07.14.2012 08:49 AM

In tomorrow’s Sun: whither Quebec goest, so goest Canada

It haunts us still.

The Quebec question, that is. With Quebec Liberals now edging ahead of separatist Parti Quebecois rivals — by a whopping single digit, according to a June poll by the Leger agency — Premier Jean Charest is now considering pulling the plug and calling an election for Sept. 4.

What if he loses? What does it mean for Quebecois, and the rest of Canada?

For Charest, the rationale for going now is plain. The global economy is in serious decline once again, and all of Canada will inevitably be hurt by that. The lead that PQ leader Pauline Marois once enjoyed has evaporated. The fledgling Coalition Avenir Quebec party hasn’t caught on yet.

And, for some Quebec Liberals, they figure it is better to go now (when things aren’t so bad) than to go later (when things are likely to be worse).

Maybe. Perhaps. But what if that political shorthand is wrong?


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    Vankleek Hill says:

    Sorry Warren. If your partner threatens to walk out on you too many times, eventually you’re going to stop begging them not too. Especially, if they’re taking a good chunk of your hard-earned paycheque. Don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out.

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    Mario Lavoie says:

    Just saying this. Wheter you care about Quebec is your opinion. But Mr. Kinsella is right about one thing. With another difficult economic time agead of us, the break-up of Canada will mean a period of economic instability, political instability and will have a stong impact on our country.

    Madam Marois said in the past that she was forecasting five years of chaos..

    Now, your choice.

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    Houland Wolfe says:

    Welcome to the world of political science fiction. Should Quebec go, Ontario would move immediately to a free trade zone with Quebec, ensuring access to the St. Lawrence seaway. Alberta and other Prairie provinces would join the U.S., B.C. would form its own country, leaving the Atlantic provinces orphaned, perhaps as a residual Canada. Whoever said breaking up is hard to do, should join in the fun of speculation.

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    Michael Bussiere says:

    There is one significant difference this time: The Clarity Act. It is a clear expression of international law and all parties, especially Mr. Harper, are obliged by it.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      With respect, well yes and no. It’s a clear expression of Canadian law as adopted by a particular Parliament. A successive government can modify it or scrap it entirely. It has no constitutional status. Those of us in Quebec who happen to be federalists mostly agree with the sovereignists — all it takes in the world of real politik is 50% + 1. No federal government would attempt to enforce what the act and supreme court have stipulated because everyone knows that would mean a bloodbath in Quebec and no sane individual wants that.

      However, in the final analysis, the point is moot because sovereignists can’t win a referendum unless Quebecers somehow become completely alienated from their federal government and their English-speaking compatriots. Theoretically, that could happen, but is not likely. From the various perspectives across the land we can say that Canada has “survived” both Trudeau, Lévesque (and now Harper) and is likely to be intact long after I’m but an afterthought buried under six feet of earth.

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        Michael says:

        I think the real issue with regards to a referendum and The Clarity Act would be the nature of the question, not necessarily the % of the win. The Clarity Act stipulates that the question asked must be free of ambiguity.

        If a future referendum contradicted the Clarity Act it the provincial government would have a hard time getting international recognition.

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          Ronald O'Dowd says:

          Michael (2),

          Let’s theoretically argue this one all around just for the hell of it. First of all, I would contend that a sovereignist government would want quick and legitimate recognition so it would defeat its own purpose by deliberately putting forward anything other than a clear question. Secondly, even with a clear question, the PQ is not about to hold a referendum (as we all well know) without those famous so-called winning conditions. Finally, and now I’m really into the realm of speculation, even with the vaguest and most misleading question conceivable, I would expect the usual suspects, namely The Francophonie, to quickly fall into line and offer recognition. However, I will concede that I’m really spitballing on this point.

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      JamesHalifax says:

      I don’t think you will have much argument by Harper with regards to the Clarity Act……….he’s actally the guy who designed it.

      Stephane Dion is just the guy getting the credit.

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    Terry says:

    Support for independence is at 32% among Quebec youth, we’re not going anywhere …


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    Bill says:

    It’s strange to think people here feel Quebec is holding Canada together. Quebec is a taker, not a giver. Canada will be strong and free regardless of what Quebec decides, which eventually will be independence. I hope to be alive when they finally make this decision. They can pay for nearly free tuition and day care. This is why Canada finally elected someone from the west, Canada no longer cares what Quebec thinks. You can now be PM without Quebec’s vote. I will love Canada just the same without Quebec. I do hope we can keep this great country together, but I don’t see this being possible in the long term.

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      smelter rat says:

      Enjoy your time with Harper, because it is going to be short lived. He’s the best thing to happen to the left in decades.

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        Ronald O'Dowd says:

        smelter rat,

        I will go you one further: someone has to eventually address First Nations Self-Government along with getting Quebec’s signature on the 1982 constitution. I’ve had conversations with a few federal politicians who are willing to take those twin bulls by the horns but strangely enough, none of those people happen to be named Harper. It takes guts to move beyond habitual mediocrity in politics.

