I think Mr. Duceppe may have “separated” from reality

07Apr10

So Gilles Duceppe is not-so-boldly going where others have gone before him.

Yes, the fearless leader of the Bloc Quebecois has decided he will attempt to re-ignite the separatist cauldron — whose flame these days resembles that of a portable camping stove more than the raging inferno of yesteryear —by taking the not-so-original step of making a cross-Canada trek to drum up support for this oft-flogged dead horse.

Naturally, this trip, like similar jaunts taken by Mssrs Parizeau and Bouchard many years ago now, is drawing amused commentary from the English-language media in this country.

And who can blame it? Quebec sovereignty isn’t exactly the hot-button issue du jour.

Norman Spector, of the Globe and Mail, painted the statistics Duceppe is up against in his blog this week. Approval/support for Quebec independence sits at levels ranging from a high of 26 per cent in Alberta — no real surprise there — to a low of just 5.3 per cent in New Brunswick.

Spector says Duceppe may be surprised by what he finds, but how, is unclear.

Where is the revelation in the knowledge that support for Quebec sovereignty outside the province itself is highest in the Prairie provinces? We’ve known this for decades. It’s called “western alienation”, and it contains a direct correlation to a deep-seeded resentment toward La Belle Province by pockets of disgruntled Western Canadians.

So, if Duceppe is serious about trying to resuscitate the sovereigntists’ favourite dead equine animal, perhaps he will concentrate his efforts there.

Of course, in the end, it isn’t likely to amount to much, with support for independence sitting at near-historic lows in his home province. It’s been proven twice before: all but the most die-hard separatists don’t want to leave Canada.

It’s leverage they want, baby. Leverage.

And Mr. Duceppe?

He’s likely taking one last kick at a highly dented can before he puts his own political career out to pasture — which is exactly where the heavily flogged separatist horse should have been placed before it died sometime after the last referendum.

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