The Parti Quebecois is celebrating a return to power in the province of Quebec after nine years in opposition! Led by Pauline Marois, many Quebeckers have high hopes of a separation referendum in the near future.
If she does put that proposal to the people, I hope she is a little more honest than former leader Jacques Parizeau was in 1995 on the implementation of the vote and his information to the people about what the results of a Yes vote would mean.
The separatists, at that time, ordered all aircraft of Canada within Quebec to become the Nation of Quebec's property. They ordered all Canadian forces on military bases to change allegiance to Canada to allegiance to Quebec! They anticipated that an airline (or any other corporation) with head offices in Quebec, would become the property of Quebec.
The Quebec people were allowed to believe many ideas that did not anticipate a backlash from English Canada against the breakaway province;
That they would continue to travel on Canadian passports. That they would continue to receive transfer payments from the rich provinces of Canada into Quebec coffers. That their jobs in Ottawa would just go on as if nothing had happened. That they would continue to sell their wares throughout Canada as preferred goods without duties. That they would still send MPs to a Canadian Parliament in Ottawa to participate in and have a voice in Canadian affairs. That Canadian dollars would be the currency of Quebec. And that the French Language would continue to be the equal of English within Canada and be mandatory in Yellowknife.
The people of that province were led to believe that it would be business as usual with the Canadian government.
Some suspect that the Prime Minister of Canada in 1995, Jean Chretien, a Quebecker himself, was tacitly agreeing to the sovereignty of Quebec by his less than enthusiastic support of Canada and decidedly feeble influences in the debate in order to become known as the 'Father of Quebec'. When he could someday tell those French Nationals that he allowed the process to cement the future of the new nation..
Canadian aboriginals were firmly against coming under the rule of Quebec too, the Grand Council of Crees, voted 96.3% to stay in Canada. And if the separation vote succeeded, would consider their territories as part of Canada, not Quebec. And if Quebec could secede, then so could the Cree.
So now we have Madame Marois, elected as Prime Minister of Quebec, who will lead their 'National Assembly' into another separation vote.
But perhaps this time the playing field is a little more balanced. No one expects Stephen Harper to remain quiet if and when that vote does come up.
This time all Canadian Military will likely be ordered to duties away from Quebec long before any vote. Assets from Canada will be removed. One would also expect that the people would soon need Quebec passports and Visas to continue working in Canada. And their employment would of course be transferred to Canadian citizens who can do the job over hiring foreigners. Any negotiations with Canada would now proceed without having a Quebecker on both sides of the table!
International consequences would be that Quebec would no longer be represented in Canadian Embassies worldwide.
It remains to be seen what the reaction of America might be.
Too harsh? Maybe, maybe not, but the balance of power would immediately shift to the Western provinces, whose people have voiced that they are fed up with the French Canadian hand permanently in their pockets. And the worry of the sitting government over catering to those cast-in-concrete Quebec seats will be over.Canada could go to a fair and equitable participation in it's democracy.
So will the separation vote come sooner or later? It is always great to play the sovereignty issue with Quebec voters, but sooner or later, Pauline Marois will have to put her money where her mouth is.
I hope I can be on the early voters list. Because I am sending in my YES vote now. Enough is enough. The world is moving too fast for us to baby a retrograde province in our midst.
So Quebec, please go, look after yourself for a change. Maybe you can form an alliance with the US. Or perhaps France will give you passports. Or Haiti, they like French! Strike out on your own, go for it!
Whatever, good luck and bon chance! I'm off to collect a French language sign as a collectors' item of a bygone era.
Maybe something like demi-tour autorisé, fitting, don't you think?