By Mike Jenkinson
As a long-time political observer and policy wonk, I have to say that nothing has excited me in recent years more than the current race for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada.
And that's because it's been a very long time since I've seen a party that has been so focussed on the real issue confronting Canadians from coast to coast these days.
Indeed, while citizens of this fine country might be more concerned with violence on the streets, our staggeringly high rates of taxation, or the decrepit state of our health-care system, the federal Liberals are willing to challenge our preconceptions - willing to blow down the straw men and confront the root problem that is holding our country back, and that's the fact Quebec hasn't been recognized as a nation.
Not a day goes by when I'm not stopped on the street by a Sun reader, who says something like, "Mike! I know that we've got violent teenagers roaming the streets killing innocent people, but when is Ottawa going to solve this problem by recognizing Quebec as a nation?"
And I can only shake my head, gently put my hand on his or her shoulder and say sympathetically that I'm doing everything I can to make sure it happens.
Just the other day I ran into an elderly woman who might lose her home because of rising property taxes. I saw her eyes well up with tears and I went to comfort her. But, no. Her eyes were misty because she was lamenting all the lost and empty years we've endured in Canada because Quebec hasn't been recognized as a nation. I admire this wise woman, and I know that her path is true and righteous.
I have spoken with learned men of the cloth who hold firm convictions that if only Canada were to recognize Quebec as a nation, the Lord God Almighty's bounty would be unrolled upon Canada and our fields would bloom richly with crops like we have never seen before.
Some of these well-educated clergy believe that if we were to recognize Quebec as a nation, poverty would be eradicated overnight, diseases would be cured, the lame would walk, the blind would see, and the lion would lay down with the lamb.
As leading leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff told a CBC interviewer recently, it's imperative that Quebec be recognized as a nation because "you can't run this country unless all provinces are equal" and "you can't hold the country together unless all citizens are equal."
And the best way to acknowledge the equality of all Canadians and provinces is to ensure that Quebec is declared a nation.
Some cynics have insisted that the Liberals are out out of touch and that the elites in the party are unconcerned with the reality of the day-to-day lives of Canadians.
But nothing in this country will be solved unless Quebec is declared a nation. The siren song of Quebec nationhood has already captured Prime Minister Stephen Harper under its spell and will soon spread to every Canadian in the land, for it already dominates coffee-shop talk from Victoria to St. John's.
This is the great project upon which all Canadians must unite - the rallying cry of a country for a generation. Everything else must be put on the backburner so Quebec can get its way. Let the navel-gazing begin!