Conservative Talking Point: After flipping back and forth between CTV Newsnet and CBC Newsworld, it has become clear the Conservatives are going to indirectly accuse the Coalition as sell-outs to the Bloc Quebecois. All they've been saying is, "what did it cost to get the Bloc onside?"
The fact of the matter is that Quebec isn't isolated from Canada and vice-versa. What's going on in Quebec will have an impact on Canada to some degree, however, if Canada isn't healthy it's guaranteed that Quebec isn't either. Gilles Duceppe knows this and so does every other separatist. At this point, as Canada goes so does Quebec. If there is going to be a recovery, coast to coast, it is going to take all provinces, territories and regions working together.
Yes, Duceppe is a separatist running a separatist party. However, Duceppe's main job as head of the BQ, at this point in time, is to make sure Quebec's interests are listened to and addressed. Separatism is a low priority amongst Quebecers. Just ask Marois or Dumont - who have essentially dropped talk about separation. It is in Quebec's interest, who is mainly represented by the BQ, to be involved in and benefit from a Coalition that is looking to make economic progress.
I would also argue that since the BQ, in its current incarnation, is really nothing more than a regional representative - either by necessity or by concession - other Canadian regions will also benefit from BQ's involvement. The Coalition will specifically look to create equity between regions - whatever Duceppe asks for other regions will receive something comparable and/or equitable. The one thing this Coalition will try to do is alienate the West and this is one way to do it.
Let's not forget Dion's role in the Clarity Act and how much Duceppe detests it. And likewise, there is no love for Duceppe from Dion. These two men have had to put a lot aside to be able to work together for at least eighteen months. But the one thing Dion would NEVER do is make any concessions that would strengthen the separatist cause. Dion also knows the risks - and there are many, politically and federally - to working on the same side as the BQ. Neither Dion or Layton would have went into this without heavy consultation and a little on the defensive. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous.
And since we're talking about Dion...
Liberal/Coalition Leadership: I wouldn't necessarily disagree with the argument that Dion was rejected by voters. Not all voters mind you, but there is some indication that Liberal voters stayed home and that is enough to pay attention to this argument. What I think people should keep in mind is that under this Coalition it doesn't really matter who is Prime Minister. Why? Because it is a Coalition brought together under a common focus through concession and compromise (something Harper didn't attempt).
The decisions under this Coalition are being made through a group/team effort. That means the Prime Minister won't be the main or sole idea producer who is relying on his team to hash out details. Rather, the ideas are being developed in another format where one person cannot overrule the others. To try to do so would be political suicide and in violation of the agreement that was signed. This is also why when the new Liberal leader is chosen in May, the transition into the Prime Minister position will likely be smooth and have little (if any) effect on the operations of the government.
This does mean that the eventual new leader/Prime Minister, at least in the beginning, will not have the same privy afforded to them that Chretien had during his days as PM. They will, however, be front and centre of a functioning and progressive government working towards the betterment of all Canadians.