find instances where this has not been the case in history, please let me know...and let me know how it all turned out.

Is Quebec a nation, but any measurement?  No.  It was never a nation. 
It was a colony of France, with a population of 70,000, when it became a colony of the United Kingdom.  In 1774, it has a population of 100,000, the same as Prince Edward Island is today.  Is PEI a nation? However, maybe Quebec can become a nation, but does it have to ability to survive as such, when Newfoundland, to name one example, could not as a dominion?  Has Quebec become an adult, ready to strike out on its own, or is it just a rebellious teenager who wants to be independent, as long as someone else provides the roof over their head, the bed they sleep in, and the meals they eat? 

While we are on the subject, was there ever a First Nation?  No, though there are parts and pieces that may have some claim to something some might regard as such, but not as a whole.  Iroquois, Huron, Cree, Blackfoot, among others, but never united.
Is Alberta a nation?  No, though it has some of the resources to become one if it had the will.  Its major difference has been illustrated by Alberta's provincial politics.  Since 1936, Alberta has elected conservative governments...35 consecutive years of Social Credit, followed by 35 consecutive years of Progressive Conservatives. Some think Albertans just think differently than the rest of the country. 
Does that make it a nation?  No, just different, but a difference that might, in time, force the issue with the rest of Canada.  Same might be said about Quebec.

We celebrate our diversity.  We celebrate our multi-culturalism.  We celebrate the very reasons that will cause this nation's eventual destruction.
I don't think we will be the envy of the world when that happens.

Ron Thornton

Brad Thomson
    I find it sad that the media, and Canadians generally, do not seem overly concerned with Stephen Harper's recent conduct. Not long ago Michael Ignatieff put forth the vague notion of Quebec as a nation. It was a bold play destined to very much define the Liberal leadership race. Then, curiously, Harper forcefully enters the discussion. We must wonder about his timing.
    It is difficult to believe that Harper had his motion in mind before Ignatieff suggested it. And even if he did, an honourable and decent man would have shelved it, having been beaten to the punch. Clearly, Harper has chosen to meddle in the Liberal leadership contest. But at what cost?
    The motion itself is ambiguous. There is no real point in debating what it means. What is crucial is how Duceppe and the separatists will use it when the time of the next referendum comes.
    Many, if not most of the so-called experts have stated that we can expect another federal election sooner rather than later. This I very much doubt. Duceppe will keep Harper in power until after the next, and very probably last, sovereignty vote in Quebec. Harper stated some time ago that he does not care how many Canada's there are. I am sure, therefore, that he will not be concerned about being the Prime Minister who lost the country.
    In fact, I would not be surprised if this was his goal.
Brad Thomson

Garry Holland

Hi Joe;
This material is thorough as well as decently balanced.
I happen to subscribe to a view which holds that nothing much, verily, was said by our PM. The tactic was, however, good in terms of an overarching strategy.
The observations, below, that the PM's statement would probably realign the several combatants are, I suspect, the most cogent. Such activities will probably bring a measured joy to those who have practised consideration and moderation.
As nationally important as this issue indeed is, your diligence in providing a forum is equally essential. My personal thanks to you.

G.R. Holland,  Director,
R.E.D.A.  Saanich - Gulf Islands
Conservative Party of Canada

. . . and my thanks to you for your kind words and tangible support.

John Dowson

Joe Quebecois is a "Nation" I keep hearing from the media and people in the Conservative party "It doesn't mean anything, the sky didn't fall and the sun still shines" My answer is it doesn't;t mean anything then why do it?
My Canada no longer includes Quebec. I'm sick and tired of their constant whining, complain, and act like a spoiled child. I say let the go.. I'll be the first one to open the door. I was on assignment in Montreal when Quebec had the first referendum I wore a "YES" button then and I still wear it .... Go and good riddance, but remember when they go just like a civil code marriage, you go with what you came with, no northern territory, just the farm lots along the St. Lawrence. John Dowson


Ottawa, Charest at odds on meaning of 'Qu b cois'
Told ya so ....
Harper Tories woefully fuzzy on Quebec
So? This isn't a problem to be resolved concretely right now. Some things are best left unresolved in the immediate ...

Tories challenge Chong's account
Should have let Harper know he planned to quit over Quebec motion, insiders say
If, in his mind, Mr. Chong can't be solidarious with the Cabinet, resigning is the right thing to do. As for the timing, resigning before the motion gets introduced would be wrong (it could be withdrawn or modified before introduction) and later would make Mr. Chong look like a ditherer (or worse, someone whom the PM doesn't inform of these things ahead of time). Mr. Chong did the right thing if he can't support the motion.

Protect pensions: Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's economic update introduces an intolerable co-mingling of pension funds with debt measures  
They are protected, or at least as much as they can be. Since the pension scheme isn't fully-funded (that is, all the money needed to ensure all future payments), "protection" amounts to the government's guarantee that it'll pay them out. Thus, the extra money needed to ensure all payments is effectively "debt" (to pensioners) that will eventually have to be paid out.

Allies edge closer on sharing load
Darn straight. No more German weenies hanging around in the quiet areas of Afghanistan (note: weenies - wieners - sausages from Wien (Vienna) - Germanic sausages; pretty torturous for a pun but hey, a guy's got to make the effort; hahahaha).

