Prime Minister Stephen Harper has awakened a sleeping Quebecois ogre, said the Ottawa Citizen in an editorial. Harper recently announced, pretty much out of the blue, that the Quebecois should be considered a nation but within a united Canada. He was using the word nation in its sense of cultural and ethnic distinctness, but to most of us in whats known as the Rest of Canada, nation is a synonym for country, and many Quebecois probably think the same way. For decades, the hard-line Francophones in Quebec have considered themselves separate from the Rest of Canada, and though their movement to break away from Canada has failed, nationalism is one creature you normally want to keep locked up in a secure place. Perhaps Harper thought he was pre-empting the revival of Quebec separatism, since the Bloc Quebecois party is planning to declare Quebec a nation, and without the mitigating language about a united Canada. But heres the million-dollar question: Is recognizing Quebec nationhood really just a symbolic gesture? In the past, Quebec nationalists have stooped to kidnapping public officials to further their cause. Even if Mr. Harpers intent is to grant only symbolic recognition, will he be able to control the beast that gets unleashed?