In speaking about a re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, we find Harper's infallible instinct to poke someone in the eye coming to the surface:
"What I know is this: For most Canadians and most Quebecers, that battle is an important event but it is an historical battle," the prime minister said to a burst of applause from workers at Montreal's CAE plant when he repeated the remarks in English.
He said the Bloc Quebecois "want to keep fighting today."
"Most Canadians have moved beyond this. We're not fighting battles across the country in workplaces like this. English-and French-Canadians work together and we're going to continue to keep this country together forever."
Can this blockhead be any thicker? Has he ever studied the french perspective on that battle? I doubt it - otherwise he might be just a little more reserved in his words on the subject.
Instead, what he does is come along, and try to make yet another partisan poke at Quebec. Obviously he either is downright malicious when it comes to Quebec, or he has absolutely no clue about that province.
I'm not saying that you handle Quebec "with kid gloves", but rather you handle it with respect. Harper is not being respectful, he's being cold, high-handed and arrogant about the matter. Re-enacting that battle will inflame separatist sentiment in the province.
I don't suppose I should be particularly surprised by this. Harper has made it clear that he is mendacious, petty and vengeful...and Quebec hasn't exactly rewarded his overtures with support at the polls.
However, that said, Canadians - and Quebeckers are Canadians - deserve to be treated with a degree of respect by their Prime Minister. Instead, what we see is the inflammatory rhetoric that is divisive and destructive. Canada has enough problems right now, without its Prime Minister trying to reignite the flames of Quebec separatism.
Do I really need to point out that Quebec's separatists have had their greatest political gains made during times of economic downturn?) Rene Levesque came to power in 1976 - just as we were digging out of the oil-embargo induced recession of the early 1970s; and Parizeau came into power as the downturn of the early 1990s came to an end. Do the math - poor economic times are when the separatists gain support as people look for alternatives. What does our Prime Minister do? Drive people to them.
Contrary to what many from Alberta seem to think, Canada would be a much poorer place without Quebec as part of it; and I suggest Quebec would not benefit from detachment from the rest of Canada either. (as infuriating as the Quebec separatists can be)