U.S. Democrat Dean lobs barbs at Republicans, Tories to open Liberal convention
More, more. PLEASE tie the Liberals to American politics. Should be fun when the Democrats start making protectionist noises. Plus, it would only be just: the Liberals have been making astink about Mr. Harper and Mr. Bush being buddies ... but when precisely have the Tories publicly embraced the US Republicans like the Liebrals are doing the US Democrats? Liberals really DO have no shame. No sense for the ridiculous either.

Green party confidence grows
Hhhmmm. Interesting. By-elections are usually meaningless but this one has some significance. Thej Greens came in a very respectable second place, even defeating the Tories, in London Centre. As far as I'm concerned, if they can give other parties a run for their money (especiaaly the sanctimonious, paleolithic NDP), I'm all for it. Doesn't mean I'm not a Tory, though.
Perfect economic storm sunk Rae ship of state  
That, plus stupid policies promised in their 1990 electoral platform, some of which they had the wisdom to dump once they were in power (remember public car insurance). Also, exorbitant increases in welfare payments, to the point where over 10% of Ontarians (ALL Ontarians, not the work force) were getting $$$. Welfare payments were 30% over the national average, for Heaven's sake.

A class act:Bob Rae has all the right parts to lead Canada
Really? He's got enough gall and spleen?

That motion, which recognized the "Qu b cois" as a nation, was passed with a heavy majority in the Commons. Since then, however, politicians of all stripes have been weighing in on what they think it means.
Mr. Harper's senior Quebec minister, Lawrence Cannon, said Monday the nation is not all Quebeckers, and suggested it includes only francophones. On the other hand, the government's Senate leader, Marjory LeBreton, said "nation" does include all Quebeckers.
For Heaven's sake, Mr. Harper has firmly kept his Party in hand (a good thing in a PM) but it's time to tune the pipes to the same note. If MPs and Senators don't know what the motion means then it's time to set things straight in Caucus. Otherwise, if the purpose IS to sow confusion, steady as she goes. (Mind you, it's better to have a coherent CPC and let others make all the noise). By the way, have you noticed that the NDP is hasn't been heard of on this matter?

In Quebec City, however, Mr. Charest said no one should have any doubt about who is in the Qu b cois nation. "Let's not stumble over what it means when we talk about the Quebec nation. We are talking about every citizen regardless of their origins. We are also talking about the First Nations as well as the Inuit," he said in Quebec's National Assembly.

All very nice but the Quebecois nation, in most Quebecers' minds, does NOT include Inuit et al. And saying that they are doesn't make it so.

Québécois nation
Motion common adopted to Quebec

The Quebec National Assembly adopted Thursday a common motion to recognize motion on the adopted Québécois nation Monday by the House of Commons.

An agreement to this end had finally intervened Wednesday evening between the liberal Party, the Québécois Party and the democratic Action of Quebec, after two days of surging debates.

The Prime Minister Jean Charest and the chief pequist André Boisclair have both required to specify, once again, the range and the direction of the motion of Ottawa, greeted today by that adopted in Quebec.

For Jean Charest, his merit comes from what it recognizes that the Québécois are and were always a nation and testifies to the federalism of opening practised by the Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
André Boisclair

But for Andre Boisclair, it does nothing but underline the need for the Québécois for assuming fully, on the political level, their statute of nation. “What we seek is a fully responsible nation, and for this reason we continue to believe in the sovereignty of Quebec”, affirmed the leader souverainist.

Adopted motion stipulates:

# that the French National Assembly takes note owing to the fact that the House of Commons ratified last on November 27, by a strong majority and with the support of the chiefs of all the political formations represented at the Parliament, the motion presented by the Prime Minister of Canada being read as follows “That this Room recognizes that the Québécois and Québécois form a nation within plain Canada”;

# that the French National Assembly recognizes the positive character of the motion adopted by the House of Commons and that it proclaims that this one does not decrease of anything the inalienable rights, constitutional capacities and privileges of the French National Assembly and the Québécois nation.

The first paragraph shows the wording of federal motion. In the formulated proposals Tuesday and Wednesday, the Québécois Party wanted to gum the reference to plain Canada. The second paragraph shows however elements recommended by the pequists. The government and the opposition pequist were thus intended after to have carried out each one of the concessions.

Jean Charest had recourse to remarks of the former Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald to try to render comprehensible the importance of the recognition by the House of Commons of the existence of a Québécois nation. Sir John A. Macdonald, while speaking about the Québécois, would have said into 1856 which if one treats them like a nation and not like a faction, they will behave like free people. The Prime Minister for Quebec also addressed himself in English to the remainder of Canada to put forward this point of view.

