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An Independent Quebec......Why?
Is it a case of cutting off your province to spite your country?
Have you seen the television programme that doesn’t believe in moving into another house, but would rather move the house to another location? Massive Moves, is the name of the programme, and in it, homes are moved over bridges, through cities, and over lakes. Soon, these same movers may have a gargantuan job to do; they may have to move a Canadian Province across an ocean.
The Province in question is Quebec, and if its citizens vote for separation, Pauline Marois, may just get in touch with Massive Moves to see if the company can squeeze the province out through the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and across the Atlantic, into the Bay of Biscay, and snuggle up to France’s west coast. Being 3 times the size of France, it would look ungainly at first, but it would reduce the width of the Atlantic Ocean by a respectable amount.
Pauline Marois, the Premier of Quebec and a leader of the Parti Quebecois, has one goal in mind – to detach Quebec from Canada.
The question is –why?
Marois says it is in order to protect the customs and traditions of the Province, and the French language – that will be the French language that apparently nobody in France can understand. The Province already has its own customs, language and traditions. The remainder of the nation doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to steal the language or the customs. After all, why would Canada steal a language, when the other official language, English, can convey the same information in fewer words?
But, flippancy aside, the reason for her desire to protect the French language is obvious. Quebec has migrants from almost 80 differing ethnic origins, and they aren't all members of La Francophonie. However, there are lots of French speaking Canadians in other Provinces and Territories but there is no sign of them seeking separation. Why does Marois think that splitting the country up will help to solve her non-French speaking (allophone) migrant problem?
The use of the French language in home surroundings is declining, as is the use of English. And, according to Wikipaedia after the two official languages, the most spoken languages are Arabic, Spanish, and Italian. The Quebec premier needs to accept the future.
Neither Quebec, nor Canada itself, is the nation of the pioneering bridge building, railroad laying, lumberjacks, anymore. It will soon be time for the opening line in the anthem that reads ‘O Canada! Our home and native land!’ to be replaced by ‘O Canada! Our home and migrant land!’
The Have-Not Province
At the moment Quebec, which is listed as a ‘have-not’ Province, receives $7.833 billion, yearly from the Federal government as an ‘equalisation’ payment. (Part of that equalisation handout makes sure that university student fees in Quebec are the lowest in Canada.) The other Territories and Provinces get slightly pissed off when those same students stage rallies and demonstrations demanding even lower fees. This desire to look a gift horse in the mouth puzzles many people.
Quebec has had different names in the past. It has been known as 'Lower Canada' as it is lower down the St. Lawrence River (nearer the mouth), Canada East, New France and Canada. Quebec is the largest Province in Canada at around 600,000 square miles, and has a population of nearly 8 million. 82% of Quebec's population are French speakers.
If the votes go Pauline Marois’s way, it will leave a gaping hole in Canada, stretching from the Hudson Bay in the north, to the St. Lawrence River and the USA in the south.
Some writers suggest that Quebec will be landlocked, and could never survive if any trade sanctions were imposed, but the Province has access to the Hudson Bay, and straddles the St Lawrence River, all the way to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Instead of Quebec being landlocked, it would be the four Provinces to the West of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta that would be landlocked, although Ontario and Manitoba would also have access to the Hudson Bay.
If Quebec did separate from Canada, it would be quite capable of looking after itself, with its own energy resources and its industrial depth, and as we have seen lately at Sochi, it can hold its own in the winter Olympics.
Can Canada survive without Quebec – can Quebec survive without Canada?
Nearer the election next year, the scene will be reminiscent of the 1980’s and 90’s when Parti Quebecois was very close to winning the vote for a separate Quebec. During those times, a dear friend, who was born in Quebec, decided to move across the border into Ontario, like 17,000 other French speaking Quebecers, just in case. She took up residence in Hawkesbury, just over the border. She could not get her head around the idea of splitting up the country. As she said -
'In this age of multiracial co-operation and multilingualism, it is crazy to make up separate countries. We should all be coming closer, not getting further away. And don’t they realise that if it is possible to split up a country, it is just as easy to split up a Province. What’s going to happen in Quebec if different counties with different beliefs decided to separate? Will Quebec have language wars?’
