Pity poor Andre Boisclair.
Like other Parti Quebecois leaders, he trotted off to Paris this week hoping to be granted an air-kiss, and a crumb of political support. And while he came away giddy, the high promises to be a fleeting one.
After meeting Boisclair, Segolene Royal, the gaffe-prone Socialist leader and presidential candidate, felt moved to endorse "Quebec's sovereignty and freedom."
But within hours, she was back-pedalling furiously as wiser heads fretted that her "gaffe" risked jeopardizing France's cordial relations with Canada.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the remark "highly inappropriate," however, he sensibly decided not to make a federal case out of Royal's sovereign folly.
Quebec Premier Jean Charest just rolled his eyes, saying "Quebecers will decide the future of Quebec."
That left Liberal Leader Stephane Dion to deliver the slyest dig of all: "Canada doesn't wish for the dismantling of France and France doesn't wish for the dismantling of Canada." That was a reminder that France has its own little identity issue in Corsica, where separatism is alive, complete with planted bombs.
Not three weeks ago, Royal's chief rival, presidential front-runner Nicolas Sarkozy, made headlines vowing to crush Corsican violence.
By yesterday, Royal was in full gaffe control mode, parroting a Canada-friendly diplomatic line dictated by the French government: Paris is "not indifferent" to Quebec's future, but has no desire to meddle.
If that about-face does not take the starch out of Boisclair's grin, this should: Royal is making even the French nervous, with her penchant for backing the wrong guys.
She has been widely criticized for saying the French legal system could learn lessons in "efficiency" from China's notoriously brutal and corrupt system.
And after meeting a Hezbollah leader, she agreed with him that Washington is afflicted with "unlimited dementia." Royal also failed to challenge his odious comparison of Israel's invasion of Lebanon with the Nazi occupation of France.
With friends like that, Andre ...