The debate on the adoption of a motion by the Québécois deputies has monopolized the attention for two days in Quebec. The pequists and the liberals were not able to get along on this subject.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Daily Digest November 29, 2006

Joe Hueglin wrote:

Ottawa, Charest at odds on meaning of 'Québécois'

Harper Tories woefully fuzzy on Quebec

A motion with consequences  

MPs dither over just who is 'Quebecois'  

Quebecois resolution means many things - or nothing

Conservatives moving Canada back to the future

Proudly Quebecois, clearly Canadian

Face the nation

Price of integrity

`I believe in one nation undivided'

Tories challenge Chong's account
Should have let Harper know he planned to quit over Quebec motion, insiders say

French language growing worldwide, despite concern

Quebec motion exposed limits of PM's one-man show: Rae

Critics slam Tory decision to close most Status of Women offices

Protect pensions: Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's economic update introduces an intolerable co-mingling of pension funds with debt measures  

Warning: report could cause bloating

Even Canada’s enforcers don’t follow rules

Starve the beast, ruin the country

Tories plan December vote on same-sex marriage

NATO finds handful of troops for Afghanistan; scraps limits on existing force

Allies edge closer on sharing load

NATO needs more soldiers in Afghanistan, former general says

Time to step up

The Hamid Karzai government has decided to raise the salaries of government employees in an attempt to rein in widespread corruption in Afghanistan.

NATO agrees to few new troops for Afghanistan

NATO countries must shoulder more equal load in Afghanistan  

Taliban attacks continue  

Nato hails shift on Afghan combat

Warning on Afghan drug economy

Nato looks for global role

Nato allies 'need to pull weight'

Nato still split over forces for Afghanistan

NATO Stresses Commitment to Afghanistan 

Britain to commit extra battalion to Nato

Afghans battle to combat threats of drugs and Aids


Complete coverage: Liberal leadership

Liberal leadership bash in Montreal kicks off with machinations and hoopla

U.S. Democrat Dean lobs barbs at Republicans, Tories to open Liberal convention

Explosive Quebec debate plan withdrawn

Green party confidence grows

Election meeting kept secret

`Hampel' a spy, agent says

Party must look to the future

Goodale backing boosts Rae bid

Ignatieff camp dismisses poll numbers

With delegates gathering today in Montreal, the Star invited each of the four front-runners to make their case for leading the party. Today, read Bob Rae and Gerard Kennedy's responses. Read Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff visions for Canada.

Editorial: Rae our choice to lead Liberals

Perfect economic storm sunk Rae ship of state  

A class act:Bob Rae has all the right parts to lead Canada

The MIA MLA has Hung his hat on Snortin' Morton, vowing to deliver thousands of votes to the Tory candidate. Ted has, after all, the Right stuff

Vote a wake-up call

Fight for the right

Name calling a risky business  

Tory hopefuls turn up rhetoric over Ottawa

Dinning, Morton trading body blows  

Leadership race heats up in Alta.  

Foreign Affairs rife with anti-Americanism  

Canada as a Pacific power  

N.S. premier supports recognizing Quebec as a nation within Canada
HALIFAX (CP) - Nova Scotia's premier says he supports Ottawa's resolution to recognize Quebec as a distinct nation within Canada. The motion by Prime Minister Stephen Harper passed in the House of Commons on Monday.

Les Communes devront décider de rouvrir ou non le débat sur le mariage gai

La décision de fermer des bureaux régionaux de Condition féminine est décriée

Le démocrate Dean lance des piques aux rébublicains et aux conservateurs

Les libéraux enterrent la nation et ouvrent la porte au déséquilibre fiscal

Tout indique que Québec n'endossera pas la motion d'Ottawa sur la nation

Le Québec est une nation. Encore.

Condition féminine: la décision de fermer des bureaux est décriée

Les jeunes s'intéressent peu au débat sur la nation, dit McGuinty

Le ministère de la Défense promet de s'améliorer en matière de bilinguisme

Le congrès débute par des intrigues contre Ignatieff

Les libéraux enterrent la nation et ouvrent la porte au déséquilibre fiscal

Paul Martin presse le prochain chef de se faire rassembleur

Paul Martin sur la nation: «On doit passer à autre chose»

Confusion sur la nation

Une nation libre... au sein du Canada

Une nation, deux nations, trois nations...

Québec n'endossera pas la motion d'Ottawa

Une «nation» de pure laine?

La guerre des motions se poursuit

Les francophones hors Québec disent non



That motion, which recognized the "Québécois" as a nation, was passed with a heavy majority in the Commons. Since then, however, politicians of all stripes have been weighing in on what they think it means.

Mr. Harper's senior Quebec minister, Lawrence Cannon, said Monday the nation is not all Quebeckers, and suggested it includes only francophones. On the other hand, the government's Senate leader, Marjory LeBreton, said "nation" does include all Quebeckers.

In Quebec City, however, Mr. Charest said no one should have any doubt about who is in the Québécois nation.

"Let's not stumble over what it means when we talk about the Quebec nation. We are talking about every citizen regardless of their origins. We are also talking about the First Nations as well as the Inuit," he said in Quebec's National Assembly.

"This definition of nation is inclusive. It doesn't seek to exclude anyone. . . . And in no way does it contradict our Canadian identity."

Mr. Charest tabled a motion yesterday stating that the National Assembly was "delighted by this significant gesture," insisting that it "represented an important progress for Quebec."