On the way to the gold medal of separatism, the Quebec Premier is not averse to making side trips, such as making sure that every bilingual commercial sign in Quebec must have French first and larger. And lately, there have been lots of incidents where shops and businesses have been warned that their signs shouldn’t have any English at all – this in bilingual Canada? Any driver will tell you that finding a road sign in Quebec that is in English, is next to impossible; the best thing to do when driving through Quebec, is to memorize the highway numbers or make sure you have a working GPS. Considering that the Bilingual card was played to keep Quebec happy, none of this makes sense. According to Wikipaedia, the official language in Quebec is French.
Another one of Marois’ side trips is her new charter, which will prevent anyone from wearing a visible religious symbol at work, so there goes the Cross, Turban, Niqab, and Kippah. These little side jaunts sew dissent and disagreement across the land, and make wonderful smokescreens for her primary goal of independence.
Separation - Will anybody notice, or care?
Should separation happen, what will it mean for the rest of Canada – will it notice? Will the rest of world notice, and if it does, will it care?
One part of Canada that will notice is Ontario, historically known as ‘Upper Canada’ as it was further up the St. Lawrence - nearer the source. The Ontario estate agents nearest the Quebec border will be rubbing their hands in monetary glee, as the price of homes will likely quadruple, due to the demand from fleeing Quebecers.
Already, Cornwall, the most Easterly city in Ontario, with a population of 47,000, is taking steps - again, just in case. Cornwall is a stones throw away from Quebec, Akwesasne and the United States, and now that the new, low-level bridge across the St. Lawrence to the States is open, that stone may as well be a pebble.
A number of Cornwall’s eminent citizens have been conducting a feasibility study with regard to building a university in the city – a French university. The town council agreed to the feasibility study, and the council are also contemplating a major advertising blitz to tempt disgruntled Francophones from Quebec
Bilingual? I don't think so.
If Quebec separates, Canada will be split East/West. To drive to New Brunswick, Labrador & Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia from the West will mean having to drive through a separated Quebec, and possibly needing passports. The alternative route would be into the USA through New York State, Vermont and Maine, and definitely needing passports.
The St Lawrence would also be within Quebec, so boating from Ontario to the mouth of the St. Lawrence, would mean sailing through Quebec.
Commerce will save a helluva lot of money; they will only need to print Quebec labels in French, instead of printing labels in English and French for the whole country. With the present farcical bilingual laws, every government hand-out has to be written in English and French; that will change. The only people who are liable to suffer are printers, but the man and woman in the street will breathe a sigh of relief at not having to turn cans around to see what the heck they are buying, or fold hand-outs round and around to find a language they can understand.
Not much else will change, apart from Quebec having to open embassies or consulates in the other Canadian provinces and territories. It will also have to open up embassies in the 80 countries, from whence its citizens came. Quebec will very kindly allow its citizens to use Canadian currency and in a munificent gesture will consent to Canada’s Army, Navy (yes, Canada has a navy) and Air Force to continue defending the Province.
There is the problem of naming this new country; will it revert to New France, the original name given to it by Jacques Cartier in 1534, or perhaps it will look to the future and be named Maroisland?
When and if Quebec does become independent, it won’t take long for new language laws to come into force. The laws will probably prevent anyone who isn't fluent in French, from entering the new country, and you can guarantee that anyone who already lives there and cannot speak French will be booted out, especially if they wear religious symbols.
The next law will be to declare possession of the skies above, and make it unlawful for any passengers in aircraft flying overhead to speak any other language except French. And, there could be language police in every aircraft, to enforce the law.
The biggest problem Quebec and Pauline Marois is going to have re the border crossing, will be convincing Canada Geese (bernache du canada) to honk in French as they do a V flyover.