T Nation

Quebec Independence?


#1

Any thoughts on this?

Ten years later, Quebec again flirts with independence Sat Oct 29, 5:42 PM ET

MONTREAL (AFP) - Ten years after a referendum failed to break up Canada, independence advocates of the French-speaking province of Quebec are vowing to try again to win their sovereignty.

With support for Quebec independence climbing as high as 56 percent this year, according to the polling firm CROP in Montreal, the Parti Quebecois, the principal force behind the separatist movement, hopes to quickly call another referendum if the party regains power in the next provincial election, expected in 2007.

All nine candidates hoping to lead the Parti Quebecois, which has been in opposition since 2003, have declared their support for a new referendum.

Ten years ago, on October 30, 1995, Quebec nationalists came within a hair of realizing their dream of independence when they captured 49.4 percent support in a vote to separate from Canada, versus 50.6 percent who favored preserving Canadian unity.

The two camps were only 54,000 votes apart.

That shot across Canada's bow came so close that the federal government immediately launched a campaign to woo back the hearts of Quebecers. But those efforts backfired and resulted in what some say is the biggest political scandal in Canadian history.

The rebel province was inundated with Canadian symbols such as its maple leaf flag, but the campaign was marred by allegations that advertising firms who received taxpayer money to promote federalism gave 100 million Canadian dollars (85 million dollars) in kickbacks to the Liberal Party.

"After 1995, instead of really reforming the country to satisfy Quebecers' desire for some autonomy, Canada spent vast sums of money to expunge Quebecers' identity," said Jean-Francois Lisee, a former advisor to Jacques Parizeau, the premiere of Quebec during the 1995 referendum.

Pundits say the rise in separatist sentiment is a direct result of the sponsorship scandal, whose consequences have not yet been fully felt as a judicial inquiry investigating the matter is set to report Tuesday.

The Parti Quebecois is now benefiting from the Liberal Party's declining popularity both in Ottawa and in Quebec, although the Liberals still control both the federal and provincial parliaments.

And even Quebec federalists do not hide their desire for more provincial autonomy.

"The challenge for federalist politicians today is to find a way to accommodate Quebec's unique character within the Canadian federation," said Quebec Liberal minister Benoit Pelletier.

Many of Quebec's 7.6 million people still feel uncomfortable as part of Canada, a country of 32 million mostly Anglophones who refuse, Quebecers say, to recognize their province as a distinct society with its roots in French culture.

Pro-independence sentiment has risen with the support of younger generations of Quebecers, while older generations who are often more sympathetic towards Canada are beginning to fade away, according to a recent study by sociologists Simon Langlois and Gilles Gagne of Laval University in Quebec.

Ironically, young Canadians outside Quebec are also emboldened by a sense of pride in their regions. Western Canadians, for example, have recently begun asserting their own growing political clout within the federation.

Elsie Lefebvre, 26, a Parti Quebecois member of the provincial legislative assembly, said her generation is motivated by a desire for their own country in order simply to have more control over their own destiny.

"For my generation, sovereignty is not anti-Canada, but pro-Quebec, in contrast to past campaigns," Lefebvre told AFP.

"Canada is a beautiful country, but it is not mine," she said.


#2

If Quebec wants to be independant then let them fight for it. Hundreds of years ago the French were defeated. We won, so Quebec is ours. They are just lucky we are so tolerant and we didn't force them to assimilate. This really pisses me off. Trudeau and Cretien were French Canadian, so what is their problem. Everything I buy is labeled with French. Every kid in Canada is FORCED to learn French. We got the guns so bring it Quebec.


#3

Paul,

I see you intend to keep up your streak of brillian commentary on political matters. Do you have any idea what any of this is about at all?

--

If Quebec really wants to separate I say let them. No matter how much control they feel they want, you can't change the realities of the world today.

Frankly, Quebec still wants to consider itself 1/2 of Canada, as it was when Canada was first formed. I'm afraid that will never happen. If they go, then we can stop sinking money into Quebec and pull out all of the federal programs located there.

I know Quebecois feel they are actually putting a lot of money into Canada and not getting enough out. I'm afraid that all provinces feel that way, so they might be surprised if they hop out that they aren't suddenly enriched in some way.

Finally, the writer doesn't sound all that local, so I'm not very sure of the accuracy of the comments. The writing seems a bit stilted, as if written by someone who isn't really from the area. The byline would suggest otherwise though, so I'm curious about that.