The Quebec Premier has argued that recognizing Quebec as a nation could eventually influence how the Supreme Court interprets Quebec laws. The province has a different approach than the federal government on a number of important issues, from the way Quebec treats its young offenders to its claim over offshore drilling rights in the St. Lawrence River. Mr. Charest suggested that he could use his newfound status to argue his case before


BELOW(30) - November 29, 2006

Joe Hueglin wrote:


        You will be more knowledgeable by far than most should you read the thoughts that have been contributed to this BELOW(30).

        In that you can not agree with all that is written you must weigh the views expressed and arrive at that which to you is most valid.

        That the wherewithal for you to do so is provided through this post is the highest reason for the existence and continuance of the Digest.

Jason Hickman

Subject: Re: The term NATION: A Primer


Assuming that you supported Meech and C-town in the 80's / 90's (if that assumption's wrong, please correct me), do you - and other DD readers who claim to be "progressive conservatives" - still think that Quebec is a "distinct society"?
I'll be interested in the response to that question, as well as responses to the motion intro'd yesterday, once the DD resumes its regular broadcast special.
        - Jason.


To address the overarching point you raise first.  A progressive-conservative is one who (unlike those who are variously classified as social-cons, neo-cons, fiscal-cons) approaches challenges without a predetermined view as to what constitutes "The Way, The Truth and The Light".  A progressive-conservative seeks to apply the words of Edmund Burke, "A disposition to preserve and an ability to improve" - but this is a subject for another day.  I thank you for raising it for there are many DD readers who will face the choice of following  their progressive-conservative nature or their party's directions.

Is Quebec a "distinct society"? Yes - compared with the one I've been raised in.  No one from Ontario ever kissed me on both cheeks,  no hotel I know of in Ontario serves beans for breakfast, I go to a corner store or variety store in my neighbourhood not a depanier.  There are in Canada many distinct societies.

The motion the House recognizes "`that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada." could have easily read and to me means no more nor less than "That the Acadien form a nation within a united Canada", or the Newfoundlanders or, or, or . . .

The land area presently the political-nation, the country of Canada, has always been populated by differing cultural-nations as witnessed by the numerous First Nations recognized as such.

My belief is our countries primary cultural-nations are linguistic based:  English-speakers and French-speakers. Both being composed of sub-groups some whose mother tongue is English or French, others who, while speaking another language within their own cultural-nation, speak English or French in general social intercourse.

Early last week following up on the concept of nation I phoned the Lheidli T’enneh nation.  The conversation was in English.

This is taken from the website :

The Lheidli T’enneh are Carrier people who speak a dialect of the Carrier language and who assert our heritage, history and culture, including our language and religion, are tied to the lands and waters surrounding the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako rivers.

There are currently 319 people on the Lheidli T’enneh band list. There are approximately 120 people living on reserve with a further 100 people living in Prince George. The bulk of the remaining people live in various communities within British Columbia (there are other community members living throughout  Canada).

This may be re-written:

The Québécois are Romance people who speak a dialect of the French language and who assert our heritage, history and culture, including our language and religion, are tied to the lands and waters surrounding the Lower St. Lawrence River Basin

There are currently millions of Québécois . The vast majority living as did our forefathers in the St. Lawrence Basin with other community members living throughout  Canada.

The term Quebec, the Canadian Province as presently constituted, OUGHT NOT TO BE EVER USED IN RELATIONSHIP TO THE MOTION PASSED BY THE COMMONS

The Province of Quebec is the home of many nations as this website elaborates and the map below illustrates.

The Nations

John Dowson

Joe: Michael Chong did two things for Canada. One the Canadian people discovered that they had an Interprovincial Minister, and second he stood up for what he believed in. Its easy to believe in what you stand for, but it's difficult to stand up for what you believe in. John Dowson

Brian Graff

Subject: RE: The term NATION: A Primer

no, quebec is not a nation... i read something that noted that calling some group a nation gives them the right to "self-determination" instead of just minority rights if they are an ethnic group. but who exactly is this nation? anglo quebecers too? haitian-quebecers? aboriginal quebecers?
but what also occurs to me is that saying it is within a "united canada" says little - the real issue here is that, no matter what, canada be recognised as "indivisible" under all circumstances - and that quebecers, western separatists and aboriginal groups accept this.

Suan H.Booiman

Subject: Quebec

Glad Harper showed his colour, next move will be to move Ottawa to Quebec City,
no constitutional change, so they don't have to ask for equalization but have it all,
it is an insult to the WEST. As Bouchard said "Canada is not a country".

Arnold Kwok

Subject: Re: The term NATION: A Primer

Dear Joe:
I found William Johnson's essay instructive, "Recognizing the elephant in Confederation," (Thursday, 23 November, 2006, Globe and Mail); I included the link and excerpts.  Paul Well's blog quoted Scott Reid, M.P., in Hansard in 2003; it appeared Reid's speech was used in both the motions by the Bloc Quebecois and the Prime Minister of Canada.  Enjoy.
Arnold Kwok
"Recognizing the elephant in Confederation"

"Now there's a turnaround. It was only on June 23, the eve of the Fete Nationale, there on the battlements of Quebec's Citadel overlooking the St. Lawrence River, that Stephen Harper stumbled when asked whether he recognized that Quebec was a nation. He would only go so far as to recognize that the National Assembly had declared that Quebec was a nation. As for himself, he chose not to pronounce himself on what he considered was only a question of semantics...."
< >

