First, let me congratulate you, Neil, for having written this piece. By the way, the alchemical reference in the title is terrific. I think you begin to get the picture. Canada, historically, used to be a bipolar entity run by Ottawa, where resides federal power, and by Quebec with its « société distincte » based on language and culture. So Ontario and Quebec used to be the two provinces where decisions were made or where trends were manufactured or developed. Now, in the 21st century, things are changing. With a planet of roughly 7 billion inhabitants, energy is a key element in the composition of a state.
In that regard, it is only logical that Alberta emerges now as the new center for English-Canada. Oil being increasingly determinant in shaping countries’s foreign policy, the province imposes itself as the new voice for stating the political agenda in the country. And Quebec, being already a giant in the production of electricity, may keep its position as a leader of influence, and even more if you consider that the province decided to add the oil-and-gas-industry to its portfolio and to undertake the exploitation of the Old Harry pit and of shale gas deposits in the St-Lawrence valley. If Ontario and Quebec used to be the two main voices in Canada until today, now it is Alberta and Quebec. Why Ontario isn’t anymore a leader in Canada, would you ask? Maybe because Ontario is synonymous with the past, when Canada was considered to be not much more than just a colony where companies could pillage natural resources and exploit the population for its workforce capabilities. In those years, much emphasis was being put on Canada’s inclusion in the Commonwealth and its disguised submission to the british royal family. In other terms, that vision of the country, which was fabricated for the 19th century when the country itself was born, is now outdated.
Like everything else, the political life evolves and countries with it. That is why the arrival of the Conservative Party is something interesting. Overall, they have a vision of the country, of foreign policy, of geo-politics that is much more mature than the one of the other parties. And the Bloc Québécois, after 20 years, begins to show cracks in the wall as many Quebeckers ask themselves about the pertinence to keep a sovereignist party in Ottawa that can’t do the sovereignty anyway and leaves us in the opposition forever. I always voted for the Bloc since its inception. But this coming election, I will vote for the Conservatives. They have a lot of policies with which I disagree…but they support Israel. You see, Israel is the barometer of a country’s foreign policy. You wanna know where a country lies on the geo-political scale? Check its policy toward Israel. It tells all. The fact that the Conservatives support Israel means that they would increase the pressure on Islamists, use tribunals to expulse them out of the country, take measures to protect our culture, our civilization and our values, etc. But, most importantly, it means that they get the picture of the geo-political theater and have a good take on the actors that are playing in it.
The Bloc Québécois was born when MPs from Quebec split away from their parties after the Meech Lake debacle. To use an image, it is almost as if the Progressive faction of the Progressive Conservative Party would have split. It probably has, since the Party slowly disintegrated afterwards. When it was brought back to life through a merger with the Canadian Alliance Party, the Progressive element had disappeared, only the Conservative element remained. You know what? I just had a crazy idea… What if the Conservative Party and the Bloc Québécois create a coalition to allow ourselves to have a majority in the Parliament? Wouldn’t it resemble Alberta and Quebec united? Wouldn’t it resemble a new Progressive Conservative Party? Michel Kelly-Gagnon is right with his analysis. It is time that we move on. And you are right, Neil. The fleur-de-lys and the rose could and can unite. It is probably one of the greatest realization of alchemy if we can achieve it. Let’s keep our eyes on the goal.