Well we know how that worked out for the PC Tories - a not very benign coup by the Reform Party. But what's interesting is their acknowledgement of the Bloc/ separatists/ Quebec nationalists as necessary partners in their gaining and maintaining power in the past :
"Brian Mulroney swept to victory in 1984 by allying with Quebec separatists"and the future :
The lack of any strategic alliance among the sister parties, argues Steve and Tom, leads to "a war of attrition" among them due to our first-past-the-post system.
ALONG THE TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY FROM CALGARY TO BANFF lies a prominent mountain called The Three Sisters. Legend has it that an Indian chief placed each of his three daughters on a separate peak to keep them away from unworthy suitors. The strategy succeeded so well that the three daughters died up there. Canadian conservatism is also a family of three sisters fated to perish in isolation unless they descend from their mountain tops and embrace more realistic expectations.
After the next federal election, Canadian conservatives may begin to encourage limited cooperation between Reform and the PCs, leading to a system of sister parties.
Both the Reform party and the Bloc Quebecois, or even the PCs, could go on for decades without ever becoming national parties; and through their survival as regional parties they could prevent the emergence of a national conservative party.
In the longer term, however, and assuming that Quebec remains in Canada, the alliance would find it hard to form a stable government without some Quebec support. On that basis, a strategic alliance of Quebec nationalists with conservatives outside Quebec might become possible, and it might be enough to sustain a government.How to fix this. What follows is a passionate plea for electoral reform and proportional representation like they have in Europe.
None of this will be easy or even likely. But experience shows that a monolithic conservative party is unworkable; so conservatives who are unhappy with a one-party-plus system featuring the Liberals as the perpetual governing party may have little choice but to construct an alliance, at least of the two anglophone sisters, and perhaps ultimately including a third sister.
... Quebec nationalism, while not in itself a conservative movement, appeals to the kinds of voters who in other provinces support conservative parties. The Bloc Quebecois is strongest in rural Quebec, among voters who would not be out of place in Red Deer, except that they speak French rather than English.
It may be that the third sister can never be brought back in. In the last century, Quebec nationalists, content with provincial autonomy and cultural preservation, could participate in Sir John A. Macdonald's Liberal-Conservative Party -- a single party in name but a coalition in substance, always with a strong "Quebec lieutenant." But now that Quebec nationalists have discovered sovereignty, they may never again see merit in a conservative coalition."
Our parliamentary government creates a concentrated power structure out of step with other aspects of society. For Canadian democracy to mature, Canadian citizens must face these facts, as citizens in other countries have, and update our political structures to reflect the diverse political aspirations of our diverse communities.Some - *cough* - more than others.
Only in politics do we still entrust power to a single faction expected to prevail every time over the opposition by sheer force of numbers. Even more anachronistically, we persist in structuring the governing team like a military regiment under a single commander with almost total power to appoint, discipline and expel subordinates.
Among major democracies, only Great Britain so ruthlessly concentrates power.It's a fascinating read. And as a bonus - sure to outrage the Con cheerleaders who bought into Steve's current coalition monkey.
In most of the rest of Europe, proportional representation ensures that coalition governments routinely form cabinets. ... In New Zealand, which used to have a Canadian-style system of concentrated power, the voters rebelled against alternating Labour party and National party dictatorships: electoral reform now ensures coalition cabinets.
Modernizing Canadian politics would not only be good for conservatism, it might be the key to Canada's survival as a nation.
Yet I wonder if part of Harper's enraged obsession around "coalitions with separatists" is due to his feeling betrayed by the "third sister" he once envisioned as part of a conservative coalition. . . .
Many thanks to Kev in comments below for the Milewski link.