It's nonsense, of course, but Stephen Harper has said "All conservatives believe in provincial autonomy." They don't. In fact, the Conservatives who built Confederation were at pains to circumscribe and to overcome the parochialism which leads to such points of view.
Now, however, in Mario Dumont, the new Opposition Leader in Quebec City and leader of the Action Democratic du Quebec, Mr. Harper has found a soul-mate who describes himself as an autonomist and whose views on social policy and political economy are unclear enough to be represented under any number of flags of convenience.
Firewall Harper and Dumont the autonomist together pose another kind of challenge to Confederation and national unity. Different in kind from the Parti Quebecois, whose defeat is welcomed by all who belief in one strong united Canada. But let us be clear: we live in interesting times with many challenges ahead.
The best news is the energized Jean Charest whose chastened victory speech spoke of respect and inclusion, of governing for all the people of his province. This even in winning only a minority from the former Tory Leader who went to Quebec City and the Quebec Liberals to stand up for Canada and democracy.
What a contrast to Stephen Harper's neocon minority which seeks only to serve the interests of what it calls a "conservative movement."