The past and future tense

CBC tonight referred to an essay—Our Benign Dictatorship—authored in 1996 by Stephen Harper and Tom Flanagan that refers specifically to the relationship between conservatism and Quebec nationalism.

Below, the excerpt highlighted by the CBC.

“If Quebec stays in Confederation, the Bloc will either disintegrate or become an autonomist party, participating in federal politics as a representative of Quebec’s specific interests. Philosophically, it is logical for liberals to offer Quebec money and privileged treatment, while conservatives find it easier to offer autonomy and enhanced jurisdiction. On that basis, a strategic alliance of Quebec nationalists with conservatives outside Quebec might become possible, and it might be enough to sustain a government.”

Later, there’s this.

“Bereft of carrots, the Liberal government is resorting to ever heavier sticks against separatism. In our view, only a conservative vision that takes government back to its proper role, and thereby concedes to Quebec the space required for its own civil society, can hold the country together for the long term.”

The full essay appears to be here.

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