"It was a statement that Mr. Harper was conscience-bound to make, sooner or later. As a conservative by conviction, he could not indefinitely allow Quebec politicians -- such as the Bloc's Gilles Duceppe, the PQ's André Boisclair and Premier Jean Charest -- to speak and act as though a mere majority in a future referendum would authorize Quebec to secede from Canada. The rule of law is a bedrock conservative principle and Mr. Harper had made crystal clear before and after the 1995 referendum on secession that there could be no secession without an amendment to the Constitution of Canada -- one that would require the consent of the other provinces. He had even introduced a private member's bill to that effect. In 1998, the Supreme Court of Canada, in its response to the reference on secession, confirmed precisely the position taken by Mr. Harper, as opposed to the laissez-faire response of Jean Chrétien and the Liberals, whether in Ottawa or Quebec...."

"By his action, Mr. Harper differentiates himself from the muddling Liberals, who yesterday morning had still been searching for a way out of their own lobster trap. Now the Liberals, and especially Michael Ignatieff, can breathe more freely. Given the context the Prime Minister has created, the Liberals can go ahead and adopt their resolution on recognizing Quebec as a nation: It has ceased to be threatening."
Posted by Paul Wells at 03:27 PM 11/23/2006

Very curious

Canadian Alliance MP Scott Reid, during debate on a Bloc motion proposing that Quebec be recognized as a nation and given the right to opt out of federal spending programs with full compensation, 27 Oct., 2003:

Finally, I also must talk a little about the idea that Quebec constitutes a nation, as is worded here. Here I will read again the motion that was proposed by my Bloc Quebecois friend, but now I will read it in English as opposed to French to make the point about the distinctions between the French and English texts. The motion is:

That the House acknowledge that Quebec constitutes a nation, and accordingly, as it is not a signatory to the social union framework agreement of 1999, the said nation of Quebec has the right to opt out of any federal initiative encroaching upon Quebec jurisdictions, with full financial compensation.

The thing to observe here is “a nation”. If they were to say “que les Quebecois forment une nation”, or “les Quebecois forme un peuple”, if they were to say something that refers to people somehow being linked together by a mystical bond, to be connected by something that is deep within their nature, their psyche, the way that their synapses fire in their brains that makes them have something in common that the rest of world does not have in common, I could see some validity to that. However they are not talking that. It is very distinct. They are saying that Quebec forms a nation. That is, there is a conflation between whatever nation might exist, whatever people might exist and a state. The attempt here is to create a nation state.

Andy Rutherford

Subject: Re: The term NATION: A Primer

Hi Joe I can't see what Good or harm has been done with Harper's recognition of
Quebec as a nation. It is quite sometime since we recognized,either formally or
 informally the aboriginal people as first nations. I am not sure whether singular
 or plural but first nation people in any event. How much good or bad has come
from the appellation. Perhaps he should have called the French province the second
 nation and all of us together the Last Nation.

                                                  Andy R.

David E Code

Subject: Re: The term NATION: A Primer

Re the Nation matter: there are the United Nations, composed of self-governing nations, and there is the Metis nation, not to mention the language and cultural groupings of francophones in every Province of Canada. The word Nation can seem loose or meaningful, according to the person using the term.
The separatists can say what they want, play with words, and play at demanding independence. But it is all a sham battle. And just think: if Quebec were ever to separate; wow! think of all the money we would save on equalization paymments!
David E. Code

R. Gagne

Subject: Nation as concept


On November 22nd you asked for comment on the initiative by the Prime Minister to formally recognize Quebec as "a nation within a united Canada."

What you have described as a political-nation is what I would call a nation-state, but that is perhaps no more than a semantic difference.

We both agree, I think, that a nation-state is one which is self-supporting and which enjoys sovereign control over a defined land area.  As you rightly point out, Canada is a nation-state and Quebec is not.

I am, however, not at all certain that the concepts of 'nation' and 'cultural' fit comfortably together.  We have, in Canada, two official cultures and languages (English and French) and a host of native and immigrant cultures and languages in use, most of which are widely distributed geographically.  But these are cultural attributes, not political ones.

Although the Prime Minister's initiative last week to recognize Quebec as 'a nation within a united Canada' has been applauded by virtually every talking head on TV as well as by the rest of the chattering classes, in my view he has blundered badly with this proposal.  As I see it, this is the first step on an extremely slippery slope whose ultimate result is quite likely to fracture the Canadian nation-state more than it is now.  With Quebec being officially recognized as a nation, can the native communities be denied the same privilege, all six hundred or so of them?  Moreover, having gained this much, does anyone really believe that the Quebec nationalists will be satisfied with only this symbolic gesture?  I don't for a minute think so.  I believe that the Prime Minister has put the interests of his party ahead of those of the nation as a whole on this one.


Alex McGregor(Hootie @VIANET>ca

Subject: Re: The term NATION: A Primer

joE. tHE CONFUSION STARTED WITH THAT oLD wHIg rADIcal Jack Durham Who wrote "Two nations warring in the bosom of a single state. What he ought to have written  was two tribes sharing the same territory" Now we have  multi tribal groups demanding equal rights from the otHer tribes with the QuebEcois tribe temporarily best positioned to survive.  Alex McGregor(Hootie @VIANET>ca

Ed James

Subject: Re: The term NATION: A Primer

    Joe , Your comments re CTV 's " Today's Question " is no great mistake.

