What the budget means for Quebec


 

blamecanadaBudget day brought mostly bad news for the province: The cap on equalization stayed in, the boost in EI benefits was meagre, and the feds said they would forge ahead with a national securities regulator. Granted, there was some cash doled out to the forestry sector and Quebec will benefit from some of programs to shore up manufacturing. But the real winner at the end of budget day is Ontario. Whereas Quebec was once the object of Ottawa’s affection, Dalton “small man of Confederation” McGuinty (a.k.a. Premier Dad) is finally getting a bit of love from the Tories.

What it means in the short term is that Ontario’s name will likely be added just below Ottawa’s on Quebec’s hit-list. The budget is an implicit declaration that not Quebec is where the Conservatives expect to make gains in the near future and that Quebec, unlike Ontario, should expect to have to fend for itself for the better part of the recession (or however long the Harper government hangs on). As a result, Jean Charest won’t be inclined pull the Captain Canada suit out from the furthest recesses of his closet any time soon. In fact, the backlash has already begun.

Exhibit ACharest’s reaction to the budget and the cap on equalization:

Beyond the numbers, there’s an important principle at play here […]: How does the federal system work? Does it work in a unilateral fashion or in a federal fashion?

Exhibit BFinance Minister Monique Jérome-Forget’s reaction to the budget:

If Mr. Harper has dumped Quebec, that’s too bad for him because he’ll find himself in an election soon. Perhaps he’ll need the ridings he has in Quebec. As for us, we’ve done our homework, and we’ll keep pressing. […] You win some, you lose some. But we intend to keep pressing on our demands in order for the federal government to understand and for certain federal parties to understand.

Exhibit CPauline Marois’s reaction to the budget:

What we’ve surmised, in essence, is that federalism is profitable for Ontario and Alberta. That said, when the time comes to pay back the deficit, Quebec will be on the hook just like everyone else.

Exhibit D—Michel David’s column in yesterday’s Le Devoir:

Mr. McGuinty didn’t support the idea Ontario took home the jackpot at Quebec’s expense. According to him, the ties between the two provinces are so tight that whatever benefits one also benefits the other. That’s interesting. He’ll have to explain to us one day how the establishment of the Borden Line, the relocation of corporate headquarters to Toronto, the sale of the Montreal Stock Exchange and the rest benefited Quebec.

It’s true that the economic crisis is affecting every region of the country, including Ontario. But Mr. McGuinty’s exuberance was in sharp contrast to the chilly reaction of the Charest government’s spokespersons, even if Premier Charest was a bit more positive than Monique Jérôme-Forget, who had made very lucid political observations about the federal budget on Tuesday.

The finance minister, who knows something about numbers, saw very clearly that the 10 Quebec ridings the Conservatives had a tough time hanging onto don’t carry the weight of the 51 ridings they won in Ontario during last fall’s election.

Charest is going to find little incentive to back down on his demands. With the coalition all but dead, the Bloc will be looking for any battlehorse it can find and will encourage Charest to use his majority in the National Assembly to add to the list of grievances that make up the “Quebec consensus”; the PQ, as it always has been, will also be itching for a fight with Ottawa; and the cut in equalization payments from where they’d been expected to be allows the premier to pin the blame for a future deficit in the province on the feds. In short, what the budget means for Quebec is some relief for forestry and manufacturing, but it mostly means a ratchetting up of the tension between Quebec City, Ottawa and Toronto.


 

What the budget means for Quebec

  1. “Charest won’t be inclined pull the Captain Canada suit out from the furthest recesses of his closet any time soon.”

    It’s probably got mothballs on top of mothballs by now.

    • Actually, I think that Charest still wears the old Captain Canada suit… it’s just been patched over a bunch of fleurs-de-lys. He’s Captain Federalist now, and he’s found a way to make federalism extremely lucrative for his province.

  2. Hmm, Harper first bribes Quebec, then gets the back of Charest’s hand and scores no gains, then doesn’t help Quebec anymore. Funny.

