Progressive politics, ideas & culture


We’re In! (just don’t tell Quebec)

This Magazine Staff

When the US was putting together its Coalition of the Willing to invade Iraq, many countries declined to send their military, but offered their full political support. Unique among nations, Canada sent the military, but declined to offer political support. The main reason for this upside-down policy was, of course, Quebec. Jean Charest was in the middle of a difficult election campaign, and Jean Chretien didn’t want to give the PQ any ammunition.
Well, thanks to the “controversy” over missile defence, the reality of life under Liberal governments has finally been distilled to its purest, most absurd essence. Today, our new ambassador to the US, Frank McKenna, asserted — quite rightly — that Canada had already signed up to missile defence when we agreed to let Norad host the command centre.
Yet, for some reason, the Headwaiter has continued to pretend that he’s still thinking it over, while the Opposition has continued to either oppose it (Bloc/NDP) or demand more debate (the Conservatives).
But now, latebreaking news tells us that Canada is poised to reject missile defence. According to,
But federal officials, who wished to remain anonymous, told the CBC’s Radio-Canada that domestic considerations may have outweighed pressure from Washington.
What “domestic considerations” might those be? Gee… let me think...
Well, at least we can be pretty sure that Quebec will never separate. Why would they? By electing 21 Liberals (out of 75 seats), Quebec gets to run the whole country. Two questions remain, though:
1. How can Frank McKenna possibly keep his job?
2. How long before the rest of the country separates from Quebec?
UPDATE (Feb 24): In today’s Globe, Paul Koring has a very good analysis of what this all means vis a vis Canada/US relations. The best line comes from David Biette, an analyst at the Woodrow Wilson institute:
“He said he wanted better relations with Washington, but he is just unreliable in a different way.”

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