I am of the opinion they are not blind to the question and knew exactly the " Hornets Nest " they were creating. And it continues with the media " stirring the pot " giving a platform to Separatists. Keep up the great work !

                           Sincerely ......EJ

Eugene Parks

Subject: When a family dispute goes public - it still just a family dispute!

So what of the claim, “The Quebecois are a nation”? Historically, England and France warred for hundreds of years to determine if England was a province of France or if France was a province of England. Ironically, royalty of both jurisdictions were related - as were many citizens - and the two kingdoms regularly conducted business. In North American there was some separation between the two groups. But notably, in Upper and Lower Canada many English and French continued to intermingle.

Consequently, many have dual ancestries. My father’s ancestors hailed from English-French Norman ancestors who lived 400 years in England before continuing in British North American for 350 years and becoming United Empire Loyalists. My mother’s ancestry was also Norman, but from Normandy France, before continuing in New France for 350 years – pur-laine Quebecois.  Some of us “English” are also “French”  because we are in fact one English-French (Norman) clan. The Canadian English-French “We are a nation” debate from an insider’s perspective is a family affair. And unfortunately like the wars of the past, we tend to draw others into our family clan conflict.

Nevertheless, everyone should remember that Canada is a place founded on northern courage by all those willing to say *we* are in life *together* for each other through good and bad.  We should not be beguiled by the false claims that English-French is a monumental historical Canadian divide. In fact, for many of us French-English is one and the same millennium old family history.

Eugene Parks


Subject: Re:  Not for the DD

Hi Joe,   Good to have you back, and I hope you had a great time. 
    I have a couple of comments about the nation within a united country,  but only for you, because I really don't know much about it.... just a few thoughts.  For one thing, I've never understood the fuss made over Quebec.  Yes, the buildings are different from many other places (but there are same elsewhere), there are more French speaking people (that's been worked at and many speak it because they have to, not because they want to), and (the important thing) there are the agitators wanting fame for themselves not le bien de Quebec. Despite two solitudes, every citizen of Quebec is as important as any other, as in every other province. I know next to nothing about the Accord.
    Since there appears to be so much opposition, what I would like to "hear" from others is what they think a good alternative would be to what Mr. Harper decided. Judging from the reaction to Mr. Harper's response, I feel the Members of the House in general were glad they hadn't had to make it.  As a "nation within a united country" Quebec can make their "provincial" decisions and if they want to participate in any capacity on the international scene, the expense is theirs.  The cost of those activities will be over and above what the Federal entitlements are for every other province. And I don't believe that they will gain anything from those decisions, including respect from other countries. All it would do is give an hour of glory to the few.  Also, in his speech in the House, I think Mr. Harper said something about any decision beyond what he had stated  (i.e. re "separation" as a nation implied?) would be the responsibility of the Quebec Parliament to make....something I haven't heard anyone comment on, which makes me wonder if I misunderstood since it's an important point to make.

Robert Ede

Divide and Conquer - Quebecois as a nation within the Dominion of Canada.
Canada is no longer a country of individuals, we're group-members fighting to get our group moved higher up the pecking order.  We're 10+3+31million solitudes warring in the bosom of a debt-besotted, social-welfare state.
For that we can thank the elite-think behind the Charter of group-rights, conditional freedoms and retro-active ameliorations.

(1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability (or sexual proclivities -read in)

(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability, (or sexual proclivities -read in). (83)

I cannot imagine why "the smartest guy in the room" would open this nation within a nation can of worms unless he intended to further de-stabilize the thinking of Canadians and thereby nudge ahead the aims and objectives of the elites hoping to integrate Canada into the USA.
The PQ/BQ will take this as a partial, albeit imperfect victory - why not, it was handed to them on a silver platter and the whole trained-seal, bunch of fools in the Commons voted to support it.
The Rest of Canada (ie Ontario) will simmer and pout and then allow the spinmeisters to convince them to put it behind them as 'meaningless and symbolic' while they go Christmas shopping (Holiday shopping for the Secular Humanists, Canada's anything-goes, State-Religion that dares not speak its name).
The West is a different matter. Alberta is tired of this crap and is tired of Prime Ministers basing their electoral plans on the 75 seats in Quebec.
Alberta has a Plan 'B' .... it's called "Or Else".
Alberta (assuming oil stays above $45-50) could easily secede (where in reality, Quebec could not, particularly in the post-1985 Aboriginal Rights & Treaty Rights legal environment).
Alberta in addition to assembling the 5 components of the Alberta Agenda (Pension Plan, collect its own Personal Income tax, Alberta Police force, its own Health plan, restored role in immigration) is integrating itself with BC (other way around actually) with agreements to minimize labour & regulation differences & trade barriers.
BC & Alberta would make a very nice 'new Texas' - the only state that joined the USA after being a sovereign entity (aside Texas retains the right to split into 5 states if it wants)
Re:nation within a nation, the only questions in Canadians minds should be:
Is this furthering the creation of 10+3+31million solitudes warring in the bosom of my country?
If it is, do I want Canada to be divided and (so easily) conquered?
If I don't want that, why is it on the national agenda? Who/what thinks it's a good idea?
If I think it's a bad idea, what am I going to do about it?
Whose Dominion is it anyway?
Am I a subject-of-the-Crown resident here that just accepts what is offered, hoping the ill-effects won't affect me too greatly, or am I a citizen-shareholder with real rights to object and duties to defend what is mine?

