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Harper's majorityis a unity recipe

Canada is a different country today. There is a new order. Canadians have stability. Perhaps not cast in iron for the long term but it is there for a bold new moment at least. At last on the federal level we have a majority government.

Canada is a different country today. There is a new order. Canadians have stability. Perhaps not cast in iron for the long term but it is there for a bold new moment at least.

At last on the federal level we have a majority government. We believe the Conservative Party of Canada deserves it.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his team have maintained good fiscal order for the past five years as a minority government, and now the Tories can forge ahead without the threat of being toppled by a foe that proved for too many years to be unworthy, lacking of substance and without inspired leadership.

That primary foe of course was the Liberal Party of Canada, a once proud national institution booted down last week to the next rung of political oblivion. As well, the Tories can now proceed with its record of excellent fiscal management without the never-ending taxing problem of being harassed by separatists shouting nonsense in the House of Commons.

Of course, the prime minister must thank the NDP for that, the new opposition party that shocked the nation by convincing the good people of Quebec to boot out the Bloc Quebecois and give federalism another chance.

In his victory speech on election night the prime minister once again referred to Quebec as a "nation", a subtle reaching out to the constituency that cut his caucus to almost half, from 11 elected members to six.

And while the Tories will no longer have to battle day in and day out to fend off the likes of Gilles Duceppe and his underlings (now reduced to a rump of four) there is almost five dozen opposition NDP MPs, many of them with strong nationalist slants, who will surely remind Harper that La belle province can't be forgotten, and that another BQ type party can and will rise faster than a canine voraciously leaping for a huge steak. Remember the mobilized wave of nationalism of post Meech Lake and the 1995 referendum?

The potential problem here is complacency. The entire country, including Quebec, knows Harper is a westerner who never for a second forgets his roots. Too much coddling to the oil industry and not enough attention to things eastern will sound alarm bells, and the NDP, always a great gang for noise and juicy sound bites, will make the Conservatives pay dearly in the court of eastern public opinion.

But sound horse-trading across every region of the land will not go far enough for Harper to secure the hearts of Quebecers and become a true national party.

On May 2 Quebec did not necessarily vote for federalism. It voted for federalism because it was necessary. The Bloc was old, tired and going nowhere. The Grits lost direction years ago, and have no leader now or in the foreseeable future that can rival Trudeau or even Chretien. The NDP was viewed by many as the only choice left, the last stop on the federal political block.

Harper and the Conservatives may feel on solid ground this week after five years of tumult but to leave the Quebec file open for further discourse would be irresponsible.

The Tories, even if reduced to only six Quebec MPs, must make Quebec a political national unity priority, even if much of the groundwork for the next few years into its majority mandate is below the radar.

Many will recoil at the thought of reopening constitutional discussions but that is exactly what the NDP told Quebecers during the election campaign it would do, if the conditions were right.

Harper is an astute politician, and he is not above stealing an idea or two from his foes. Afterall, he did swipe the "nation' idea from his opponents as a means of scoring a political point or two at the expense of the Bloc.

Now is his chance to do the same. Harper only needs the resolve and fortitude to do it.

As Canada continues to move robustly out of the recession, with a majority able Tory government committed to sound economic management, there will never be a better time to realize the Canadian unity dream that has been on the backburner for too long now.

Prosperity and stability are the ingredients ñ the right conditions - to make this happen.