Liberal Leader Stephane Dion called it a scheme to turn the immigration debate into the kind of English-French spat that has traditionally fuelled the sovereignty movement.The Conservatives, likely scrambling as they might appear to be left hanging out in xenophobe land, got on the record for the CP update at 7:46 pm:
He urged PQ Leader Pauline Marois to immediately withdraw the controversial Bill 195.
``Thankfully we have a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which prevents certain politicians from going off the rails like she has,'' Dion said.
``This will never be welcome in Quebec. The Quebec that I know will never accept this kind of thing.''
Federal Conservatives at first appeared reluctant to get involved in the debate and initially refused requests for comment.Leading from the rear...yes sir, better late than never. Do it when it's safe, after Jean Charest has come out and said the bill won't be put forth in the Quebec National Assembly. Make sure your political position is protected from all angles, at all costs. Make your calculations. Then speak.
Labour Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn refused to discuss the bill - saying it was not Ottawa's issue. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office also declined to say anything.
But late in the day a senior cabinet minister denounced the PQ legislation.
Tory House leader Peter Van Loan said he was pleased to see that the bill had limited support in the Quebec legislature - both the minority Liberal government and the Official Opposition Action democratique du Quebec made it clear Tuesday that they wouldn't support it.
"It's heartening to see this bill's not going to go anywhere," Van Loan said in an interview.
"Every Canadian has democratic rights. And those rights - to vote, to run for office - are fundamental. . . I don't think those rights can be taken away."
The Conservatives have been reluctant to wade into the debate on so-called reasonable accommodation in Quebec.
Harpie, therefore, gets a big "NOT A LEADER" designation for his slow, secondary admonition of the bill through Van Loan yesterday. Dion's gut told him what the right thing was to do and he spoke from his heart. Harpie? Puttin' a big finger in the wind to see which way the winds would blow in Quebec yesterday...