Robert Ede
bruised, but not beaten
Direct 416.819.7333
Glenn Harewood

Subject:Nation = sovereign state = a community of ALL citizens/individuals, whatever their origins, enjoying equal and the same political equal rights."


"Nation" = a “community of all citizens enjoying equal rights”, a community of individuals enjoying the same political rights, whatever their origins.
(Do the Quebecois/Oise not enjoy the same political rights, whatever their origins, as all other Canadian peoples-- whatever their origins
 I do not know if your links  on  "who/what is a "nation" include this one from the Council of Europe, but here is an exhaustive,  balanced view of the semantics. I have highlighted in
red font the contrasting French and German views because here is where the clash between the views of the BQ/PQ and the Canadian Federal nationalists occurs. You will also note that the French Revolutionists considered themselves as a nation that was trying to shed absolutist monarchical  rule. Neither the  French Huguenots nor the Jacobites   considered themselves a "nation"  separate and  apart from the rest of French peoples.
It is fairly obvious that PM Harper and his research staff did NOT read this Council of Europe's report before formulating their motion which was voted on in the
H of C on Monday, November 27th/06.

 Had they read the report,a link to which is cited below, they would have been able to come up with a far fuller, stronger and more complete motion-statement:  the French concept of "nation," which I have highlighted in
red font below.

Such a motion-statement would have deterred the Bloc Quebecois from accepting Harper's motion -- a motion which the
BQ intends to use, in the future, as leverage for advancing their separatist cause.  This is why they, the  BQ,  decided to insert and then withdraw the adverb "currently" from their amendment. They suddenly saw that they are currently in a united Canada, but in the future, they could try to force themselves OUT of  this united Canada-- a  Canada which they, themselves do not consider to be united. After all they could and will argue that  Levesque/Quebec did not sign the 1982 Constitutional Charter.
 One would be naive to believe that the
BQ will not now and later say: "well you have recognized us as a nation ( double meaning -- the German concept)  of the Quebecois in a united Canada. But this "nation" now wants to separate  (through a referendum) from the united Canada; and we have a right to pursue such separation."

It may open a Pandora's box from which the other "nation peoples, including the first nations," of provinces such as Alberta, B.C., QUE, NB., MAN., NFLND, and ONT., may claim their rights to recognition as "nations;"  and who knows what the future may bring? They may  also want to separate from a "united Canada"  IF they are not conceded fiscal and other powers by the Federal government.

 Of course, Harper is not opposed to giving away federal powers to the provinces!!

To read the report in English, clic here.

Glenn Harewood

Doc. 10762, 13 December 2005:The concept of “nation”Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights;Rapporteur: Mr György Frunda, Romania, Group of the European People's Party.

Excerpts from the above cited document ...

"... 14. It was undoubtedly the late 18th century that saw the emergence of the concept of nation, thanks to the 1776 Declaration of Independence of the United States and the 1787 American Constitution, which begins with the words “We, the people of the United States”, and the French Revolution, which drew inspiration from the ideas of Rousseau and Abbé Sieyès.
It was Enlightenment France which, by coining the concept of the nation-state, gave substance to the concept of nation. The French conception of nation is that of the “community of all citizens enjoying equal rights”, a community of individuals enjoying the same political rights, whatever their origins. It is a legal concept expressing the unity of the social basis of the state, which is viewed as a given, not a construct. In adopting their founding text, the United States did not consider the question of who the people were, and whether the Indians or the Blacks were included or excluded. In France, the nation was a concept of struggle – the struggle for freedom and against divine-right monarchy. The nation was the new concept on which the Revolution built the democratic legitimacy of the new regime, the new political system: the nation was seen as a unified and uniform community of citizens. The French conception led to recognition of the right of self-determination; a nation exists only when it succeeds in throwing off the yoke of oppression, despotism and absolute monarchy, when it becomes an independent state based on the common political will of the people. The French conception maintained the idea that the state was the legal personification of the nation, of all its citizens.

15. At the end of the 18th century, however, this approach was of interest only to the few states which had thrown off the yoke of monarchy. It was of no concern to most European countries, which belonged to the great dynastic empires – Austro-Hungarian, German or Russian – and were multinational.

16. This period therefore saw the emergence of a very different conception,
the German concept of nation, that of Herder, a kind of patriotic German reaction to French domination. In this view, the nation was not a sum of individuals but a collective entity with a specific language and culture and specific historical traditions. This concept, that of the linguistic nation, confers legitimacy on the aspirations to political unity of a distinct linguistic community divided by frontiers whose members are bound together by the feeling of belonging to the same national community, by a common destiny and a common will to belong to a real

linguistic nation. The term “linguistic nation” accordingly denotes the totality of individuals belonging to the same nation by virtue of the fact that they speak the same language and share the same culture and traditions.

