Lysianne Gagnon's column today in the Globe captures some of the same thoughts as I posted last week:
Actually, the election results might even force the sovereigntists to renounce their dream of holding a referendum on sovereignty right after a provincial election victory.
Moreover, the prospect of a PQ victory over Jean Charest's Liberals is not as probable as it seemed only two weeks ago. The Conservative victory is providing much-needed fuel to the embattled Quebec Liberals, who greeted the Conservative win with unabashed joy. (Some provincial Liberal organizers discreetly gave a helping hand to the new Conservative MPs around Quebec City).
If Mr. Harper delivers on his promise to solve the fiscal imbalance between Ottawa and the provinces, and allows Quebec a voice in cultural international forums such as UNESCO, the Quebec government has a greater chance of being re-elected, and such a scenario would instantly send the sovereigntist movement into limbo for four more years.
If Mr. Harper plays his cards well -- and of course this remains to be seen -- Quebec could propel him with enough seats, next time, to a majority government. For this scenario to become true, though, he will have to govern from the centre, refrain from pushing socially conservative policies and act on his promise to decentralize. For now, Quebeckers are favourably disposed toward the new government, but Mr. Harper will be under close surveillance.