Separatists aren't the separatist threat. People who point out they're separatist are
I've paid close attention to the spin that supporters of the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition have been using over the past week. It has evolved; the new line is that it's "divisive" to point out that the coalition contains 49 avowed Quebec separatists. Here's the NDP's Ed Broadbent, for example.
Just stop and savour that amazing line. It's like an Escher drawing, isn't it?
The separatists are divisive by definition -- they literally want to divide Canada. Their explicit mission is to undo Canada, to remove Quebec from Confederation. And they make up a third of the coalition's manpower -- without which the coalition wouldn't have the numbers to unseat the Conservatives.
For the first time in Canadian history, the separatists have been invited into government -- and have been granted not only a veto over budgets and other confidence matters, but also the right to choose Canada's prime minister.
But! But if you mention that, if you call separatists by their own name that is divisive! That is dangerous to national unity!
Here's how Escher would draw that argument:
This isn't just the spin from the Liberals and NDP. It's an argument taken up by much of the media. For just one example, here's CTV's Antonia Maioni making that weird point.
So separatists joining the government -- with a veto -- aren't the danger. Mentioning that, blowing the whistle on that -- that's the danger.
I note that neither Broadbent nor Maioni nor any of the others pushing this line had similar criticisms of the actual separatists who were cheering the coalition as a tool for separation, like Jacques Parizeau did last week.
This is very odd.
Part of it is Stockholm Syndrome -- people like Maioni who live in Montreal, and are just tired of fighting against separatists, and want to appease them to make the pain stop.
Part of it is familiarity and numbness. The Parliamentary Press Gallery, like the rest of the country, was genuinely shocked when the Bloc Quebecois debuted in 1990. But over the last 18 years, the Bloc has become comfortably familiar, like furniture or wallpaper. The media sees them every day, talks with them, dines with them, even befriends them. So when a Liberal-NDP-Bloc deal is signed, it's no big deal to the press gallery. By contrast, normal Canadians, who haven't yet become desensitized to the Bloc's audacious agenda, are still shocked.
Finally, it's a sign that, especially for the far left (like Broadbent, Dion, Rae, etc.), the ends justify the means. They will abandon their opposition to separatism in return for power. They find Stephen Harper more offensive than they do Gilles Duceppe -- in other words, they find moderate conservatism more offensive than the proposed disintegration of Canada.
It is a great discredit to the NDP and Liberals.
And Canadians aren't buying it.
The Liberals and NDP deserve the shellacking they're receiving in the polls.
And the Bloc? Well, they're being honest about their goals. They haven't betrayed their ideals. I bet they're more popular at home than ever.