Andrew Coyne: Lucien Bouchard or Jacques Parizeau?

Who’s more ‘realistic’ about sovereignty?


Amid the kerfuffle over Lucien Bouchard’s renunciation of the separatist “dream” — desirable, perhaps, but not achievable — spare a thought for Jacques Parizeau. Most PQ leaders wind up disillusioned and embittered like Bouchard, loathing the party they once led and heartily loathed in return. Pierre-Marc Johnson, Andre Boisclair, even René Lévesque himself: all eventually lost their passion for the cause, and were reviled for it by the faithful.

But not Parizeau. Fat Jack still holds to the old religion with undiminished fervor. Not for him Bouchard’s pessimism. In his latest book, La souveraineté du Québec: Hier, aujourd’hui et demain, Parizeau remains as resolute as ever that Quebec’s independence is only a matter of time. If Bouchard’s intervention has made trouble for the PQ leadership, seeming to suggest they might as well give up, Parizeau’s did much the same, by suggesting the battle was nearly won.

And yet, in a way, Parizeau was always the most realistic of the separatist leaders — the most “lucide,” if you will. Levesque thought there could be such a thing as sovereignty-association. Bouchard insisted on proposing an economic and political partnership with what remained of Canada. Parizeau rejected all such half-way houses, reasoning, rightly, that the rest of Canada would never agree to it. And while Bouchard and other PQ leaders may have believed that the terms of separation could be negotiated, like a trade treaty, only Parizeau understood that the thing could never be negotiated: it could only be achieved by a sharp and sudden rupture — a unilateral declaration of independence, followed by a series of lightning-quick manoeuvres, the whole to be effected within days. A revolution, in other words.

That was the plan in 1995, whatever the wording of the referendum question, and by however narrow a margin it might have passed. Some of what Parizeau had in mind, such as his scheme to throw the Quebec Pension Plan into the currency markets to avert a collapse of the dollar, he has been bold enough to share with us. Other measures, the highways that would have been blocked and so forth, are known only to insiders. Suffice to say we dodged a very nasty bullet.

It wouldn’t have worked, of course: even Parizeau was a fantasist, at bottom. His coup would likely have failed within weeks, if not days, as capital fled, banks collapsed, Quebec’s courts ruled the government’s actions unlawful, and the promised international recognition failed to materialize. Among the less unpleasant consequences.

But it had a damn sight more chance of succeeding than Bouchard-style negotiations, which would have gone straight to nowhere, there being no lawful entity to negotiate on the rest-of-Canada’s behalf, nor any means of constituting one. Had negotiations ever got under way, it would soon have become clear that every issue was a zero-sum game, where one side’s gain was the other side’s loss (the debt? the territory? the Habs?). And if by some miracle the negotiators had arrived at a deal, the constitutional amendments required to enact it would have had to be ratified by every province, most by referendum. Not. A. Chance.

But then, the entire enterprise would have been undermined from the start by a logical paradox. Quebec’s sole bargaining chip in the negotiations would have been the threat of unilateral separation. But if such a threat were hollow, as Quebec’s presence at the table suggested, what incentive would we have had to negotiate?

So it’s a little rich for Bouchard to be posing as the voice of reason in this debate — as it is for him to profess himself so lately distressed at the PQ’s intolerance. This was the leader, after all, who scolded Quebecers for being the “white race” that has the fewest babies, who demonized Jean Chretien as a vendu, and who upheld, first to last, separatism’s fundamental premise: that it is intolerable to have to share a country with the Other. Even the sainted Lévesque, whom Bouchard holds up as a beacon of tolerance next to the current yobs, was not above pointing to Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s middle name to suggest where his true loyalties lay.

It’s possible, in sum, to measure who’s the more tolerant separatist, just as it’s possible to grade them on a scale of realism. But is it really worth the effort?


Andrew Coyne: Lucien Bouchard or Jacques Parizeau?

  1. Even the sainted Lévesque, whom Bouchard holds up as a beacon of tolerance next to the current yobs, was not above pointing to Pierre Elliott Trudeau's middle name to suggest where his true loyalties lay.

    Ah yes, the "Ell-i-aught" slurs. I remember that.

