May 2nd was an opportunity for Quebecers to dispatch the Bloc Quebecois to the hinterlands, after having become an anachronism and possibly a major annoyance. At the federal level, Liberals were clearly in deflation mode (and not to be trusted in any case), and a majority of Quebecers viewed the Harper Conservatives with a high dose of suspicion, if not dislike.
Why not take Jack's NDP for a spin, they reasoned? He talked, smelled, and looked great and, besides, at a minimum he would likely be the leader of the official opposition party. Maybe in a position to wreak Coalition havoc to the continuing benefit of Quebec, like the Bloc. Mightily beholden to his Quebec supporters. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Eat your heart out, Gilles, they thought. Or, as someone else put it:
"Jack Layton is now stuck with Quebec's hot potato," said Christian Dufour, a political analyst at Quebec's Ecole nationale d'administration publique.Here today; gone tomorrow. Jack should be wary of this "gift" that he has been handed. The gift that he has accepted on their terms, not his.
And that's quite the opposite of the Quebec strategy of the Conservative party. Quick and dirty gains seldom produce a lasting relationship. "Fleeting", though, is a word that comes to mind.
And, assuming that Pauline Marois and the P.Q. form the next Quebec provincial government, the Conservative position is optimal for any discussions/demands that may result from that province. Conversely, the party most at risk will be the NDP, trying to keep its Quebec support while maintaining its core ROC base.
Particularly if Harper continues to take the view that the principal "grievance" of Quebec, signing on to the Constitution, is a political rather than legal issue. That is, all the National Assembly of Quebec needs to do is resolve to sign the Constitution, and the issue is addressed. Quebec's grievances (demands), alas, are never that simple to rectify, and that's where Jack's love-in with his Quebec caucus will show the strain.
Wonderful, I say. Let's separate the wheat from the chaff, as Harper seems to propose, and expose any "constitutional" demands by Quebec as no more than another series of (the expected) ransom notes, wraped in the noble "constitution" red-herring.
No wonder Gilles Duceppe was so concerned (as were countless hordes of other potential money trough recipients) at the prospect of a Harper/Conservative majority. That should have been the tip-off, rest of Canada.