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Taking Stock of Day

by Stephen Lautens


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August 4, 2000

A lot of us were surprised when Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day refused to rule out a coalition with the separatist Bloc Quebecois. Since then there has been a lot of backpedalling and explanation.

There's a rule in politics ­ if you have to explain what you meant more than once, you might as well forget it. Either you were wrong in the first place, or you're right but you'll never be able to convince anyone else that you were. Either way, the result is the same.

To be fair, Day wasn't talking about bringing the Bloc-Heads home to meet the family. It was more of an offer to see if they would be interested in letting him carry their books home from school.

This "ditch the Liberals at any cost" approach to federal politics has typically carried a heavy price for Canada. In the 1980s when the Conservatives offered the opportunistic separatists the chance to come to Ottawa as wolves in Tory clothing, Bouchard was there as fast as he could take the oath of allegiance. That gave the separatists legitimacy and a place on the national stage to help them launch their attack on Canada. We're still paying for it today.

Myron Thompson said that "most separatists want a divorce from Ottawa ­ they don't want a divorce from Canada." Unless Myron has been taking advantage of the new pot laws, I don't know where he came up with this idea. He couldn't be more wrong. Quebec separatism and Western alienation are two completely different things. Sure, how much everyone hates Ottawa and the Liberals might make good cocktail party conversation, but the Alliance would quickly find out they have little else in common with the BQ.

The BQ doesn't want to fix Confederation, unless it's the same way you "fix" your dog. They want out. Full stop. Bouchard would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven. If they can't find a way out, the separatists have their own Plan B - continue to take Canada for all they can. They've been very successful in grabbing more provincial powers, more money, more appointments by threatening to leave and acting outraged whenever we say "no".

And they're always looking for gullible dupes who'll help them reach that goal by offering to share power with them. The separatists will shake on it, announce their good intentions, and then stab their partner in the back as soon as they get what they want, as they did with Mulroney. That's because they believe any means justifies their end.

In reply to the predictable flurry of criticism that followed the Alliance announcement, Stockwell Day has said he would only welcome those separatists who no longer support separation. I suppose the Alliance would also welcome pro-Choicers who no longer support abortion or homosexuals who no longer support extending gay rights.

When it comes right down to it, the separatists are counting on Stockwell Day to be hungry enough for power to turn a blind eye to their real goals.

Let's hope Stock acts more like a statesman than a politician and refuses to have anything to do with courting a party dedicated to destroying Canada.

Unless he's looking for an easy way to get out of those French lessons he's been taking.

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