    I will repress my urge to ask "why do we even tolerate this in a proud country like Canada?" but then perhaps I could answer my own question.

    Keep bringing the goods, Coyne. This is why they pay you the medium-sized bucks. :P

    • "why do we even tolerate this in a proud country like Canada?"

      For the same reason we tolerate the Separatists out West: Democracy.

      • You're too late; I already answered my own question. :)

      • Of course! It was democracy all along!

        Nice try conflating the two. No sale.

  2. The Quebec "separatist movement" (note quotation marks) has always been the most pathetic, and the most incoherent, separatist movement in the history of the planet. There are lots of reasons for this, but one big reason is this: what other separatist movement does not even have the guts to publicly and proudly declare itself a separatist movement, for fear that it will scare away support?

    This in turn arises from the fact that Quebec's nationalist aspirations have, in many respects, been accommodated within Canada. The rest of Canada has essentially killed the hard-core separatist movement with kindness. These are the things underlying the tension within the separatist movement that Coyne is writing about.

    • "The rest of Canada has essentially killed the hard-core separatist movement with kindness."


      Ok so… Only an ROCer would say something like that.

      If you really want to know the truth, ask a Quebecer. While I can't speak for everyone, I know that a good number of people were influenced (or appeased) by the presence of the Bloc in Ottawa.

      • And having the Bloc represent them in Ottawa means Quebec has effectively dealt itself out of any say at the federal level, so it wasn't a very bright move.

        • "Quebec has effectively dealt itself out of any say at the federal level"

          You are joking, right? Didn't you get the memo? Quebec is more powerful than ever, especially in a minority government.

      • Sorry PolJunkie, I party misstated myself there. I shouldn't have said "killed", because I know what you're getting at. What I really meant was that because of the accommodations that Canada has made with Quebec over the years, including since the Quiet Revolution, etc., the overall number of HARD-core separatists has been kept to a statistical minority of Quebeckers. Had we been less accommodating (e.g., the Sri Lankan or Indonesian/Timorian model), it's quite likely that the average Quebecker would today feel more "oppressed" and the number of hard-core separatists in Quebec would be well north of 50% of population. I'm well aware of the fact that there are a significant number of true hard-core Quebec separatists, and always will be.

    • I actually agree with your analysis that a tolerant attitude on the part of the Canadian government (and not so much from ordinary Canadians who can be quite petty and hateful towards Quebec…especially the father away they actually live from Quebec) has helped contain separatism.

      However before we congratulate ourselves on our great tolerance keep in mind that Quebec nationalists have played the game relatively honourably as well: they've pursued their goal peacefully and democratically (with a few very minor exceptions). Not too many separatist movements can make the same claim. Parizeau's gambit would have betrayed that spirit which is why it would have failed.

      Also your contempt for the separatist movement is misplaced (and I suspect says more about you than the movement). I think of the separatist movement – and, more broadly-speaingy, modern-day Quebec nationalism, as a kind of adolescence. The Québecois had been kept in a kind of artificial childhood by the Catholic church. When that grip loosened in the 1960s then the Québecois started forcefully asserting themselves as a nation. Sometimes it may have gone too far – the same way an adolescent will rebel against his/her parents as way of starting to carve out his/her own identity – but it was a necessary step in the evolution of Quebec society. Now French-speaking Quebecers have a very comparable standard of living as the English-speaking minority in the province and they exercise political power commensurate with their share of the population. Would this have happened without separatism? Perhaps but certainly not as quickly.

      • Anon Liberal, just to be clear, I don't have contempt for the Quebec separatist movement because they're separatists. I have absolutely no problem with someone being a Quebec separatist (or any other kind of separatist) — PROVIDED that they are honest, forthright and up-front about what they are. What I find utterly pathetic about the Quebec separatist movement is their utter lack of guts, forthrightness and honesty when dealing with their own population. The fact that they refuse to call themselves separatists, for fear that that will scare away popular support. What could be more pathetic and weasally than that? Do you recall the exact wording of the ballot questions in the 1980 and 1995 referenda? Do you call that honest, straightforward? It was the most weasally wording anyone could have possibly come up with. Even Parizeau, the supposed "straight-shooter" of the separatist movement, is complicit in this crap.