As has happened before on this type of topic, I'd really like to hear from people in Quebec on this issue. I'm not anti-Quebec and I would like them to stay in Canada, but the rest of Canada has to hear about and understand their real concerns if anything is to happen.

I fear that all the discontent is only expressed clearly internally, so that the rest of the country simply despises the repeated attempts to leave... and then they express themselves like the illustrious bunion above.

On a side note, I drove to Meech Lake and such via Gatineau Park just the other weekend. Nice area. Too bad past events in the region don't seem to have mended things.


#4

Well Bunyan, that was kinda dumb.

There were many attempts at assimilations but incompetence being what it is, the assimilation thing did't go thru all that well.

If we remember the last independance question, it was something akin : Would you agree, that Quebec enters talks of a Quebec-Canada partnership in the form of Souvreingty-Association.

Canada could always say no I guess. But I doubt that the notion of force be involved even though they had a prepared plan to enter Quebec and secure canadian properties.

Then again, we will see if the elected leader of the PQ will be sufficiently charismatic to galvanize eveyone. Still the problem that we have is that the poeple in question are mostly set in their ways and young enough to believe whatever their leaders say and not have the last minute shakes before going in the voting booth and realize that its too much and vote no.

Maybe It won't happen, you figure we have so many other problems to deal with before putting so many more on your sholders when you separate.

Ah, the line about not being anti-Canada and just being ant-Qu?bec is so much bulship.

Damn these separatists and their uneducated ass;)

AlexH


#5

This is horrible news, horrible.

What's gonna happen to Terrence and Phillip?

"Hey Quebec, pull my finger... AAAH HAH HAHAHAHA!!!"

Sounds like it's gonna take more than fart jokes (classic Canadian comedy) to save our fragile neighbor to the north.

Good luck, hockey fans. If you need anything, give us a call down here.

xoxo USA


#6

Being separated from morons like yourself would certainly make Quebec a much better place. The sad thing is that a lot of Canadians probably "think" (notice the sarcasm) exactly like you do. Then you wonder why Quebecers don't feel privileged to be part of your country?

So thank you for your tolerance and your willingness to not force us to assimilate (and for not pointing those big guns at us!!!). That was real big of you. Now go on with your enlightened self.


#7

This is seriously the stupidest thing that the Quebec people could dream up. If they became thier own country they would have the expense of creating their own national laws, reforming their court systems , everything. All of this for what? Why not just stay in Canada? Most canadians are proably proud of the fact that they could go to Quebec and bring home a chick that speaks french. Us Texans dont have that privelage. Canada itself would lose a large block of tax revenue and territory. Of course if this cesession happens at all i hope bush will welcome Quebec into the US :wink:

And for those criticising paul bunyan i think that he is pretty rash sometimes but i'll remind them that the civil war started b/c of states ceceding from the Union. So its not so ludicrous to consider. Thats all


#8

"Pundits say the rise in separatist sentiment is a direct result of the sponsorship scandal, whose consequences have not yet been fully felt as a judicial inquiry investigating the matter is set to report Tuesday"

I grew up in Montreal .Francaphone Quebec will always want to seperate.If the economy is good or bad ,it deosnt matter. It seems they are taught that seperation will lead to the promised land.
I ve known many Francophones who beleive that they were treated as bad as the natives.And therefore should receive the same compensation.

Its odd that Francophones in Quebec,act as if they ve been mistreated due to the fact that they are french. However when speaking to the french in Manitoba ( there are more than you think), they dont seem to think they; the french in manitoba, are treated poorly.
Im an anglosaxon.However , when I d visit or lived in other areas of Canada , I wasnt always treated well.From this experience , I think its save to say that French speaking Quebers arent treated well.

As mentioned , I ve visited and lived in other parts of Canada.The Quebec culture isnt that much different from canada.In my experience , every province is a little different. just like every state is a little different.


#9

Who cares if the author isnt local.He brings up alot of good points.
You bring up a very good point about how all provinces feel they are putting too much money into the government.
It seems that ,since Quebec is one of the older provinces and therefore been paying taxes longer , they seem to believe that they are owed something more. I think at one time the abestous mines in Quebec paid for Canada's development. (I could be wrong.)As a result Quebec , wants pay back and they arent getting it.


#10

You think Bush would welcome Quebec into the states?
At one point it was believed that the State of New York was reponsible for Quebec wanting to seperate. Some one claimed that NY put alot of money into the seperation campaigns.The main reason , was to have access to to quebecs water and hydro power.
However , none of this was ever proven

As for the laws , I dont think they change that many things. it would be more about the LANGUAGE LAWS

LOVE IT OR HATE IT , YOU GOT TO ADMIT ,QUEBEC HAS THE BEST LOOKING WOMEN!


