Monday, January 09, 2006

Monday night’s vanilla debate was expectably disappointing, full of hot air and stuffy with rhetoric. But one issue debated stands out in its redundancy and that is the continued discussion of whether Quebec will or will not choose to separate.

That issue is nothing more than a political ping-pong ball, being essentially weightless and without significant mass. It can be violently battered about and can impact any of the players without ever doing any significant damage.

I have lived in Quebec, am fluently bilingual and speak unaccented French. I lived in Montreal during the Oui-Non campaign and passed myself off as une Quebecoise for the entire two and a half years I lived in the province.

I am absolutely sympathetic to why the Quebecois are so disenfranchised, the reasons for which became patently obvious in very short order while I was there.

The reality is that a referendum on separation will not succeed in Quebec now or at any time in the future for three reasons.

One is a question of simple demographics. The majority of people of voting age in Quebec have children, jobs and a mortgage, all of which require continued economic stability.

Secondly, there is a large First Nations population in Quebec that enjoys significant benefits by being part of Canada. What's more, with Oka and other skirmishes as examples, it is not likely that members of First Nations would fare well in a sovereign Quebec.

Finally, there is a large immigrant population in Quebec, as lamented by Jacques Parizeau at the last referendum. Those people came to Canada the country, not to Quebec the potential nation.

Without anything to export other than a distinct culture and language and really excellent food, which amount to the groundwork for an excellent tourist trade, Quebec cannot survive as a country on its own.

Even the vocal separatist minority in Quebec must agree that if being part of a multicultural Canada poses problems, being assimilated into the great U.S. melting pot would be the death of the culture and language entirely.

That assimilation, however undesirable, would be inevitable baring a lot of crow-eating in the vein of “Please let us come home.”

What is more worthy of debate is why a provincial party that does not want to lead the country and fields no candidates outside its provincial boundaries, despite French communities across the country, is even participating in a national election.

The questions that should be asked are “Mr. Duceppe, why is your party even participating in a national election?” and “Why are we still talking about this?”

Monday’s debate left Canadians with nothing more on their hands than the stink of a rotting red herring.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You are welcome to leave your comments on the SUBJECT here; personal attacks and insults will be deleted.

Please feel free to discuss the issues. The stability or mental health of the blog writer is not considered a discussion issue....