    • O.B. is right. The presence of the Bloc in Ottawa is because of the tolerance and kindness of the ROC.

      • "O.B. is right. The presence of the Bloc in Ottawa is because of the tolerance and kindness of the ROC. "

        And..you know…because Quebecers elected them.

  3. I shudder to think of what would have happened had the separatists ever been competent at any point.

    • I wouldn't sell them too short.

      Consider Quebec society, culture and politics pre 1960. A backward, governed by a vile church state amalgam, poor. The left and quebec nationalists managed an almost bloodless revolution, an overthrow in every sense of the word of a regime. To wean the population of their devotion to the Church, something was needed to replace it. The nationalist movement was towards a utopian socialism. The nationalist movement made politics pro and anti nation, moving the debate away from the left/right schisms of elsewhere.

      Coyne speaks of the difference between Bouchard and Parizeau. Bouchard comes from the Saguenay, as close to a distinct society that can be seen anywhere in Canada. But ultimately practical, not idealistic or intellectual in its roots. Bouchard is recognizing the reality for what it is, and sees that the PQ is not talking the language of his region. Not any more.

      The difference was illustrated a couple of elections ago, when the BQ lost some seats to the Conservatives. One of the Saguenay riding candidates, on seeing the numbers going sour, started bashing Alberta. Everyone in that area had an uncle, cousin, father, someone, who went west to work, either in the harvests in past years, or the oil patch more recently. That candidate lost. It was an interesting illustration of the divide between the city intellectual PQ and the one that Bouchard led that spoke to the people in a language they understood and liked.


      • you make some good points but it wasn't the `left and quebec nationalists' that did that revolution. it was the middle of the road and federalist Quebec Liberal Party. the Union Nationale was more nationalist than Jean Lesage was

  4. Oh Quebec can still separate, it just won't be for the reason the PQ are promoting.

    You can't base a revolutionary movement or separatism, on the basis of 'pur laine.' Because far too many people…aren't.

    It would be like asking Russians to overthrow their govt for the sake of the Czars.

  5. The negotiating body for the rest of Canada would almost certainly been the other provinces and the Federal government, the way meetings are held to change the constitution in other times. It would almost certainly have been unsuccessful, but as long as they were held in good faith, an important thing would have been accomplished – the separation would no longer be legal under Canadian law. Since the separation was already illegal internationally, the entire affair would be shown to be illegitimate (one of the very few countries in the world to allow for separation of a portion would have gone through the process and found it wanting). And that would be very important in what is possibly the most important area – would France recognize and independent Quebec?

    • Although at the time Coyne is talking about, Re:Secession hadn't been decided, so I guess the author's point could be valid.

  6. "Fat Jack"

    Was that really necessary Coyne? I bet you wouldn't be so cavalier about childish insults like this if the target was someone with more clout than a retired separatist.

    • i agree. Parizeau was one of the wiliest cats out there and his Mike Duffy tendencies are a silly way to spice up a weak, narrowly focused Coyne column.
      My high school history teacher in Mtl, bitter at Parizeau for his freezing teachers' salaries in the early 80s as finance minister, had a better epithet for him — `President Parizeau' which cuts a bit closer to the darker side of the man.. reminiscent of what Conrad Black said about him, that Parizeau's fantasy was to be taken to a 3-course lunch in a government limo with Quebec flags flying from the corners

      • To me, the most telling thing that Parizeau ever said (and the most telling thing about the Quebec separatist movement) was his comment about throwing lobsters into the boiling pot of water, etc. Essentially, Parizeau was admitting that in order to get Quebeckers to agree to separate, you essentially had to con them into voting yes. This is the fundamental problem that the Quebec separatist movement has within Canada — the number of Quebeckers who are actually hard-core separatists is a statistical minority. A substantial statistical minority, but still a statistical minority. So the separatist movement has to devote all this energy trying to win over the mushy Quebec nationalist middle, but right away, once you're engaged in that process, you're essentially not talking about full-on separation anymore. You're talking about "partnership" and "sovereignty-association" and all that other crap. And this is why, ultimately, we have people like Marois, Bouchard, Parizeau et al. squabbling about stuff like this.

