Saturday, March 22, 2014

Will Canada survice another referendum?

The True North strong and free…; that can very well prove to be an illusion. The province of Quebec is yet again at the polls, trying to make sense of its future; either as a province or as a country.  Canadians living outside la belle province are weary. The incessant message by Pauline Marois and her cohorts expounding the virtues of independence is fuelling a rapidly growing sentiment among English Canada-enough is enough. If it were just a case of Marois and the PQ itself this issue of independent fervour could be easily dismissed; yet it is not…49.42% citizens in Quebec voted in favor of secession in 1995. Could Marois establish the “winning conditions” and garner 51% of the vote?
The underpinnings of secessionism in not only Quebec; but in other parts of Canada are intriguing. She must feel comfortable with the present state of affairs in Quebec; being elected the first female Premier in the province and within barely two years in her mandate, Marois feels that the time is conducive to push for a majority government; and with it a referendum. It is not out of necessity but rather a matter of making a statement. Marois like previous Quebec premiers; is defining her latest campaign on the economy. In this she believes that she has made the right choices and handpicked (Pierre Karl Péladeau) those who would see her agenda to the end.
    Those living in Quebec are not any less disheartened or jaded by the province’s inability to get itself out of the growing rate of unemployment and economic stagnation. Quebec is changing; and the outward face of its demographic with it. This is not a French-English issue; at least not directly. The Charter of Values (Bill60) introduced by Bernard Drainville in May, of 2013 made it an issue of Quebec losing its distinct French-Canadian identity.  Secularism is preferred above all else, and many references to Jewish, Islamist faith based practices are said to be, “influential”.

“What you have to see is that, when we have established a link between halal certification, an imam and a mosque, we have to go see what they are saying in these mosques and the ideology that lives there,”-Louise Mailloux.

Injecting anti-religious policies purporting them to be anti-modernist, and an infringement upon Quebec’s secularist future independent society; Marois hopes that a greater separation between what Parizeau described in 1995 (big money and the ethnic vote) be realized before any referendum. It further reaffirms the notion that “multiculturalism” espoused by Pierre Elliot Trudeau has never taken root in Quebec.  The ideology introduced by Cartier, and McDonald of harbouring nations within nations has been part of the Quebec political landscape since pre-Confederation.  The repatriation of the Canadian Constitution in 1982, Meech Lake (1987) Charlottetown (1992); attempted to reconcile its imperfection and lessen its ideologies that all future amendments-be unanimous.
   The Charbonneau inquiry has yet to release its findings into wide scale corruption at every level of government and labor syndicates in the province.  This might favor the PQ; but the absence of the inquiry’s report does not mean clear sailing for anyone-least of all Marois.  So we have a segment of the population that dearly wants to become a nation unto itself; we have a minority of Anglophones who insist that having the right to live and function in English; a fundamental right, and let’s not forget about the indigenous peoples of Quebec who assert the right to negate any future referendum on sovereignty- to be illegal.

 “Let us be even more clear: Quebec can decide what it wants in terms of its culture, its identity and its development, but it cannot claim sovereignty over a territory which is still, fundamentally, First Nation.”- Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, Ghislain Picard.

In the interim; discussions about Marois, her party and the prospect of another referendum is successfully igniting the Rest of Canada (ROC) in claiming that if the outcome is independence-it will not be at the expense of the ROC. The emotional responses, via social media and online discussion sites, run the gamut. I daresay, some of the statements posted lack any perspective or appear to have been written in haste without much thought involved. The issues that are being raised in Quebec are not exclusive to those living in the province. It affects us all. We cling to the ideal that we are inclusive, respectful, and welcome diversity.  We tailor our immigration policies to reflect our Charter, we welcome political refugees… and we also discriminate. There are multiple examples throughout Canadian history in which we find cases of anti-Semitism, and discriminative protocols entrenched in every facet of the Canadian example.
   When speaking of Quebec independence, or Alberta’s Americanism, nothing is more divisive than having to develop multiculturalist streams which do little in the way of uniting its citizenry. The realities are that any secessionist alternatives will in effect cripple Canada as a whole. Unfortunately, the youth represented within the demographic element of the province have yet to articulate strong objections to the process of secession. The continued discord between French and English lines, the increased infiltration of immigrants who choose to live in Canada but not be part of Canada, the continued rationalization that “immigrants” become like “us” will eventually lead to a cultural civil war.
   Quebec is at the forefront of this issue. They and those outside its borders await answers; more than that, they hope for a better future. If voting PQ (or any other political entity) which promises to bring about better prospects in its economy, more maneuverability in its language policies, and a better cohesive strategy in developing a demographic that moves away from the traditional French Catholic roots-so much the better.



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