Jeffrey Simpson at the Globe and Mail observes in a new article that the recent political ascendancy of Alberta and the West has resulted in the marginalization of Quebec in Canadian national politics.
He notes that a federal government has not been weaker or taken so little care about Quebec since the first Diefenbaker government in 1957. The Conservative government’s “tough on crime” policies, their opposition to the long-gun registry, their unbalanced position on the Isreali-Palestinian conflict, and their indifference to the issue of climate change have largely alienated the people of Quebec. In fact, almost every position or policy adopted by the federal government seemingly drives Quebeckers further from the Conservatives. The last election, in which the Conservatives won only five Quebec seats, demonstrated that a majority government can be formed without the province. The addition of House of Commons seats in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia before the next election will further reduce the importance of Quebec to Conservative political calculations. Simpson notes that the Liberal party’s traditional weakness in the West was due to a lack of political sensitivity and intelligence for and from the region. The Conservatives now display the same lack of feeling for Quebec. The province interprets the federal government’s policies and positions as indifference, if not hostility, to the region.