Much has been made about made, from English Canada, about Quebec voting in overwhelming numbers for Jack Layton and the NDP. I'll acknowledge that it's a very significant step forward for Quebec in terms of federal politics. But there's a large disconnect between its significance for Quebecers and the perceived significance it has for the rest of Canada.
When Quebecers woke up on May 3rd, 2011, they didn't think "I'm so glad we spoke up and chose federalism through the electoral process". They thought: "That redneck Stephen Harper is the guy that the rest of Canada thinks is best to lead Canada. What's wrong with them? Why doesn't Canada see the same crap that we do? Some of them do, sure, but not a whole hell of a lot. Quebec is still stuck in the opposition of a majority government of the Reform Party 2.0."
No one in Quebec is feeling good right now about federal politics.
It's important to note that a great deal of Quebecers don't want to reopen constitutional debates again. They want French-Canadian federal workers to be able to work in their own language and that's the extent of the "whining" they're guilty of.
And yet, as past injustices moved further back into the rear-view mirror throughout the years, Quebec has been steadily warming up to Canada. Then in this election, Canada decided to move further to the Right. To be fair, it's less Canada and more the Greater Toronto Area (talk about an oxymoron) that clinched it for the Tories but the reality is that too many Canadians voted Conservative. British Columbia moved to the Left to some extent but not enough to limit the Conservative's gains in Ontario and still, the Tories took BC.
So where does that leave Sovereignists in the wake of the destruction of the Bloc Québécois? Rethinking their strategy and imagining that it's all about them. The reality is, there's genuine concern about federal politics. As Stephen Harper's Conservatives agenda fleshes out, so will the mood of Quebecers. If a right-wing social agenda is coupled with bad economic results, the Sovereignists message will appeal to Quebecers now more than ever. The idea of being a "Master in your own Home" is a powerful one in Quebec. The thing that Anglophones in the rest of Canada have failed to understand about Quebecers is that it's really not about whether we like them or dislike them; it's about empowerment, autonomy and their own taxpayer's money. If those in power do not represent the majority of its people, then why should you remain in that political system?
The next four years of Stephen Harper's Conservative government will determine a great many things in Canada. Will there be jobs for those currently unemployed? Will the working poor get relief? Will there be an attempt to strip abortion rights? Will its environmental policy still be an embarrassment amongst the G8? Will there be electoral reform? There are many other questions that will be answered and if Stephen Harper ignores all of them and moves forward with a right-wing Conservative agenda, will it be a surprise to anyone that Quebecers that supported a fiscally and socially left-leaning party in record numbers feel left out of this Canada?