    Quebec’s grievances have never been more boring.

  3. “He’ll have to explain to us one day how the establishment of the Borden Line, the relocation of corporate headquarters to Toronto, the sale of the Montreal Stock Exchange and the rest benefited Quebec”

    It didn’t, but the feds had nothing to do with that. Hold a few referendums to separate from Canada and the result is that corporate headquarters will relocate. Not to mention those higher taxes in Quebec. Give them reasons to leave and they’ll leave.

    • Can you explain what the Borden Line is?

      No Googling!

      • Is it kind of like the Maginot Line?

      • I googled it, so I won’t spoil the fun, but I hope someone explains it soon for everyone’s benefit.

        One thing I will say is that I find it fascinating that one can’t go five minutes without someone from Alberta kvetching about getting screwed over by the NEP, yet probably almost no one knows what this whole “Borden line” thing is (which is surprising, as Quebec is usually pretty good at kvetching too, though perhaps they realize that even if they were cheated out of something, it was something that was never REALLY gonna happen. There was no “there” there).

        The lesson seems to be, if you must screw over one province in favour of another, screw over Ontario. Until very recently, no one here ever complains about it. It’s that whole “Ontarians don’t think of themselves as Ontarians, they think of themselves as Canadians” thing. Personally, I’ve always liked that about us, which is why I was laughing reading about the Borden line for the first time, as opposed to fuming.

        • Can’t speak to the BL but over 15yrs of living in AB and loving it, still never adequately answered for me why AB is always pissed at the east. They seem to imbibe it with their mother’s milk. Certainly the NEP hurt them bad but they never seem to let it go, for some it’s like it happened yesterday. One thing i am sure of is the press has never passed up an opportunity to remind folks about the time that little French guy stole their future. Anyone who has lived through the klein yrs knows how cosy the relationship between the AB Cons and some elements of the press has been. Oh well all politics are local eh!
          Interesting side bar: the NEP ran for 6yrs, 3 of them under Mulroney.

          • For someone who has lived in Alberta for 15 years I have to ask. Do you get out much?
            NEP yes is not a distant memory for most. You obviously were here when farmers were thrown in jail for donating grain to an American 4h club. You were also here when Liberals made criminals of farmers with the long gun registry. You were also here last year when Liberals wanted to take money out of Alberta and give tax breaks to Quebec and Ontario.A few examples anyway.

            This is ingrained in the culture here for good reason.
            http://www.glenbow.org/exhibitions/online/libhtm/milch.htm
            kc you need to get out more…honestly.

          • This is for Daryl…

            for someone living on the edge of a vast prairie with a limitless vista, you sure seem to spend a lot of time staring at the mountains.

          • KC, obviously you haven’t actually asked Albertans why they’re pissed, because it’s easy to find out.

            And their numbers grow when you dismiss their complaints as fantasy. Hence the zero Liberals seats in Alberta.

          • I think he’s saying he’s lived for 15 years in Alberta. Probably had a chance to ask. How long have you lived in Alberta, sf, Mr. Alberta Expert?

          • Well, that surprises me that’s he’s lived there, cuz the few times I’ve discuessed the NEP with Westerners I’ve been dealt an earful of stories of hardship, lost jobs, lost homes, and so on. I think there is no doubt it caused a lot of hardship.

          • Daryl
            yes i lived through those times but in Edmonton where there’s a long tradition of thinking beyond AB good, everybody east of the peg evil commie easterners. looks like you fell for all that crap. Funnily enough i’ve worked outside all my life and have nothing but admiration for the average Albertan, whatever that is these days. The fact it’s Albertans like you who need to get out a bit more. Ever been east of Loyd Daryl?
            sf
            15yrs pretty well makes me an honorary Albertan. You should come out here sometime. you might be surprised how many people don’t think that the sun doesn’t shine out of the Tories ass!

      • Actually, I just skipped over that part. I’m from Quebec and I had never heard of it.

