Barring some unforeseen event between now as I type and Monday evening, it’s likely that we’ll have elected a Conservative majority government.
Given the ethical failings of the Liberals, and the Marxist underpinnings of the NDP, that will be a good thing.
An added bonus may come in the form of a severe weakening of the Bloc Quebecois. Even though Quebec voters will have simply traded allegiance to one hard-core socialist party for another, the upside is that at least the socialists they appear to be embracing aren’t openly dedicated to dismantling the country.
If we can wish for one good thing from this election beyond some real fiscal conservatism (please do not attempt to blame the Conservatives for the drunken spending binge that has led to our current deficit), it may be that we can finally drive the wooden spike into the heart of the beast that is the Quebec separatist movement.
The separatist issue has always been about money and anti-Anglo bigotry. Before the Internet I believed this to be so, and a decade of conversations with separatist-leaning Quebecers has proven this to be true. Quebecers also seem to be grossly misinformed about their economic place in the nation.
Whether it’s due to blatant journalistic malfeasance, governmental misinformation, wilful public blindness, or a combination of all three, Quebecers labor under a very common belief that they are a full economic partner in Confederation.
Precious few Quebecers grasp that billions of dollars of “offshore” tax money flows into their province via the miracle of equalization. Those who do grasp it, almost invariably feel that they are fully entitled to tax dollars earned by you and me simply because of the sacrifices Quebec makes in order to stay in Canada.
I’m not kidding here.
Decades of mollycoddling the separatist movement has only made it hungrier and ever less capable of being a full and contributing partner in Confederation.
It’s my sincere hope that we can begin the process of ending the separatist charade, sooner than later. The longer we allow it to go on, the less valuable our nation becomes in the eyes of her citizens. At some time the challenge becomes simple: stay, or go, but decide once and for all.
In the meantime, we as a nation have the right to set the terms of the discussion. We already know that a majority Conservative government will likely end the vote subsidy for political parties. It’s possible that decision may actually strengthen a merged Liberal-New Democrat entity. So be it. It will destroy the Bloc Quebecois financially.
We have no moral or ethical obligation to fund the Bloc. Nor have we actually been ethically or morally bound to give Bloc MP’s a say in the House of Commons, nor committee seats and standing, nor even funding for office space and staff.
That we have done these things speaks volumes about the lack of intellect and courage that pervades our ruling classes.
We can end the separatist dilemma once and for all, and in short order. It will be up to a majority government to begin the process of de-funding the Bloc, starting with the end of the per-vote subsidy.
It will also be time to face the separatists in the Quebec provincial government head-on. It will require a simple challenge to the people of Quebec.
They need to be told in simple terms that it is their right to elect a resurgent separatist government, but there will be consequences if they do.
Separatist electors in Quebec need to know that a separatist government in Quebec City will no longer receive federal funds for health care or education. Equalization payments will come to a halt not within days but within hours of a separatist victory, and all forms of federal payments to individuals will be halted.
If Quebecers really want less Canada, then why not give them exactly that — starting with our money?
The only conceivable way that can happen is with a Conservative majority. Let’s hope we can at least create the conditions for that to happen. It’s time.
Bill Greenwood is a Red Deer based freelance columnist.