Steven Harper’s recent motion to declare “Quebec a nation within Canada” has had an unusual spin off effect. Long time Sovereigntist lawyer Guy Bertrand has dusted off his old plans to put a Team Quebec into International hockey, starting with the 2008 World Hockey Championships.
It’s an event which coincidentally, will be taking place in Quebec City and Halifax that year. In a bit of symbolic destiny, that is the year of Quebec’s 400th anniversary celebrations and they suddenly seem to be setting up for a giant coming out party, which if Bertrand has his way will be played out on the ice rink in Quebec City.
Bertrand has been arguing on behalf of a Team Quebec for a number of years and has become a perennial pain in the backside for Hockey Canada, with his demands that they sanction the formation of a team to represent the province. Hockey Canada has repeatedly told him that he can’t have a team, as he doesn’t yet have a nation. However, with the parliamentary declaration that Quebec is a nation (even if that inconvenient tag line "within Canada" is still there) Bertrand feels that he’s probably one step closer to the goal, even if most feel he's a little off the beaten path with his plans.
Bertrand who is now emboldened by the developments in Ottawa , is apparently not against gooning it up with the Prime Minister. Going so far as to suggest that a lack of support for the Quebec team idea by Harper could cost the Conservatives "thousands of votes" in Quebec in the next election. How’s that for standing Harper up as he crosses the blue line, best keep your head up Stephen, best to keep your head up.
Harper has apparently been busy working on a book about hockey which he hopes to have completed sometime in the future. If Bertrand wins the public relations war on his plan, it will make for a chapter in Canadian hockey that the author of the book helped to bring about. This might be the kind of legacy that Harper might not want to go down in history over.
Messing up the country we can probably live with, as we have come to expect that of our leaders, but messing up our hockey, well that’s something that a career just won’t recover from!