Constitutional and PQ ambivalence

Jean Charest believes Marois should clarify the PQ's stance [Google translation] on the next referendum. Parizeau believes the PQ should have a clearer agenda on the next referendum.

Mr. Parizeau points to a public-opinion poll conducted last month by the Bloc Québécois showing that while the vast majority of Québécois (more than 70 per cent) want a new political arrangement with the rest of Canada, an equal number in the rest of the country refuse to bow to Québec's wishes. "This poll is a bombshell," Mr. Parizeau said. "The door is shut. Reforming federalism is gone."

Québec is like an unhappy employee with a decent job who's too scared to start his own business with all its pros and cons. Canada is like the employer of this unhappy employee. He recognizes the value of his contribution. He acknowledges this employee's particular need, when in private, but he's afraid to make them official because of what other employees might say.

Until one or the other makes a move, the bickering will continue.


adski said...

As expected, Marois refused to commit to a referendum.


Her political survival instinct is stronger than her nationalist inclination. And unlike Duceppe who wins seats regardless of what he says, Marois’s position is more complex and she can’t just blabber so freely.

However, there is no reason for being optimistic. The measures she proposed for a “step-wise independence” are scary enough.

“Un gouvernement péquiste rendrait la fréquentation d’un cégep français obligatoire pour les enfants de la loi 101, imposerait le français dans les garderies familiales, exigerait le rapatriement du programme fédéral d’assurance-emploi, et réclamerait une seule déclaration de revenus, qui serait traitée par le Québec. Une fois porté au pouvoir, le PQ demanderait aussi la compétence exclusive du Québec en matière de culture, de communication et de langue. Il entend en outre négocier un « espace fiscal » avec le gouvernement fédéral pour contrôler tout le financement de l’éducation et de la recherche.”

No mention of becoming “independent” of the equalization payments. I guess the federal money is money. It doesn’t stink like Canada.

And a cute bit towards the end.

“Mme Marois a tenté samedi matin de fouetter ses troupes après les déclarations de son prédécesseur Jacques Parizeau, qui a reproché aux souverainistes d’être trop obsédés à vouloir gouverner une province plutôt qu’à préparer l’indépendance.”

Parizeau reproached the PQ for being “too obsessed with governing”. I guess “governing” is not so important after all. I mean why govern? The government is not supposed to do that, does it?

I rest my case.

Michel Bolduc said...

... and the bickering will continue.

adski said...

The sad truth about Quebec is that the bickering will continue no matter what because of the way this society is polarized and divided, not only along political lines (PQ vs. PLQ, federalists vs. separatists), ethnic lines (pure laine vs. Anglos + Ethnics), but also geographical lines - the gap between Montreal and the regions is enormous – mentally, culturally, and linguistically.

The point of separation is to make 3 million of people (who don’t feel at home in Canada) feel at home in their independent Quebec. Such move would ironically leave another 3 million stuck in the borders of Quebec not feeling at home in the new country of Quebec. These people would be inevitably be pushing for partition, so the separation drama would not be even close to over. And the split in Quebec will always be 50-50, because even an indirect referendum question (like the one in 1995) that refuses to mention “independence” and drones on about formal offers made (without admitting that these offers have not been ruled on by Canada) would yield no more than 50+1%, essentially leaving half of the population deceived and frustrated.

The sad thing about Quebec is that in order to make everyone here feel “at home”, this province would have to be carved up and down with partition. And essentially leave Montreal Est and the regions to make up the nouveaux pays francophone de l’Amerique du Nord.

With a low birth rate and 50,000 immigrants a year settling in Montreal, the Francophone nation in North America will never go beyond what it currently is. Regardless of whether Quebec is de facto independent (as it is now in the Canadian federation that divulges a lot of powers to provinces), or officially independent with a seat in the UN. The strategic importance of Quebec is too low for this place to ever matter significantly. And if you can't even get your own immigrants to care, how will you get the rest of the world to care?

Michel Bolduc said...

A constitutional reform is another way to stop the bickering.

Networked_Gestalt_Intellect said...

A constitutional reform would require that both parties be willing to engage with one another and be incentivized to address one another's issues.

At the present time, do such political incentives exist in both Quebec and in the ROC? If this is not the case for just one of the parties involved, constitutional reform seems like a highly unlikely possibility.

Michel Bolduc said...

Exactly... and the bickering will continue.

James said...
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Michel Bolduc said...

English-speakers tend to leave Québec for other provinces, but the opposite is also true; French-speakers from other provinces tend to come to Québec. Still, even with the highest birthrate in the country, Québec's relative weight is bound to decline. The trends making it more French and other provinces more English are well in place.

You're always surprised at the obsession in Québec with the constitution. The constitution having been patriated without the province's consent, Meech having been rejected and Charlottetown having been rejected by the West are strong symbols. Perhaps, you're right in implying that constitutional reform wouldn't change much in reality, but it wouldn't leave much room to the sovereignty movement which has been filling this particular void quite remarkably.

Dare I repeat myself?... the bickering will continue.

adski said...

The bickering will continue only in Quebec. Canada will not bicker about anything. Canada will carry on as it always did – by paying absolutely no attention to Quebec.

James said...
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Michel Bolduc said...


True... but to be more precise... Canadians will continue to complain about Québec's bickering.

Michel Bolduc said...


The highest birthrate in the country is not even enough to ensure population growth.

Why would the sovereignty movement suddenly disappear just because some sort of accommodation was made in the constitution for Québec you ask? The consensus in Québec is that the constitutional status quo is unacceptable. Those who currently support sovereignty due to lack of another alternative would support a constitutional reform. Why do you think Gilles Duceppe and Pauline Marois don't want this?

About the separatists wanting to destroy Canada... I wish those who believe this had more faith in their country. Québec isn't the only reason why this country exists. It must be terrible to think otherwise.