        • Come on. You're not serious. There is no such thing as complete separation in today's world. When Ontario needs extra electricity it gets it from Quebec through a connecting grid. In the European Union the member countries are politically independent, but still have a common parliament in Brussels and most of them adopted Euro as the common currency. So, please spare me your "full-on separation". In 1995, about 60% of francophone Quebecers voted for independence. The problem was and always will be the others – their "money and ethnic vote" as Parizeau said after the narrow defeat. And this appears to me an insurmountable problem.

          • Re your 60% of Francophone Quebeckers comment: that's basically an admission on your part that the Quebec separatist movement is an ethnically based nationalist movement. And yet that's what the whole separatist-sovereigntist crowd constantly denies, whenever it's put to them that it's really a Francophone-ethnic-pure-laine-Quebecker movement. This is yet another reason why the movement is utterly incoherent and riven with contradictions. They're constantly trying to suck and blow and the same time. And it shows.

          • All nationalist movements are based on ethnic nationalism. The disintegration of the Soviet Union and of Yugoslavia was according to ethnic boundaries of the various people living there. Quebec will become independent when not 60% but 80% or 90% of francophone Quebecers will decide to vote for sovereignty. The vast majority of "the others" will always be against it.

          • I don't disagree with anything you've said there. But why is it that, when Quebec's sovereigntist leaders are asked whether their movement is an ethnic nationalist movement, they deny that and say that they're representing the interests of "all Quebecers". Why are they so dishonest about this? This is why I have no time for these people. They're dishonest, dissembling weasels.

          • Come on. They are simply being politically correct and practically correct when they say they represent the interests of "all Quebecers", because those who always say and vote "no" to independence say themselves that they are first and foremost "Canadian" not "Quebecers".

          • I see. So people who live in Quebec and consider themselves first and foremost Canadian aren't real Quebecers?

          • You got it.

          • Res ipsa loquitur.

  7. One of the reasons Parizeau gave for becoming a separatist was being told to 'speak white' while on a trip across Canada.

  8. "But it had a damn sight more chance of succeeding than Bouchard-style negotiations, which would have gone straight to nowhere, there being no lawful entity to negotiate on the rest-of-Canada's behalf, nor any means of constituting one"

    It seems i'm always the slow one here. Since the 95 fiasco and given the subsequent SC ruling on the ref/sep issue, what has changed? Is there now a legal framework for separation and or negotiation with somebody on the ROC's behalf? This seems an odd statement AC.

  9. U sure he wasn't talking about the poem?

  10. I'm not so sure that that Bouchard's or Parizeau's plans had no chance of succeeding. To just take the example of constituional approval: if there was an agreement, international recognition would be much more likely, and it would not be halted even if Alberta, British Columbia and Nova Scotia refused to consent to it. When Austria-Hungary, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union fell apart, who cared whether all the proper constituional procedures were followed? Nor is negotiating with the Rest of Canada such a problem. Canada still has a parliament, and the Liberals in 1995 still had a clear majority, a majority that would still exist whether the Bloc or all of Quebec's MPs left. Some Reform Party MPs might argue that Chretien or Martin had no right to negotiate for the rest of the country. But since the Liberal caucus is not likely to reject BOTH of them, who cares what they think?

    • Very well said. How does Coyne imagine the country would have been put back together after a UDI, after the road closures, flight of capital, riots, etc.? Would Quebeckers have looked up from the ruins and said, "Well now, I prefer square one"? It's rather smug to say the least to proclaim after the fact that legalities and procedural difficulties would have frozen or reversed a revolutionary scenario. At least one requires a parallel, and none springs to mind. The fact is that Canada in 1995 came within a hair's breadth of ceasing to exist.

  11. 'Even the sainted Lévesque, whom Bouchard holds up as a beacon of tolerance next to the current yobs, was not above pointing to Pierre Elliott Trudeau's middle name to suggest where his true loyalties lay"

    We must be grateful for small mercies. It was Levesque's intemperate remarks that spurred Trudeau on to make the remarkable speech that did a great deal to sway the 1980 referendum.

