Prime Minister Stephen Harper is challenging Quebec sovereigntists' right to claim the Fete nationale holiday as their own political event.
The subtle jab came at the end of a visit to the province where a prime minister best known for lambasting Liberals showed himself perfectly willing to spar with separatists, too.
"This Fete nationale was being celebrated long before the Quiet Revolution (in the 1960s) -- and even before Confederation," he told a rural crowd yesterday. "This St-Jean (Baptiste) day reminds us all of the riches and greatness of the Quebec and francophone Canadian experience."
Mr. Harper eschewed the much larger, and more staunchly nationalist, ceremonies in Montreal and Quebec in favour of a rural festival in the province's Beauce region, home to eight of the Tories' 10 Quebec seats.
Instead of wading through urban throngs of thousands of flag-waving, slogan-chanting revellers, Mr. Harper chatted up locals among the cow pastures and rolling hills.
Indeed. Why let the separatists spoil what should be a day for all Quebecois?
If he'd gone to Montreal or Quebec, he'd have bought himself an unnecessary load of trouble. Go right to the people outside the chattering class centres and show that not everybody in Quebec is a diehard pure laine separatist.
Source: Ottawa Citizen