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Don’t adjust your TV: a Quebec perspective on the ‘Coup d’État’

The Improbable Trio. Or the Three Musketeers. These are the nicknames La Presse’s star columnist Patrick Lagacé gives to the Liberals-NDP (Bloc) coalition.

Layton, a leader whose party never governed the country, Dion, a former University professor who built his reputation by fighting against Quebecois nationalist movement, and Duceppe, a former Maoist at the head of Canada’s separatist party (and who is ready to make a pact to provide stability in the country he wants to separate from) are indeed strange bedfellows.

But that’s not all. “And a former RDI host will give – or not – her benediction to this coalition? Wow,” Lagacé writes, in disbelief.

Political analyst Josée Legault, a former political counsellor for PQ Premier of Quebec Bernard Landry, sees the attempt of a coalition as understandable, logical, and even necessary. For two reasons: the ideological choices of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who used the economic situation to impose a right-wing agenda; and an anti-democratic attack against the opposition parties, with the proposition to cut their subsidies. “How couldn’t the Bloc not understand that on these two aspects – fundamental ones, merci beaucoup – the interests of Quebec and Canada, for the first time in ages, are similar rather than opposed,” Legault writes.

La Presse’s political columnist Vincent Marissal considers the Bloc to be the big winner of the deal. “So much, in fact, that if all this really happens, it will convince a few more Quebeckers that Canada is not that bad of a deal, after all,” he writes.

Included in the agreement: new subsidies for economic development programs, cancellation of the cuts in culture made by the Tories, improvements made to the federal employment insurance and a cap and trade system to reduce carbon emissions in the country. “In Quebec, we call this an agreement by compromise. Elsewhere in the country, especially in the West, they will call that a hold-up,” Marissal concludes.

Anything but new elections, states Michel David, columnist for Le Devoir. Already going through a provincial election, Quebeckers don’t want to cast their ballots at the federal level again, just a few weeks after the last federal election. Indeed, he notes, a Crop-La Presse survey published during the weekend demonstrates that Quebeckers are largely in favour of a Liberals-NDP-Bloc coalition. The turmoil of the last couple of days has some Italian charm, David adds. Harper acted like an idiot, even though he almost won a majority at the Parliament. And he could be replaced by Stephane Dion, a man who lead his party to its worst electoral result since 1867.

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