  12. Trilium, I think you got the story wrong. "Speak White" is a poem written in the 60s by Michele Lalonde.

    • Maybe so, but Parizeau took a train to Banff in 1967…he boarded as a federalist, and deboarded as a separatist.

  13. Re-hashing out the old combats of the past is fun (especially mocking Jacques Parizeau), but beside the point. Something is happening in Quebec. Bouchard has spoken out on this, and now, for a reason. Why? To what end? What does it mean for the PQ? The Bloc? Quebec in confederation? Please we're dying for some journalism out here!

    I have two memories of Lucien Bouchard. The first was when I lived on Vancouver Island and Bouchard was the Environment Minister in the Mulroney Government. There had been an oil spill along the coast and Bouchard was out to see. There he was on this BC beach in his rubber boots looking at oily seabirds with the expression of "why do I care about this?" on his face. Revealing.

    The second memory was during the 1998 Ice Storm and he was Premier of Quebec. He was at a press conference where it was being explained that all but one hydro line supplying the City of Montreal was down and if that one line failed, the entire city would be without power in the dead of winter. It was close to an utter disaster and the expression on Bouchard's face was one of horror and near despair. I think any thought that Quebec would be better off independent went out of his mind at that moment.

  14. LOL only to vote yay or nay on a confidence motion. To do something for the province….pffft!

    • Oh I think that it's a little more complex than that. Given the size of the Bloc in the Commons, the other can only make gains by eating into the Bloc. In order to eat into the Bloc, they have to court the Quebec vote. Why else would a Reformer get up in the House of Commons and declare Quebec a nation?

      • the point is that they have proven themselves UNABLE to eat much into the Bloc vote given the stubbornness of the bloc voter (outside "bleu" areas of eastern quebec and a few montreal suburbs) and those voters' disinterest in driving the Liberal party bus. Therefore the focus of national parties becomes how to please areas where the voters ARE up for grabs, i.e. Southern Ontario, the Maritimes and the BC lower mainland. I don't think Harper minds this in the slightest. The Libs will never get those Bloc seats anytime soon, while best case Tory outcome in Quebec is maybe 25 seats, meaning he will never have the entire weight of the province's hopes on his shoulders and have Quebec's concerns control the destiny of his party and his decisionmaking, with dangerously tense results, the way Mulroney did. The You're out to lunch. Quebec drove the bus in Canada from 1960-93 (to the nation's great detriment). But it now has less power than it ever did and unless its birth rates recover or they find oil in the Gulf of St Lawrence, its power will shrink every year. Quebec-as-a-nation was a surprise from an ex reformer but ultimately a bit irrelevant. Real power is imposing the NEP or being able to tax the oilsands to subsidize quebec hydro and industry.

  15. Mr Coyne

    What would you think would have happened to the francophone minorities in ROC in the "unthinkable" would have occurred?
    And what would have m Parizeau's real reaction would have been. (Not the "Made for TV" reaction)

  16. Quebec has huge problems to contend with as Bouchard says.

    Two of the main ones is a low birthrate and an education system which is failing Quebecers. The Quebec high-school drop out rate is both sad and scandalous.

    Bottom line: they're too weak to separate and form their own country.

    • Also Quebec could be a perfectly viable as an independent state.

      • The way I see it, it is Canada who would suffer a serious economic setback if Quebec separated.

        • Oh come now, the loss of the most generous transfer payment scheme in Canada would have been (and would be) devastating to Quebec. Plus, there would be the expenses of building a national government (including a defense force) and the slow process of becoming a nation with legitimacy in the eyes of business and allied nations would also put Quebec into a tailspin of poverty.

          I mean, Quebec is the most coddled province in confederation. Sure we'd be pretty screwed if Quebec separated too (such as instantly assuming their portion of the debt and being cut off from our maritime eastern provinces and Newfoundland) but to suggest that we'd come out of the separation worse off than Quebec is laughable.

      • It could be indeed. There are plenty of resources, land area, population and infrastructure.

        However, the fact that Quebec is too culturally, economically and militarily weak to be their own state is still correct. Quebecers aren't willing to sacrifice their standard of living to achieve their dream. The only reason that they think separation could work at all is because the average person in Quebec has no idea how much money comes from the Federal government.