        And when you google, it takes a while to find anything about it. Even when you find out about it, it’s hard to imagine how Quebecers might be aggrieved by it.

        Anyway, apparently, in Diefenbaker’s time Canadians west of the Ottawa valley paid more for oil by buying it from Alberta while esterners paid lower prices, so this was the Borden line.

        It’s beyond me why the government insists on distorting markets all the time, favouring one group of people over another.

        • kc….
          I have to ask what would I find east of the peg? Would I experience some kind of epiphany and become part of the great washed Liberal. Would I suddenly see the light and say CWB good? I fail to see what your point is but please share with me what would happen if I went east of the peg.

          What I said has absolutly nothing to do with looking beyond Alberta and I do not think easterners are evil commies most are actually Conservative.But what exactly would I have fallen for? We are hypnotized out here or something thats why we are the way we are? Good greif! I am telling you puffins some easily googled reasons why Albertans dislike of Liberals goes beyond the NEP.(you asked) Why oh why does anything that pisses Albertans off fall on so many deaf ears? You and the rest of the Liberal puffins dismiss us in one breath and the next tell me how I need to be tolerant of the Bloc and call them soverigntists not separatists. Where’s the effort to tolerate and understand Alberta. There is none.

          That is why I find it funny when I read recently about the Count wooing Alberta. It simply is not possible for Liberals to overcome the mentality of Alberta and increasing extent westerners as being part of the great unwashed. Instead of moulding policy that passes the smell test Liberals find it much easier to ignore at best and inflame at worst. I mentioned two policies that would go over well in Alberta, ditch the gun registry, and stamp out the CWB. Can Liberals embrace that and work with Conservatives to get it done? If not, then you simply are not trying to understand. But by all means keep spending your energy finding new ways to understand Quebecors instead as they are much more likely to embrace Liberal policy.

          • daryl
            What would i find east of the peg? The world myfriend, the world. Yr problem is that you only see it in B/W, right or wrong; it’s no so simple, and i’m sure you know it .I for instance admired both Trudeau and Lougheed, go figure, i’m know i wasn’t the only one either. If you read what i actually said you wont find me saying NEP good. On this issue Lougheed was right and Trudeau wrong, it doesn’t follow that he was wrong about everything else he ever did. Unfortunately it was in AB’s political interest to believe that piece of illogic. You’re right that the west didn’t register for the libs because back then you only needed On/QB to get a majority, it’s the politics of our

          • Daryl
            sorry – crazy system. No more, hence Iggy’s move on AB. Whether you like it or not it will have some success, just as cons have some success in Q. Not everybody east of the Peg is a con, as i said life’s not so simple. As to the CWB i think many farmers in Sak still like it. But Ab’s like you always mean AB first when you say the West, and you can’t even see the irony vis a vis say Torontonians. Try and see that Albertans don’t think like one giant consevative puppet, I have a higher opinion of Ab’s IQ then you, maybe!

  4. As Quebec’s relative demographic weight within the federation dwindles, their influence in the federation will continue to slide. The big political prize for the moment in federal politics is unconstestingly Ontario.

    Quebec needs to get back in the game federally and start backing the federal parties. Once upon a time Quebecers used to be politically savvy. The arrival of Iggy on the scene is welcome in that with his arrival, the Liberals have a leader who will not genuflect to the Trudeau pan-Canadian vision. The arrival of Iggy exorcised both the Coalition and the Trudeau strong central government nonsense.

    Although the two principal federal leaders are not from Quebec, they are sympathetic to legitimate provincial aspirations.

    So it’s up to you Quebecers, do you want to get back in the federal political game or do you want to elect the professional whiners that make up the Bloc Quebecois.

    • Quebecers…Answer him!

