Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tectonic shift in Canadian politics

So, this week we got 4 more years of a Harper Government. While I’m not happy that Harper won, watching the liberals and the NDP jockeying for second position during this week’s election returns was certainly not boring.

The liberals suffered the worst defeat since the beginning of, well, Canada. In a historical first, the NDP (New Democratic Party) is now the official opposition party instead of the Liberals. At the same time the NDP decimated the dominant party in Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois, reducing their seats from 48 to 4. Canada is the only country I know of that has a political party that exists solely to break up the country. It even sounds like fun – “let’s ‘ave a Bloc party and break up the country”. So, if Giles Duceppe, leader of the Bloc, had won he would have said something like this “Well, my first job as Prime Minister of Canada is, well, to have Quebec separate from Canada” – only he would have said it in French.

Now that Quebec has made the political shift from a separatist Bloc Quebecois to a federalist NDP, does that mean that Quebec has opted back into Canada, or will the threat of separation remain an issue?

Here’s a curious issue, several of the newly elected NDP MPs in Quebec ridings do not speak French fluently. If they want to hold on to their seats they will need to improve their French. Rosetta Stone anyone?

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