  17. Does anyone know how much of the Quebec budget is covered by transfers from Ottawa? Have the separtists ever talked about how they planned to make up the shortfall post-separation?

    • a) sell the remaining anglos to white slavers

      b) invade Prince Edward Island and hold it hostage until Alberta starts sending some of those sweet sweet petro dollars again.

  18. If things post-UDI had gotten ugly would Quebecers have had it in them to man the barricades and risk their lives for the sake of Parizeau's presidential limo and a seat at the UN? How many of them employed by the federal government would bet their jobs on a Parizeau run crapshoot? Were they downtrodden, impoverished, disenfranchised, oppressed? No, Quebecers were prosperous, enjoyed full citizenship and voting rights and had been running Canada for almost 30 years. Not much to complain about was there?

  19. Running Canada a truism. Whatever became of 72% of the people Anglephone and 28% Fracophone and the ruling masses control the day? Quebec has indeed enjoyed princley status among us and should be made aware how lucky they are to have such a kingdom

  20. Orval is correct. Quebec has been changing significantly for quite some time now. It's all well and good to recount Bouchard's statements and what might have happened if Parizeau had his way, but there must also be very good reasons why Bouchard made his comments and why only now. Perhaps some journalistic insight into the political and social context surrounding the comments might be useful.

  21. observer, I just told you.

    The Parti Québécois keep being beaten, because it inspire no one anymore. It's too centrist, it have nothing to offer. So there is tensions from both the Right (Bouchard) and the Left (Parizeau). Unofficially the PQ is leftist, but there is many within that are much more on the right side of the fence. So, the party remain boringly Far-Centrist, pleasing no one in particular while trying to please everyone. The same thing can be said about the Democrats in the US and the Liberal Party of Canada.

    The Liberals of Québec and the Parti Québécois are now so similar that people just throw a coin, since it's the same damn thing.

  22. Sad story. Do you remember that when Québec had to join Canada, it had no debt. The debt came when it had to eat up the debt of the rest of Canada.- Ontario – Yes, as I said, sad story. Any way, why should you care? Were are only Québecers and you hate us and yet you do not want to release us. Only when we plan to separate do you love us. Sad story again.

    • Is that misplaced frustration? Perhaps you should be directing your anger at Bouchard?

      • No, it is really not misplaced.

        In all history of nationalism and separatism, it is clear there is two parties involved.

        The way he said it is shared my plenty. Why should we accept and take it. If you’d only go around reading comments on CanWest medias… and even on those very pages, or all the way to the Globe & Mail. We can take a few stabs and critics, it’s fine, we’re thick skinned, but be serious, just because we’re whites doesn’t mean you can be senselessly heinous.

        The National Post and Maclean could be portrayed that way: They are Québécois Separatist news medias. Why? Because that is exactly what this is about. They encourage what they think they mindfully oppose, clumsily very often as only a revisionist can. So much ignorance and intolerance is draining through this mindless propaganda, forever repeated. We know what you’re saying and that’s the oil that keep getting thrown on the open fire. French-Catholics were always in favor of having their own country in this Continent. That is true since 1763 with Pontiac, before the US even existed. It just won’t ever change, we’re very stubborn. But don’t worry, as Bouchard said, it won’t happen. So stop kicking on that old horse, it’s already dead.

        We are very confused as he is, because his point was about intolerance. It’s obvious to anyone who’s not wearing blindfolds that massive immigration to Québec, mixed up with low fertility rate, will have been the last blow. So they say the PQ is not as it use to be because it is somehow intolerant… about Burqas!!! That’s right, that’s what he blame the current leader of the party of doing. Not being totally cool with fanatical Islam. So you bet nothing will change.

        It’s funny, because after WW2, one of the French collaborationist that found his way to Québec made this hilariously misguided prediction. What did this person predict just after the war? That Canada would return to France because the French were having so much more babies than the English. Guess he forgot we had two centuries to “return ourselves” to mother France, making tremendous amount of kids because it was a sin not to. Of course, the guy was also from l’Action Française, so that would be a Catholic-Monarchist Imperialist France.