17. Alongside the French conception of nation, the different idea of a cultural nation was gaining ground. These two conceptions emerged in a particular political context, and were determined by political considerations, but they were not mutually exclusive and existed in parallel."
Glenn Harewood, Ph.D. KC.

Stratos Psarianos

Hi, Joe. Great to see you're back ...

                 Whose view of what was accepted last night is your view, that of Lawrence Cannon or the other person?;

Two versions. The short one: "Yeah, stick it to 'em, Stephen!". The long one follows.
Despite what anyone says, the "nation" declaration was a stroke of genius. A cynical one, for sure, but a justified one in that it's:
   - re-shuffled the cards in that the positions of the issue's "holders" have been disrupted;
   - revealed the fundamental weakness of the separatist / autonomist stance;
First, the holders. To date, the current political holders have been the Bloc, the succeeding government(s) of Quebec, and more recently the Liberals (what with Mr. Ignatieff bringing up recognition as part of his platform). The thing is, the implicit scope of the positions they held had to do not with a sociological grouping (francophone Quebecers of old-stock "French" origin) but rather with a political and territorial entity ("Quebec"). But the truth is that Quebec isn't a uniformly Quebecois (as in old-stock French Canadians) entity ... just ask most residents of Westmount (a rich enclave on Montreal island) how Quebecois they are in that sense. By expressing federal "recognition" of Quebecois, Mr. Harper has neutralized the Bloc and the government(s) of Quebec in that he's fundamentally undermined their argument that political QUEBEC is a distinct entity, as opposed to ethnic-sociological QUEBECOIS being the distinctive factor. In brief, it'S not the political-territorial dominated by Quebecois that's distinct, it's the Quebecois themselves.
So, in what way is this a big deal (and it is .. .witness the Bloc's initial reaction to its announcement). When the Parti Quebecois (PQ) held its first referendum in 1980 (to grant Quebec's government a mandate to "negotiate" a political re-adjustment), no one was under the illusion that the thing wasn't being driven by Quebecois for Quebecois. After the referendun went against the PQ's aims, discussion about how solid Quebec itself was started to crop up. In particular:
   - if Canada could be broken up, why couldn't Quebec?
   - what about Quebec's aboriginals, many of whose groupings expressed their desire to stay in Canada; would they be able to leave with "their land", which would mean possibly stripping Quebec of vast territories? (One particular worry was that the Crees in Northern Quebec would make off with Hydro-Quebec's big power dams in Quebec's north).
Hence a re-framing of the separatist position. The rhetoric changed so that it was no longer the Quebecois who were seeking separation but rather the Quebecois people (in French, an ambiguous definition ... it can mean either the Quebecois proper as defined above or the "populace" of Quebec, which includes everyone) and eventually Quebec itself. For years now, everyone's been talking about Quebec's promotion of its identity, which had become a habit until Mr. Harper re-shuffled the cards and neutralized the Bloc and Quebec's governments (including the "federalist" provincial Liberals). Also, Mr. Harper politically cleaved Quebec in that he's identified the politically dominant Quebecois as being "distinctive", with non-Quebecois not being omitted from "Quebecois distinction" even if they live in Quebec. Thus, the Quebecois, the primary drivers of separatism, are identified as being the ones who are distinct and who are at the root of Quebec's push for independence/autonomy DESPITE THE PASSIVITY OF THE REST. So, by making Quebecois distinct from "other" Canadians, Mr. Harper has succeeded in  making them distinct ... of other Quebecers. He's made explicit the psychological-sociological dividing line. And it's not where the Bloc and Quebec's governments had been setting it (i.e. at Quebec's borders) through their framing of the issue ... IT'S WITHIN QUEBEC ITSELF.
Just to give you an idea of how this disrupts the Bloc and Quebec government positions ... over the past few days, the "federalist" provincial Liberals have been finessing their position in the newspapers by having ministers discuss "identity" issues with a Quebec slant, as opposed to a Quebecois one. For example, Quebec's Culture Minister said something about the Quebec government's ongoing support for Quebec's identity through its culture sponsorships, etc. These statements aren't explicitly aimed at taking on Mr. Harper's position but they are aimed at re-framing the mental space so as to cover all of Quebec instead of just the Quebecois.
Tactically speaking, recognition has been a master stroke in that it's redefined the protagonists and antagonists, as well as the political-sociological boundaries in Quebec's independence/autonomy debate. Strategically speaking, it's also a success in the sense that the Bloc, and Quebec's governments (the Liberals AND the PQ) will have a lot of 'splaining to do re. are all Quebecers (not Quebecois) really all in it together when it comes to independence/autonomy. So Bravo!, Mr. Harper ... one couldn't have done better in your situation.
Stratos Psarianos
Montreal, QC
P.S. I'm interested to see if this will lead to debate about what it is to be Canadian. So far, in the large sense, I believe that the defining pillar of "English Canadian" identity (which, strictly speaking is actually the identity of residents in "English-speaking Canada") has been "we're not Americans". In addition to that, "we're not Quebecois" applies to non-Quebecois residents in Quebec, including French-speaking ones. This echoes the Quebecois "we're not like the others (in Canada)", in my mind.