That, in a nutshell, was the message the federal government delivered Wednesday to the Parti Quebecois one day after premier-elect Pauline Marois eked out her narrow minority election win.
Throughout the bitter campaign leading up to Tuesday's vote, Marois had been spoiling for a fight with Stephen Harper, vowing to demand control over employment insurance and more power over foreign aid, culture and social programs.
But without a substantial PQ majority, and with support for separation languishing in Quebec, the prospect of the federal government's fall agenda being sidelined by a national unity crisis has gone from nightmare scenario to bad Conservative dream.
Now, it's about finding common ground, senior Tories suggested Wednesday — much like it has always been.
"I think, as in the past, we will be able to reach an agreement— we'll have administrative arrangements," said Industry Minister Christian Paradis, one of only five Tory MPs in Quebec.
"We're in good faith here, we're going to continue with that road, but we'll see what Mrs. Marois is going to be asking for."
Many Conservative cabinet ministers have long advocated giving the provinces more flexibility in how they handle social programs, arguing that they are closer to their jurisdictions and make better practical decisions than a federal government at bird's-eye level.
But both Paradis and Human Resources Minister Diane Finley pointed out that handing over power on employment insurance would require a constitutional change.
That's a non-starter, Paradis said.
"If the requests are simply to sabotage the federal government, of course we, the federal government, won't necessarily be able to reach common ground," Paradis said.
Finley pointed instead to the ways the Harper government has made the program more flexible to respond to provincial demands.
"Employment insurance has been federal jurisdiction since 1940," Finley said by phone from Halifax where she unveiled an expansion of her national youth employment strategy.
"It's national programs to help all regions of the country. We've made it more flexible so that it does respond more directly to changes in local market conditions."
As for Marois, she too sought to cool down her heated rhetoric. A Wednesday morning phone conversation with Harper was "very cordial," she said.
Any demands she takes to Ottawa would be the result of a consensus within the Quebec National Assembly, she added.
Marois pointed to previous agreements among members to push Ottawa on the environment, more control over securities regulation, imposition of French language laws on federally regulated businesses, requests to keep data from the long-gun registry and changes to the laws governing young offenders.
It's unclear, however, how long things will remain cordial: the federal government has a history of resisting demands from Quebec in such areas.
Specific policy issues did not come up in the conversation between the two leaders, said Harper spokesman Andrew MacDougall.
"The prime minister added that in the interest of both Quebec and Canada, he plans to join forces with the Quebec government to implement measures aimed at growing the Quebec economy, with each remaining within its respective jurisdictional boundaries," MacDougall said in a statement.
Harper and Marois are not expected to have a face-to-face meeting until they see each other at La Francophonie summit late this fall in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
While Paradis, Finley and the Prime Minister's Office made it clear how they would handle policy issues, Quebec's new politics remained another question.
While many characterized a minority PQ government as a 'best worst-case' scenario, the federal Conservatives — with few ties with PQ heavy hitters — were scrambling behind the scenes to figure out how to fill their empty Rolodexes.
Relations with members of the Coalition party are somewhat stronger, but it remains to be seen just how much of a role the new party will have in the National Assembly under a minority PQ government.
Meanwhile, other premiers were taking a wait-and-see approach Wednesday.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark said she hopes Marois will find new insights once she takes her seat at the premiers' table.
"One of the points that I will make to Quebecers and I will make to her is that British Columbia is where Canada begins," Clark said. "Quebec needs B.C. just like Quebec needs Canada."
Alberta Premier Alison Redford brushed aside suggestions that a Parti Quebecois government could pose a threat to her campaign for a national energy strategy.
"I won't characterize the new government in Quebec in any way until I've had a chance to speak to the premier. My view around the energy strategy is that it gives us an opportunity to grow the Canadian economy," Redford said.
"My sense is that was a very important issue in the election in Quebec and I hope to be able to explore those opportunities with her but I don't have anything else to say."Suggest a correction