    • jarrid
      You are entitled to yr own opinions but not as they say yr own facts. Where’s the evidence that Ignatieff has abandoned Trudeau’s vision of one Canada? I haven’t read anything approaching a formal refuting of Trudeau. Sure iggy wont be as confrontational, who could simply take them on as Trudeau did. And there’s no Rene Levesque on the horizon. It’s true that no-one could impose the kind of strong central govt that Trudeau did, but i don’t see any convincing evidence that most Canadians will settle for a confederation of shopping malls, as Trudeau once described the Tory vision of Canada.

      • Trudeau would be rolling in his grave if he could see that:

        1) the current leader of the Liberal Party of Canada championed the notion of Quebec as a nation;

        2) the former leader of the Liberal party entered into a coaltion supported by, and involving a permanent consulting mechanism with, the separatist Bloc Quebecois.

        Trudeau freaked out on Meech lake which was nothing compared to these two developments.

        The sooner the Trudeau vision is buried along with its founder, the better. Another reason why I like Iggy is that he recognizes Quebec’s distinctiveness but draws the line at governing with the separatists. Dion showed bad judgment on the latter point.

        Canadians share many values and those commonalities should be reinforced and built on, but the stifling uniformity of the Trudeau vision should be deep-sixed along with it’s already buried founder.

        • jarrid
          Of course there are differenced between Trudeau’s & Ignatiefs vision of Quebec’s place in confederation. It would be interesting to know how PET would see things now, times change, he would have too i imagine. On the nation deal he probably would have been freaked out too, arguing that it was unnecessary and cowardly to respond to a provocative motion by Duceppe in this manner. SH was being, as ever opportunistic and Iggy wasn’t thinking at all.
          Enough with the coalition = the devil crap, i’m sure yr retainer from the PMO has been cancelled by now.
          You may no have liked Trudeau’s brave attempt to urge this country to rise above it’s petty differences but obviously many other Canadians did.
          Meech lake was a hollow sham, born out of the hubris and miscalculation of one [ or 2? ] man – Trudeau was right to oppose it.
          I’m not sure if you’re slagging Iggy for supporting the Nation deal and at the same time praising him for recognizing Quebec’s destinctiveness, if you are then which is it? It can’t be both at once!

          • Pretty well any federal vision is better than the uniformity required of the Trudeau vision which only stoked Quebec nationalism. So I don’t fault Iggy for it, I think it’s stating the obvious and so I agree with him.
            Iggy gets Quebec nationalism more than any federal LIberal leader in modern times.

            Another reason why I like the man.

          • jarrid
            I can see you wer’n’t even around in the 80s. Trudeau stoked Q nationalism? Really!! You seriously need to look at why Pearson brought the ” 3 wise men” onto the fed scene. Trudeau didn’t invent separatisim, he was recruited to counter it. Whether he was too confrontational is still debated to this day. Most Candians of the day did not think so. But carry on with yr revisionist Jarrid knows best take on this turbulent period of our history. Just because you say it’s so doesn’t make it so!

          • I don’t have time to get into here but the Trudeau Liberals and the separatists in Quebec actually developped a perverse symbiotic relationship that helped them both thrive. When Parliament recognized Quebecers as forming a nation in a mere resolution, the polls dived for the BQ and the PQ.

            Quebec will only leave Canada if they feel threatened or pushed out by the rest of the country. Hence the dogged and unrelenting pursuit of the separatists of indicia of anything that shows that Quebec is “unwanted” or being “humiliated”.

            Demagoguery is a separatist specialty. They’re pros in that department because their political skins depend on it.

        • Jarri

          “the sooner the Trudeau vision is buried along with its founder, the better. Another reason why I like Iggy is that he recognizes Quebec’s distinctiveness but draws the line at governing with the separatists. Dion showed bad judgment on the latter point.”

          Really?

          Ignatieff defended the separatists, calling out Harper for singling them out. http://www.ledevoir.com/2009/01/15/227507.html

          So, Ignatieff went further than Dion in sucking up to the separatists. If you don’t like separatists, vote Harper.

          As for the nation thing, true Ignatieff did recognize the Quebec nation, but so did Harper. Neither of them wants to put Quebec’s distinctiveness into the Constitution. Until they back up what they say and put it into the Constiution, I don’t believe Harper or Ignatieff.

