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Nobody cares about Quebec sovereignty

29 Jun

Source: National Post

Actually, Quebec wouldn’t be able to survive without the transfer payments that Alberta and Ontario feed into them on a constant basis. Quebec has become a “I want everything, but I don’t want to pay”-province, and as such they must embrace “massive painful budget cuts”.

  • They pay 17% of the actual cost of their University tuition. After the 48% increase to be implemented over 5 years, they will still be paying LESS THAN HALF of what I paid

  • We subsidize their daycare, they pay 5$/day for it

^Start video at 0:33, to see the effects of “massive painful budget cuts” in Quebec.

(h/t truthdotell)

  • We are fed up with endlessly funding the transfer payments from English Canada.

  • We don’t want their self-indulgent, spoiled, childish, ‘entitled’, student “protesters”.

  • We don’t want their violent Black Block, anarchist, babies.

  • We don’t want their immature, and treasonous, “Separatiste”, politicians.

  • We don’t want their racist French language laws anywhere outside Quebec.

  • We don’t want a Quebec francophone-controlled, discriminatory, federal so-called “CANADIAN” public service.

  • We don’t want anything to do with them.

Gordon Beck/Postmedia News files

Back in 1969, when six members of a young comedy troupe were mulling names for their new show on the BBC, the title Whither Canada? was suggested by one of the group.

Wisely, the name was ditched it in favour of Monty Python’s Flying Circus (while retaining it as the title of the first episode of the first series).

The initial attraction was, presumably, its absurdity – what could be of less interest than domestic Canadian politics and the constant French-English bickering?

John Ivison: Michael Ignatieff has a point about Quebec separation

Ignatieff backs off prediction Quebec will become independent

Mark Bourrie: Three words that give separatists hope

Graeme Hamilton: PQ promises to study the merits of sovereignty, again

Andrew Coyne: From Scotland, lessons on separatism

René Levesque had just been elected first leader of the newly formed Parti Québécois and Quebec was convulsed by disputes over language laws that culminated in Mr. Leveseque’s Bill 101 in 1977.

The internecine squabbles may have seemed absurd to those beyond Canada’s shores but they were treated with deadly seriousness within the country. The threat of separation has long resulted in more than reasonable accommodation for Quebec.

Even before Confederation, George Brown complained: “What has French Canadianism been denied? Nothing. It bars all it dislikes – it extorts all its demands and it grows insolent over its victories.”

With an economically ascendant Quebec, there was a sense that the country needed the province to prosper. During the 1995 referendum campaign, there was strong support for keeping Quebec in Confederation, culminating in unity rallies funded by corporate Canada.

But that was then. Has there ever been a time when Canadians outside Quebec have ever been more ambivalent about the possibility of the province separating? Unlikely, according to a new Ipsos Reid poll released Thursday, which suggests almost half (49%) of Canadians living outside Quebec agree they “don’t really care if Quebec separates.”

The same number agreed “it’s not really a big deal” if the province leaves Canada.

The Ipsos poll suggests Quebec support for sovereignty is higher than it was in 1999 (38% against 30%) but is lower than its high of 47% in 1990.

But in the rest of Canada, opinion has hardened dramatically. A strong majority (57%) outside the province does not think there should be a political or economic association with an independent Quebec – a dramatic shift from the 66% who were in favour of a continuing association in a similar poll 20 years ago.

Perhaps the most worrying development is the 27% of Albertans who said they would support their province separating from Canada to create their own country (albeit from a small sample size).

This is the political manifestation of Canada’s emerging two-track economy.

National unity is not seen as being in jeopardy – and even if it is, who cares? Or so the thinking appears to go.

The West is on the rise and sees the East, particularly Quebec, as a burden.

The changing nature of international trade means that 70% of the population now lives in “have not” provinces, which require ever growing inter-governmental transfers to maintain comparable levels of health and education services at comparable levels of taxation.

The less strident, more defensive brand of nationalism on display in Quebec these days reflects this shift in economic power. The PQ may win the pending provincial election, due as early as late summer, but that is more reflective of distaste with the government of Jean Charest.

It also suggests the sovereigntist grievances in the province have been salved to some degree by Stephen Harper’s decentralized view of Confederation, which has seen the federal government retreat from many areas of Quebec life.

“The edge has come off it,” said Darrell Bricker, chief executive of Ipsos Reid. “It’s not seen as a 21st century debate.”

Yet the Ipsos poll suggests that, even if the demands of the initiator of the break-up are less vocal, a turning point may have been reached that makes the uncoupling inevitable.

Being partners has not been a major component of the Quebec identity for a long time, but it seems that it no longer matters to an increasing number of Canadians’ sense of self.

Michael Ignatieff, the former Liberal leader, got into some hot water recently when he said that Canada and Quebec are effectively two separate countries, with little to say to one another. “There’s a kind of contract of mutual indifference, which is very striking for someone of my generation,” he said.

His observation that Quebec independence is the logical outcome of the current disenchantment does not seem far-fetched. One day, there will be a government in Alberta that resolves enough is enough, when it comes to the ever-increasing demands from the eastern provinces for equalization payments. At that point, those Quebecers who are only in Canada for what they can get out of it may decide it’s time to go it alone.

When that day comes, the contract between Canada and Quebec will, in the immortal words of the Dead Parrot sketch, cease to be, expire and go to meet its maker.

Whither Canada indeed?

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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Canada

 

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