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    Dan says:

    Quebec makes Conservatives go crazy. Mostly because it’s 25% of the country that will never go Conservative. Look at how eager they are to call them freeloaders, socialists, terrorists. Pretty much every single attack they’ve launched at anyone who disagrees with them. Funny how that has a way of banding those who disagree with Conservatives together in common cause.

    Harper won’t be in power come 2015.

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      JamesHalifax says:

      Dan….Quebec is a freeloader.

      Quebecers are the most socialist…

      And Quebecer’s have resorted to terrorism in the past.

      It’s not eagerness that causes Conservatives to complain about those attributes…it’s Quebec’s own history. Conservatives are just pointing it out.

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        Ronald O'Dowd says:


        Rather broad brush painting again. If you’re going to call Quebec a freeloader, at least pass along the same compliment to the other provinces presently receiving equalization. We are hardly the only one.

        As for the terrorist charge, that was a network of cells which was not even representative of the views of the people of Quebec. Never has been and never will be.

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          JamesHalifax says:

          True Ronald…my bad. It’s just that Quebec is the most vocal province, with the most number of ingrates. We can afford to support PEI and Nova Scotia…they’re tiny.

          Feeding Quebec and providing for the social programs they have…is a lot more expensive.

          When Nova Scotia and PEI start their own “free” daycare’s and top up the public sector unions to the same extent as Quebec….I’ll make a snide comment. Oh…and Nova Scotia and PEI also need to slap the hands that provide the largesse.

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            Ronald O'Dowd says:


            You can truly be quite amusing when you want to be. For the moment, let’s just take it one step at a time and see if Charest is returned to office. If he isn’t, we can dissect why. In the interim, you won’t see me shitting on any given province or territory. Last time I checked, we were all at least nominally Canadians.

            But like it or not, what passes for co-operative federalism in 2012 is going to have to change especially if we are to twart sovereignist ambitions. It’s one thing to sit on one ‘s contented ass for thirty years but quite another to do the same IF the PQ is in power. Not a smart political strategy, doing zip, or if you prefer, business as usual.

            Keeping this country together takes work. Too many people seem to be tone deaf to that.

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            JamesHalifax says:

            Ronald, I do try to be amusing for the most part, but I think you missed my point.

            I don’t think Quebecer’s have much of a choice in who governs them, as the Liberals are hopelessly courrupted and shouldn’t be trusted to run a kool-aid stand let alone a province. After all, what do the Liberals currently do? Well, they spend money they don’t have in order to keep the populace happy, and then blame the Feds and the ROC when they don’t have money to pay the bills. If the PQ get inot power, they too will be corrupted as frankly, Quebec has been governed by various parties over time, but controlled by organized crime throughout. That’s my point. Who do you vote for? The PQ, who want to seperate, or the LIbs who want to line their pockets? There is a new party, but a new face won’t change the fact that Quebec is the most corrupted Province in Canada. I actually feel sorry for Quebecers. They don’t have any good choices to choose from, but must instead cast their votes for someone they think is the least corrupted, or the least incompetent.

            If polls are to be believed, it’s clear that the rest of Canada has had about enough of it…and wouldn’t really care if quebec did leave. It would certainly mean more money in our own pockets, as well as the end of the ridiculours multi-lingual mirage that is bi-lingualism. In some parts of the country, you can find far more Chinese or hindi than French. If Quebec leaves…two birds with one stone. Increase the level of competency in Canada as a whole, a large reduction in corruption of the country as a whole…..and an end to handouts to a populace who takes with one hand and slaps you with another. Good riddance I’d say.

            (Of course, the new borders of Quebec would need to agreed to in such a way that I could still drive home to Halifax on occassion)

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    Tiger says:

    Quebec isn’t leaving.

    Even if it did, Canada is a huge country. We’d probably have to carve up Ontario into smaller units, so as not to unbalance the federation, but we’d survive.

    But we won’t have to, because Quebec isn’t leaving. The Canadian federation works. The constitution could use a tweak or two, but even without those, it works. In practice, if perhaps not in theory.

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    JamesHalifax says:

    If Quebec choose to seperate, we wouldn’t be talking about how to carve up Ontario…..we’d be in discussion to carve up Quebec and creating the new borders. Quebec didn’t join Canada with all that territory…that was the price we paid to get their agreement to join. I think the top 60% of Quebec would be in question, as I doubt the first nations folks who live there would want to be subjugated by the “pure laine” and their rules.

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    JamesHalifax says:

    Ron, the Quebecer’s who join the military are of a different cloth than the Quebecers who demand more free stuff. No one joins the military because they are looking for personal benefit, or a way to get rich.

    The story about getting decked was funny, though I’m sure it wasn’t funny to the deck-ee.

    As for cutting down the protestors……..I’m sure that didn’t help English-French relations too much.

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