          That is why I am a separatist and vote PQ and BQ. Quebec needs to be a country.

          • In that case, so does Montreal.

          • “Ignatieff defended the separatists, calling out Harper for singling them out.”

            It’s called pandering Antonio and it sometimes works. I think that Harper and Ignatieff are two federal leaders who respect Quebec.

    • “So it’s up to you Quebecers, do you want to get back in the federal political game or do you want to elect the professional whiners that make up the Bloc Quebecois.”

      Jarrid

      I think Quebecers are doing pretty well for themselves electing BQ pols. It seems to me that our pols can’t stop pandering to Quebec so why would Quebecers change when they got a good thing going on.

      When you reward bad behaviour, don’t be surprised when you get more of it.

      • jwo – you’re right up to a point.

        But I do follow the Quebec media pundits and there is concern that the current political conjuncture in Ottawa doesn’t look promising for Quebec. (Vincent Marissal’s recent column in La Presse.) For starters this is the first time in 40 years that not one of the two governing parties has a Quebecer at the helm. The last time that happened was Pearson/Standfield in 1968.

        Ironically, the idea that the Bloc could actually participate in the governance of Canada through a coalition was a bit of coup for the separatists in that it gave the Bloc a political legitimacy in the rest of Canada that it never had [the main reason I thought that if was a very very dumb idea] but Iggy’s poured cold water on that nonsense. A coalition involving the Bloc would also have given Quebec more clout than they now have but Quebecers hopefully now understand that Canadians don’t want separatists deciding on how the nation is to be governed. Margaret Atwood, Stepane Dion, Jack Layton, Elizabeth May and even Iggy ,(to his discredit) and the rest of the Liberals thought the idea was just peachy but Canadian voters outside Quebec were rightfully outraged. Iggy can read polls.

        Until the culture demagoguery that was whipped up during the last election while the Conservatives stood around with their hands in their pockets, many thought that the Bloc’s days in Ottawa were numbered. Many, including Alain Dubuc in La Presse were calling for Quebec to get back in the Ottawa inner circle of power by re-engaging with the national federal parties.

        The death of the coalition will help that and it may do Quebecers some good to be on the outside looking in, if they know what’s good for them they’ll get back in the game. I do think they’ll get it soon enough.

        • It’s a much more socially useful exercise when the boys just talk to each other.

          Keep it up.

          Mommy will call you for supper.

          • A good cure for a hangover is onion soup, I suggest you give it a try.

        • Thanks for the response, Jarrid. I don’t follow Quebec media at all, except for the occasional link from Wells or national newswatch, so I don’t really have a sense what the talking heads are thinking.

          I believe it would be best for Quebec if they elected more BQ members which would make it even more difficult than it already is to get a majority government. There would be lots of minority governments with the BQ holding the balance of power. The goodies from Feds would never stop flowing.

        • It’s a much more socially useful exercise when the boys just talk to each other.

          Still, a parent can’t help being worried that they’re not getting enough fresh air and exercise…or exposure to actual evidence either.

          • Let’s see, Sisyphus comments at 1:33 with nothing substantive to say, Ti-guy follows up at 3:36 with similarly nothing substantive to add.

            What can we draw from this? Noam Chomsky hasn’t written anything noteworthy on Canada/Quebec politics.

      • When reform was stomping it’s little cloven hooves i didn’t hear Jarrid yelling for them to quit being professional whiners and get back into the game and vote for a sane federal party! Ah, but their complaints were legitimate, weren’t they?

        • kc – I don’t recall Reform advocating separation from the federation. Reform was a praiire populist party, they spring up periodically out west and sometimes, like the CCF-NDP, they stick around.

          I like Quebec and Quebecers but their act is getting a little tiresome these days, they don’t want to face reality on the economic front, they seem to expect that someone or something will come to bail them out of problems of their own making.

