Today's news conference with the new coalition triumvirate illustrated that social democrats can work together on specific principle-based issues. The presence of Gilles Duceppe was critical.
In each of the last elections, M. Duceppe has invariably impressed me in the debates. I dispute him on the separatism issue but I have respect for his ability to represent the voters in Quebec. The BQ MPs work hard to represent their constituents and these MPs have agreed to support this coalition until June 2010 with possible renewal beyond that time.
In my opinion, the most profound indication of M. Duceppe's capacity as a respectful political servant of the people was during the last election campaign. On the day that ConTV aired those exceptionally unethical re-runs of the tapes from M. Dion's Halifax interview, it was M. Duceppe who denounced this treatment of a fellow politician. Despite their vast differences on the issue of federalism, I believe it is entirely possible for M. Dion and M. Duceppe to regard and to treat each other with respect while they both serve Canada and Quebec. These two are men with an emotional maturity and capacity that Steven Harper has been incapable of illustrating tp Canadians in all his years as a politician.
I believe that Canada must include Quebec and we should heartily encourage the involvement of the BQ in the Liberal/NDP coalition to the extent that each party can still hold true to its principles. The BQ are very much on the left of the political spectrum on many social and financial issues. Quebeckers, are generally, more socially left than the rest of Canada. This coalition will benefit from their involvement. Canada will be better served by this coalition than by the current government. This means we need to get beyond the unfamiliarity of this situation.
This is a new way of politics for Canadians but many democracies have been working this way for a long time. Stephane Dion showed a capacity for bringing disparate forces together in the Montreal Climate Change conference in 2006 and in the way he handled the Elizabeth May situation. Different, but diplomatic and mature. If we had a different voting system, such as a form of proportional representation, we would likely have to develop many new ways of working together while still being able to compete on principle-based platforms during elections. Prime Minister Dion may be the best person to show us the way.
Yes, this is different but isn't this also the best opportunity that we've ever had to show Quebec and Quebeckers that we respect them and their ideas as part of Canada. Isn't it long past time we stopped fearing the BQ and tried to understand their point of view on the many shared principles that we have?
As Duceppe said today in reply to the question about Harper pulling a rabbit out of a hat to hang on to government, "Canada doesn't need a magician, it needs leaders."
If we stick with Steven Harper, each Canadian family will shiver in the dark all alone through this storm worrying if their pension will be there or if EI benefits will help them through a period of lay-off. Today, Stephane Dion, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe together offered forward thinking leadership for all Canadians, including Quebeckers. With this team, Canadians will have direction for facing the economic storm together. It won't be easy but the leadership is now available to show the way.
It's the We versus Me situation. When the storm clouds are gathering, I prefer to know that we'll all be helping or watching out for each other through the storm. Let's include Quebec and the BQ in Canada to work through this storm together. They need us and we need them. Let's pick the "We" team!