The Brian undercuts his successor:
When pressed to give details, Mulroney remained elusive.
"There are certain attitudes, certain approaches, that are different," he said. "I saw Canada's problems through the eyes of a Quebecer who was born on Quebec's north shore. Mr. Harper -- who is doing his best -- sees the country's problems through the eyes of an Albertan. It's not bad, but it's different."
Ahem. For the umpteenth time, Stephen Harper is not an Albertan. He was born and raised in Toronto. He has spent most of his adult life in Ottawa. He lived in Alberta from the early 1980s until the early 1990s. The man is a Torontonian. He is a descendant of Ontario and Maritime WASPs. This image of an Alberta cowboy is partially an affectation by the Prime Minister, giving him some minimal credibility as something other than an aloof wonk, and a construction of the MSM.
To sensible Trudeaupian opinion Alberta is the Other, an entity which they define themselves against. Traditionally the Central Canadian Other has been the United States. The decline of America and the emergence of Alberta as the second most important province in Confederation has changed that attitude. Today the Wild Rose province is everything we are to hate and despise. This is why Justin Trudeau took a swing at the province. That's why Brian Mulroney, somewhat more tactfully, is rolling his eyes at Alberta.
Stephen Harper does not see Quebec through the eyes of an Alberta, he sees it through the eyes of a ruthless and unemotional political strategist. After a few overtures toward La Belle Province in his first term, which were soundly rebuffed at the 2008 election, the PM changed his approach. Quebec, the traditional keystone of majority governments in Canada, simply wasn't going to vote in a Harper Tory government. As a result the party switched to trying to wring out as many seats as possible in southern Ontario. This was an ultimately successful strategy in 2011.
What the Harper Tories accomplished was a political revolution, which the old warhorse Mulroney has failed to comprehend. Quebec doesn't matter all that much and the rest of us should just act accordingly. The Brian politically matured at a time where the default strategy for those trying to obtain high national office was appeasing Quebec. This was at a time when the ROC believed, in its sweet innocence, that if the province was sufficiently placated they would come to love Canada. No one seriously, with the possible exception of Brian Mulroney, believes that now.
The New Canada that has emerged since Mulroney was chased out of office twenty years ago is different. Quebec is viewed either as a whinging backseat driver at best, or a strategic liability at worse. The ROC just wants Quebec to keep quiet. Through its anti-capitalist mentality and well below replacement fertility the Quebecois have signalled that they wish to die comfortably. Four centuries of remarkable survival along the shores of the St Lawrence. Its end to be met not in some romantic battle but in a government run nursing home. The ROC is just declining to pay for the nurses.
Belatedly our current Prime Minister has realized what the ROC has been feeling for awhile. If we ignore the problem it will, in time, go away. There is none of the mad energy of 1960s that drove the Quebecois nationalists and their opponents. We all just want to be left in peace. The boomers are old and have aged both societies with them.
As Mr Dryden advised in Lawrence of Arabia: Do nothing, it's usually best.