          Everything seems to be a little worse out there than anywhere else. For example, parents are fleeing the public schood system because it only churns out illiterates. I appreciate the same malaise affects schools eleswere but it’s worse there. They’re taxed to the max. They complain about immigrants but refuse to make babies. They expect immigrants to jig and fiddle, use the same swear words they do and are put off when the newcomers aren’t …. pure laines like them.

          Such are the problems and contradictions of modern day Quebec and I’m ony scratching the surface.

          • I’m not qualified to comment on the specifics of Q cultural malaise, but i do sympathize to the extent they’re a swimming in an ocean of N. America which is still largely anglo. My 15 yrs in AB allows me to comment on reform with a little more confidence. Yes they were part of a history of populist prairie protest movements. Many of them, in AB and BC were closet separatists. This concept is equally as loony as the Q version. Why? For pretty much the same reasons as in Q. Separation in either locallity would cause a mass exodus, both of people and economic assets. Proponents of AB separation rarely bother to consider if a huge chunk of the pop who are from elsewhere in Canada want to come along for the ride. Essentially, the problem for me boils down to my province or region first, my country 2nd; hence my regard for Trudeau’s take on the country. It needs tweaking, but i think in the hearts of many Canadians it remains valid.

          • “It needs tweaking, but i think in the hearts of many Canadians it remains valid.”

            I agree that there has to be a vision of what unites us as Canadians, and a fostering of that vision. And in that sense the Trudeau vision still attracts. But we don’t need a stifling unitormity, as in Alberta and Quebec have to aspire to the same things, they never will. We need to respect provincial jurisdictions, the federal state has served us well over the years. So I would qualify your sentence by adding the word “serious” between “needs” and “tweaking”.

          • Yes, I agree that uniformity does not breed unity.

            But it does help.

            However, I think Trudeau was wrong in the sense that you can’t force uniformity on people. Forcing uniformity breeds resentment. I don’t think there is much sense that product labels in BC must have French when in fact there are far more Chinese speakers around than French speakers. Similarly, telling Quebecers how to run their own show does not pay off. By the same token, the Quebec government is wrong telling people what to put on their signs.

            I think federalism and decentralization is always the way to go.

          • Jarrid

            ” like Quebec and Quebecers but their act is getting a little tiresome these days, they don’t want to face reality on the economic front, they seem to expect that someone or something will come to bail them out of problems of their own making.”

            Could you give examples of this so-called Quebec behavior. You accused separatists of demagoguery but YOU are the one doing the demagoguery.

            You make me sick.

          • “You make me sick.”

            Hey Tony, what’s the matter with you. Don’t blame me if you’re feeling ill. Although you are making my point that you Quebecers like to blame others for your problems.

            Look we disagree on the political issue. I think Quebec is better off within the federation, you don’t. Most Quebecers side with me on this issue. Yours is a distinctly minority viewpoint. The closest you got to a majority was when you had one of the most giflted orators that Quebec has produced: Lucien Bouchard who ratcheted up the demagoguery during the referendum. Even then you guys couldn’t close the deal.

            But this is my main point Antonio. Whether Quebec is part of Canada or not, the huge problems facing Quebec society will be the same. Quebec has lost its way, it is in a demographic downward spiral. A society that doesn’t make babies is doomed. To the extent it relies on immigration, it will become much like the rest of the country. The french language is a great thing, but it can’t save a culture that has chosen to die out. You want my friendly advice my separatist friend: go and make children and stop blaming the rest of Canada for your own inadequacies and insecurities. Quebec has all the tools it currently needs to thrive, that it doesn’t has nothing to do with “les maudits anglais.”

          • Jarrid,

            “Hey Tony, what’s the matter with you. Don’t blame me if you’re feeling ill. Although you are making my point that you Quebecers like to blame others for your problems.”

            What problems am I blaming others for instead of Quebec? All I have said is calling you out for your demagoguery. I dare you to go ahead and tell where did I say about “problems” that I am blaming others for. You are putting words in my mouth.