#11

Thats why the Quebec people are raising this issue? B/c of language laws? Shouldnt that be easy to fix and I thought that they had everything printed in both languages anyway like paul bunyan said.

I think it would be a bad decision economically and politically b/c they wouldnt be part of a large strong country but merely doing their own thing.


#12

I think this is a realy interesting topic, but one that I don't know much about, other than generally.

But first of all, I had no idea the vote in 1995 was so close.

To the Canadians on the board - any thoughts on whether or not a province can legally secede under your nation's laws? I don't know the answer myself - I'll go try and learn a little bit but I would like a local perspective on this issue.

UPDATE: looks like the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled on the issue back in 1998. Is Paul Martin taking the same like as Chretien on this thing?


#13

Well ,one of the complaint was the fact that many of the American companies; such as blockbuster ,wal-mart ,starbucks have anglo names.Many of these companies wouldnt francosize their names.

A one point there was a rumor going around that the Quebec asked that these and other US companies put a " Le " or "La " in front.For example " Le Wal Mart"
I have no idea how true this is.

Another complaint was that govenrment workers
in Quebec had to be bilingual ,yet in other provinces ,only some of the goverment workers spoke french.I have no idea if this is true.However ,from what I ve seen ,this is true.

I few years ago ,I was told that most of the high paying/ un skilled jobs in Quebec had English only applications.
Id say that most unskilled high paying jobs are occupied by anglosaxons.I dont know if the reason is ethenic or because anglos seem to have higher education.
I ve noticed that French seem to be more blue collar /trade oriented

Years ago I was talking to some people who had just visited Montreal and I was told that alot of info wasnt in English. Its easy to see how this could really take away from the tourist economy.


#14

OFF TOPIC
Did you know that TEXAS has the right too seperate.


#15

The part about being purely about the language is not completely true.

Beside

1)the self-determination issues, which is basically a bunch a crap, you have

2)the language issue, which is more than just the use of laws but the real fear of losing the language while surrounded by 300 million anglophones. However, the problem is far much more internal than it is external, therefore there are the laws about stuff you read on your cereal box (its kinda good cause you can read it twice without getting bored 100 % Fresh Taste/ 100% Go?t Frais) and you can read in public places and to which schools can immigrants send their kids (french schools vs english schools)

3)in reality, it is about culture, which most separatists whill say is not true (Bringing up Culture in a 90% white population implies bringing ethnic stuff in the discussion and we can't have that can we). The basic feeling is why can't we go back in the days of yore when we were all french-speaking and happy, united in our folklore and all those nice things.

Personnaly, I wonder how long you can mantain a culture when you get some 27 000 immigrants every year out of a diminishing population of 6M and if you wanted to maintain the population at some mininal growth level you'd need some 80 000, which either immediately or after a couple of years, all end up in Montreal and where assimilation is sufficiently slow to allow for an increase in non-assimiliated immigrants.

So I ask myself how they will regain this ''Golden Age of Yore'' when walking down in some places of Montreal you ask yourselve : ''Hum, these turbans weren't here 5 years ago''.

Personnally I don't care all that much, no more than say Americans worry about South American immigrants.

But what is interesting is that beyond Montreal, there is basically no ethnic individuals. Examplified when one of my best friend (French of arab descent)came back to me to my hometown of some 50,000 people and told me: Heh, its kinda weird, people are looking at me as if they've never seen a ''tanned'' guy before.

Happily for most of the population of Quebec many wtay cloistered in their little towns and villages and don't know what's happening really in the big city (which basically represents a 1/3 of the population).

It is funny come to think of it, give it a decade or two and even if they get their independance, it won't really be ''their'' contry anymore!

AlexH,
Funny stuff...


#16

Your damn right we do. The only state that fought for its own independence.


#17

You have no idea how happy that would make so, so many people.


#18

Your jealosy is showing.

Texas seceding would make REAL Texans a lot happier than it would a bunch of Jersey faggots.


#19

When discussing Quebec separatism never forget what Jacques Parizeau (leader of the separatits at the time) said after they lost:

"We lost to money and the ethnic vote when three-fifths of what we are voted yes"

Coincidently 60% of quebec's francophones voted yes. Quebec separatists are nothing but two-bit race peddlers.


#20

If they got their Independance , one of the first things they'd do is either stop immigration or slow it down.
The second thing they'd do is kick out alot of immigrants.