Quebec sovereignty on the front burner again

Flag_Map_of_Canada_(with_Independent_Quebec)
(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Silly me.

I thought the quest for Quebec sovereignty was dead after the Parti Québécois (PQ) was trounced in the last election. I cried when I read columns by Toronto writers declaring — and celebrating — that the dream was over, that so many French Quebecers would never see their nation returned to them from the conquerors.

Though, I know of one very wise political columnist — the Montreal Gazette’s Don Macpherson — who wrote after the last election that the sovereignty issue was far from dead. It was only on the backburner, he said, if not in those exact words.

But I didn’t see it. After all, we had just lost our beloved Pauline Marois, Quebec’s first female premier, who was defeated in her own riding. She had a lot of heart and soul, and it was so refreshing to see a woman in the top job. And when it became apparent recently that Pierre Karl Péladeau will be elected the new leader of the PQ, I figured the party didn’t stand a chance of winning the next election in 2018 because he — a prominent business media tycoon — is not exactly loved by blue-collar workers.

The PQ is dead in the water, I thought, and the sovereignty dream with them.

But I was wrong. I underestimated Pierre Karl Péladeau. After all, he is a shrewd man who can more than hold his own in the competitive business world.

Recently, he announced that, if elected PQ leader, he will have a scientific study done on the ramifications of Quebec sovereignty. And he reaffirmed his intent to lead Quebec out of the Canadian confederation, of giving Quebecers our own distinct nation.

Of course, you can be sure he won’t proceed with that until he is confident it is economically feasible, and has proven that to everyone — something previous PQ leaders never did. And he will make it economically feasible when the research shows the hurdles — and, of course there will be some — because that is what smart, successful businesspeople do: they find ways to leap over financial hurdles.

And PKP, as we call him here, has been moving forward in leaps and bounds on the road to Quebec sovereignty. Even though he hasn’t been elected PQ leader yet, he is grabbing headlines throughout the province with his talk of sovereignty.

And yesterday, he scored his biggest coup d’etat so far, in my opinion: He got the Liberal premier of Quebec talking publicly about sovereignty in what has to be a classic case of the fly entering the spider’s parlour. Premier Couillard took PKP’s bait, and in so doing put the sovereignty issue firmly on the front burner again . . . and also launched the next election campaign years before it needed to be launched.

Of course, the premier thinks all the sovereignty talk will sink the PQ, which is why he was beaming yesterday, Philip Authier of the Montreal Gazette reported. Here is Couillard’s quote:

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” a beaming Couillard told reporters suggesting an election fought by Péladeau could resemble an election-referendum. “The PQ has laid it all out. The question is referendum, sovereignty, separation.”

Silly Couillard. He seems to have forgotten (like I had) that a lot of Quebecers are yearning for sovereignty, and when they read his quote, their hope — our hope — will be renewed. (Yes, some anglos believe French Quebecers should have an independent country here, and that we can be part of it.)

The underlying question is: why did Mr. Couillard add more kindling to this particular fire yesterday? Why didn’t he just ignore the whole issue by simply shrugging it off? After all, he has a majority government and doesn’t have to call an election until 2018. Is there perhaps a small flame in his heart that burns for sovereignty?

Whatever the case, the sovereignty dream is very much alive, and the game is afoot.

And I am smiling today.

Thank you, PKP.

Quebec, je t’aime.

— Jillian

18 thoughts on “Quebec sovereignty on the front burner again

      1. Well, he’s got a good ‘teacher’+biz partner. And I think we all know who that is! Still would Like to see how that battle shapes up. Good old Lucien is still alive

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      2. I guess we can be grateful there’s no Rob Ford. Another ‘successful’ biz-man. But then again that ‘show’ is even better than Le Cirque du Soleil. Tomorrow is mead-nite? Happy Valentine’s :*

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      3. Seriously, what did you expect from Hollywood wrt the subject? It’s not going to give the San Fernando or SF a run for it’s money. I think you’ll be better served by the Mead. And a few more bottles after that 😉

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      4. Interesting article. When I grow up, I want to be just like Madonna . . . well, not exactly like her. I don’t want muscular thighs. (But I digress.)

        I am hearing that the movie is pretty lite. I didn’t read the book. So, we’ll see. Going to the movie is an evening out, which is always nice . . .

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  1. Note my last name. As far as I know, I am not related to Bernard but I AM related to Sir Pierre Landry who is considered to be one of the people most responsible for French being strong in NB. I am sorry – but separatism has no place in Canada OR in Quebec. I remember when you could not shop in Eaton’S in French – my mom was one of those called upon to serve those who DARED to request service in French. I am sorry – but French’s situation in Quebec is FINE today.

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    1. I respect your opinion, Tim. It’s not so much about protecting the French language for me. It’s about the fact Quebec was snatched away from the French people, and many just don’t identify with Canada. They truly do have their own sense of identity. I think Canada is big enough to carve out a country for Quebecois.

      But that is just my opinion . . . as one humble taxpayer here.

      Thanks for your response.

      Cheers

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  2. Quebec was “snatched away from the French people?” Listen up, European, if anything, it was snatched away from the First Nations. They have already said they will have no part of a separate Quebec, which means even if disaster strikes and “Quebec” separates, they will lose a minimum of 40% of their territory. Yes, I know the PQ insists that they won’t accept that, but they have no way of stopping it (part of their usual “planning” which consists of wishful thinking).

    And as long was we’re on the subject of nationhood, Quebec was never a nation. It was a French colony, was liberated from France, then the Franco-North-Americans went on to co-found the nation of Canada.

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    1. Yes, I know the land was stolen from the First Nations. I would be defending them, too, if they were seeking sovereignty.

      Still, the French people of Quebec are distinct, and they deserve their own country, if that is what the majority of them want. North America is large enough to give them the territory of Quebec. Why should anglos have it all?

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      1. So you support the “right’ of thieves to keep their loot?

        If “Quebec” is distinct identity, how do you define it, other than some colonists, prostitutes and thieves (I seem a trend here) that the King of France shipped over here. To be “pure laine” does one have to have 100% of one’s ancestors from this group? If so, there would be only a tiny group of Quebeckers (e.g. citizens of Canada who happen to live in this Province) who qualify. Is it anyone who came here at any time? If so, Quebec anglos have as much claim; in fact, many of their families have been here as long as the families of the “pure laine.”

        If you draw the border of this “distinct entity” as Quebec. According to whom? The seppos? One could draw the border as all of Canada, which in fact, is the generally recognized border of meaning. If you then say can cut up a tiny piece without the consent of the rest of the country, then any group within Quebec can claim the same. Actually sounds good to me, I’d enjoy being my own sovereign country. Don’t worry, I’ll (probably) grant you a visa to visit.

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  3. OK guys.. Can you stop looking at the future of Quebec with lenses merely reflecting your own small view of what may have happened in the past ?
    Try look at it in a way to figure what would be best for the future. Of Quebec. Of its people (natives, french, anglos and immigrants). Of the others in the Canadian provinces. also.
    I have been in corporate financial services, project finance and business here and abroad for the last 35 years….. and my own conclusion (and of those I know that have experience enough and are not biased with any sort of ‘enrollment’) is that the solution is clearly not in a Canada as it stands right now.
    A vote for sovereignty would ‘kick the can’ and force EVERYBODY to think hard and address change. For the better.
    This whole question has nothing to do with French, per se. It just happen to be correlated with a majority in Quebec linking their own identity and carrying it through the use of the french language.

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