            “The closest you got to a majority was when you had one of the most giflted orators that Quebec has produced: Lucien Bouchard who ratcheted up the demagoguery during the referendum. Even then you guys couldn’t close the deal.”

            If you are going to accuse someone of demagoguery, then give an example of such demagoguery. Otherwise, YOU are doing the demagoguery. I can show examples of federalist demagoguery that convinced Quebecers to vote NO. For starters, the federalists promised to reform federation if the NO vote won in both referendums. Promised not kept. In fact, Trudeau went the exact opposite to what Quebec wanted in his Consitution talks and Chretien did nothing. The also tried to scare Quebecers that there will be a severe economic fallout if they voted YES, which is simply not true. That is demagoguery. Even Charest admitted that Quebec has the means to become an independent country.

            As for the majority, I recall a few years ago, sovereignty support was at 54%. During Meech Lake, supoort was above 70%. So, we have had majority support before and I am confident we will have it in the future.

            “You want my friendly advice my separatist friend: go and make children and stop blaming the rest of Canada for your own inadequacies and insecurities. Quebec has all the tools it currently needs to thrive, that it doesn’t has nothing to do with “les maudits anglais.””

            Quebec is enjoying a baby boom the past few years and the trend is continuing. Check your stats before you claim yourself as a expert on Quebec from federalist -hack newspapers like La Presse.

            I am not blaming Canada for Quebec’s problems, whatever they are. I think Quebec could be better off alone. Only in a separate country will Quebec have the freedom to set immigration, cultural, and social policies to create the society that Quebec wants without interference from the federal government.

            You want my advice my federalist not-so-friend: stop blaming Quebec for Canada’s problems.

          • Antonio, I concede that Canadians’ opposition to Meech Lake, fanned by Trudeau and his acolytes, which caused the defeat of the constitutional amendment, was bizarre. Meech Lake stated the obvious and the opposition to it in the rest of the country made no sense. Above all I blame this on the arrogance of the Liberal Party of Canada who think that only they know how to run things. Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chretien, Clyde Wells, Sharon Carstairs, Frank McKenna all contrbuted to its demise. They basically said that if Quebec was distinct then it was getting something that other provinces wouldn’t be getting. But distinct just means different than, not better than. But Trudeau wanted to impose his straight-jacket like uniform vision on the whole country without exceptions. And the Bloc was born… and you guys came within a whisker of prevailing in the referendum.

            Quebec’s legitimate aspirations were rebuffed with Meech I agree. But even without this consitutional amendment, which by the way I warmly supported, Quebec’s legititmate aspirations can and are met in the present constitutional structure. Those areas you mention, immigration, culture and social policies, Quebec has much control over already. The day Quebec’s legitimate aspirations cannnot be met within the current federal structure, it might make sense to go, but I don’t see any such problems today.

            I’ve read about the baby boomlet in Quebec and am heartened by it, I hope it does become a long-term trend because, as I say, that questions actually dwarfs the national question, in my view.

            As for examples of demagoguery, there is “l’embarras du choix” as the French like to say. Those piddly culture cuts which applied across the country and were normal department program cuts to weed out projects deemed expendable by the departments became, as usual “un attaque sur le Quebec.’ Everything that comes out of Duceppe’s mouth boils down to finding evidence of Quebec being stifled or hard done by etc… The man is outrageous, he’s an ideologue and I have no respect at all for him. I had respect for Levesque and Bouchard but the crew the PQ and the BQ currently have don’t inspire much confidence. I think we’ll be “concitoyens” for quite a long time Antonio and I like it that way.

            Quebec has all the tools it currently needs to thrive, it’s all up to Quebecers and I wish them well.

    • That is a good start in understanding Quebec. I hope the writer follows up with what they believe an independant Quebec would look like. In regards to social programs and finances.

      • Interesting to me is that it implies people tired of the dullard nostrums of conservative platitudes. But it’s one article at one time by one journalist. It may mean nothing.