Shh - don't say separatism is dead

Climat politique au Québec

Stephen Harper didn't quite use the "d" word, but he came uncomfortably close.
The prime minister, in his year-end interviews, said "the separatist movement in Quebec has been in a terrible retreat in the past couple of years."
Harper was giving himself credit for that perceived achievement, notably via the House of Commons resolution saying "les Québécois" constitute a nation within Canada.

That recognition, he said, has calmed the sovereignist waters, taking a wedge issue away from separatists.
There's one element of validity to what Harper said: The Bloc Québécois is in trouble, pollsters tell us.
But in Quebec - where the game is being played - it's much harder, even foolhardy, to claim separatism is in full retreat.
The Parti Québécois remains avowedly, vocally sovereignist, and the "autonomist" Action démocratique du Québec is ... well, who really knows where they stand? Between them those two parties have a large majority in the National Assembly, and in opinion polls.
Ever since Pierre Trudeau's brash, unilateral declaration "separatism is dead" in 1975 - the year before the Parti Québécois took power - Quebec federalists have cringed whenever anyone, let alone a prime minister, pronounces separatism dead, in its death throes, or on life support.
Harper needs to be careful. Many Quebecers want to keep the ultimate option in their back pockets. Fair and prudent governance, not triumphalism, will make sure it never comes out.
- source

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