Gilding the lily
(la fleur-de-lis)

  Niagara Falls, Ontario,
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
by: Joe Hueglin

Promise of budgetary allocation of his $1.5-billion Canada EcoTrust fund to the provinces for environmental purposes in Sherbrooke was strategically and tactically sound. Premier Charest was assisted, the $349.9 was more than Quebec had sought to fulfill cancelled Liberal programmes, opposition parties in the Commons would be having to consider this when voting on the budget and his greening was taking substance for the general Canadian population. All was well all over Canada.

In Trois-Rivieres, Que, however, Harper saying "Quebecers are a nation now because of their hard work in building the country, not because of sovereignty." (1) and his speaking of "the government's approval of the province to play a role in UNESCO" (2) to the partisan audience he was addressing raise questions for those outside Quebec.


"Quebecers" equates to all residents of Quebec. What Francophones, Anglophones and Allophones share, be they a "nation" as he stated is not a common culture but inhabiting a province of Canada. A territory whose government Harper is prepared to have play an independent role in international relations.

The Sherbrooke announcement was one directed at all Canadians. Politically gilding the lily in Three Rivers, through appealing to those of a nationalist bent while perhaps serving him well in Quebec, will not do so among those either in that province or the rest of Canada who believe in one Canada, both internally and in foreign affairs.


Joe Hueglin

1. Moore, Dene, Federal green fund boosts Quebec Liberals ahead of expected election (pdf) February 12, 2007, The Canadian Press
2. CTV news staff, Harper goes to Quebec to announce green fund (pdf), February 12, 2007, CTV News


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