        He was so wrong, but that’s also the whole problem.
        -Hey, let’s make a country brother?
        -Ok, why not, let’s start this by stopping to have kids for a few generations?
        -Sound good! I’m already on the pill and it’s too expensive to have kids anyway, I don’t have time, I’ve got a mortgage, a career to think about and my rental is nearly due… and that cruise I’ll be taking next month, common!
        -Oh, it’s fine, I’m already sterile anyway. I’ve ate too many tuna sandwiches.
        -Let’s make-out…

        It’s a bit like everywhere else that forgot to have kids (Europe, Japan, Russia, etc), including the rest of Canada. Now, there is a real prospect, with the way things are going, that it won’t be so long before we become the second minority group of Canada, after Chinese. The way you think so little about us already, what will it be then? Shut up Frenchies, it’s the Mandarin Party of Canada that have the floor now. What then, you won’t have “won”, we won’t have “lost”, it just will be a new country arising from the ashes of what once was. Maybe it will be better, who knows really? It will be an easier out for you, cause at least the language won’t change and you won’t become a folkloric entity.

        It’s just not really a big deal anymore, cause the ROC and Québec have the same problem… and it isn’t each others so much. It’s that the Brits and French that built this country have destroyed their demographic so much that there isn’t a clear sign it will belong to either of them in the long run. Canada had a huge Navy 65 years ago, now it have Free Health Care, that was a nice program, we can stand proud. We did it!

    • Dear Margo:
      We do not hate you, nor your province! Plenty of Canadians (the vast majority of us) want Quebec in Canada; we want to keep Quebec an integral part of the nation for a variety of good reasons. Indeed, I am one of legion who admire the French Canadian spirit and culture; Quebec is clearly a 'distinct society' within Canada and that's a big part of what makes Canada the unique and wonderful nation it is! Indeed, my favourite city in the country is Quebec City – I just love it there – it's like a piece of Europe in North America! All Canadians are truly blessed – it's time we all realised that!

      Of course, there is never a shortage of loudmouth Canadians who make stupid statements, and get attention, but these same unreasonable loudmouths can be found in Quebec also…and happily, they dont represent the majority in either case! These people are fools who make their idiotic comments without ever considering how separation would seriously damage one of the very best nations in the world. I can never understand why some Quebecois want to separate and others in our country would welcome it. I guess it must be something in the nature of fools and their foolish ideas that the majority of us just dont get…I hope it always remains so. Embrace our beautiful and distinct country (tous ensemble) and you'll be alot happier going forward.

      • Dear RFS: If I were in a marriage, and my spouse kept constantly whining about how our marriage was no good, I was no good, how she'd be much better off if she separated from me, and she kept threatening to leave, but never quite did, what would my logical and understandable response be, if I had any self-respect at all?

        Answer: tell her to take a hike.

        Think about it.

    • No, not true. I hate you all the time! Please, do separate….good riddance to bad rubbish!

  23. Today there is no real interest in Quebec for independence. However, fracophone Quebec is becoming more and more marginalized within Canada. Soon its influence within the Federal Government will further diminsh when Ontario and the West will get more deputies through repartition.

    At one point, Quebec will have to decide whether it wants to be a Louisiana within Canada or an independent nation. A true decision will be made then.

  24. Who cares anymore if Quebec separates?
    Quebecers; probably so they can suck the rest of the country dry as has been since the Trudeau years. Billions $$ in transfers.
    The shift in power is moving west for the forseeable future and hopefully as the the west gains this strenght economically and politically…then the Quebec voting and belly aching will be ignored by Ontario and the real majority in Canada.
    Good Luck to all my fellow Canadians including Quebec;

  25. Coyne is pretty good at stirring up atavistic feelings. His oh so moderate opinions are usually tinged with a bias against Quebec and all things Québécois but he is disccrete and almost subliminal about it and always uses polite parlour language. When his one-sidedness provokes some poor yob into defending Quebec, often in very emotive and provocative ways, the counter reactions from the yobbery that is Coyne's real audience, come out of the woodwork and things get said that Coyne will deny agreeing with but somehow always encourages. He really is a master and that's why, as someone said earlier, he gets paid the medium sized- bucks.

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