Bloc plans to prop up Harper's minorityIt seems odd to me, and not a good thing, that a party with purely parochial concerns is the deciding factor on the national stage. It's also such blatant political gamesmanship: the Conservatives make kissing noises at the Bloc, so the Bloc scratches the Conservatives' back, because only Quebec matters.
The Bloc Quebecois says it intends to keep the Conservative minority government in office for a "good while," encouraged by the Tories' openness toward Quebec.
With the Liberals already digging in their heels more than a month before the new Parliament begins and the NDP at least one vote shy of holding the balance of power, the Bloc will often be the deciding factor between Conservative success and an early federal election.
Many federal Liberals warned during the last election that a Conservative minority beholden to the Bloc would lead to the dismantling of federal powers and a rise in Quebec sovereignty.
But Bloc House Leader Michel Gauthier dismisses those warnings.
In an interview, he said his party has no intention of imposing such demands and will simply be happy with an end to Liberal centralization and the Conservative pledge to respect the constitutional division of powers.
"We don't want useless battles. We want to help the government function for a while. I have no shame in saying I will be urging my colleagues . . . to conduct ourselves in a way that the government stays in place for a good while to do what needs to be done," he said in French.
"[The Conservatives] have already shown more openness than the Liberals. The Liberals were centralist in everything they did, trying to infringe on the responsibilities of Quebec. It couldn't be worse than that. I think the Conservatives will be more respectful of Quebec's responsibilities."
Mr. Gauthier said the Bloc will not spearhead specific policies, but will push to ensure government policies are good for Quebec.
I understand that all politics are quid pro quo, but in this transaction, what does Canada get? Screwed?