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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:49 am
 


As is so often the case when Quebec comes up in the news, the current provincial election has led to a lot of people calling for that province to simply leave Canada once and for all. However, I'm not sure that the people, both inside and outside Quebec, who want la belle province to leave have thought through exactly what the implications would be...

First of all, it's pretty clear that separation would cause all kinds of economic grief for Quebec. But what's the implication for Canada? Even with everything weighing it down Quebec still produces about 20% of Canada's economic GDP. What country has ever had 20% of its economy go down the tubes without experiencing economic pain of its own? The taxes and purchases made by Quebecers and their companies going to other parts of Canada would all be lost, and how exactly would we make it all up?

This also applies to specific sectors. The Oilsands Today organization has been active in trying to show how the oilsands benefit all of Canada, citing Suncor spending $425 million in Quebec in 2012 and hiring the Prevost oil company to provide transportation for oilpatch workers. What happens to those purchases if Quebec's economy goes down the crapper? Sure, they will probably find other companies to get services from, but there's going to be a lot of hassle and inconvenience in the meantime, and that's not good for business.

Think about it on a larger scale, too. If Quebec leaves, it and the rest of the country are probably going to be squabbling over issues like the dollar, their share of the debt, and everything else for a long time. What's that going to do to our international credit rating, and for foreign investment in the country, if we're fighting with each other over how much money each of us owes? How long are those conflicts going to drag out, and how will that affect the decisions of investors?

Finally, even if you don't care about the economic impact of separation on Quebecers, how about the impact on Atlantic Canadians? They're going to be stuck on the other side of what will be a gaping hole in our country. Even if we partition Quebec, most of the heavily populated areas with the bulk of the infrastructure will probably still be claimed by Quebec. How is travel and trade going to be affected by that? People are still going to have to pass through Quebec to get to and from the Atlantic provinces, and how easy will that be if Quebec leaves and takes so much of the infrastructure with it? Is Ottawa going to build a bunch of roads through the more sparsely northland, which we might try and have partitioned? Newfoundlander and Mulroney-era Cabinet Minister John Crosbie was pretty clear when he said that Quebec's separation would be very bad for the Atlantic provinces, and I don't see any reason to disagree with him.

Admittedly, I'm not an economist. Maybe I'm completely off base with these assumptions. However, from everything I've seen it seems to me that everyone who wants Quebec to leave Canada, both inside and outside the province, might want to be careful what they wish for. The results may not be what they expect.

Aside from all that, people might wonder why the separation issue keeps popping up again and again. Are Quebecers really that unwilling to commit to Canada? Why can't they seem to decide?

I don't think the only issue is with the Franco-Quebecois themselves. Could it be that maybe, just maybe, there are still some major unresolved issues as far as Quebec's relationship with Canada goes? Why is Philippe Couillard talking about the need to reopen the Constitution at some point, even if he would prioritize other issues for the time being?

Why is Stéphane Dion on record as defending Quebec's language laws and Quebec nationalism, and spent so much time back in the 1990s as supporting recognizing his province in the Constitution as a distinct society? Why did Pierre Trudeau's old friend Gérard Pelletier, who was one of Trudeau's earliest allies in fighting separatism, reproach some of Trudeau's latter-day supporters for enlisting the likes of William Johnson and Mordecai Richler in their fight against separatism?

I find it telling that even the likes of René Levèsque and Lucien Bouchard had to support sovereignty-association, and didn't think Quebecers would go for a full and complete separation from Canada. I wonder how many people who voted Yes in the referendums may have been affected by the "association" part of the proposal. Yes, some of it may have had to do with things like money and passports, but I'm not convinced that's all there is to it.

It all suggests to me that many Quebecers are still attached to Canada, but that they're alienated by the way Canada is currently set up, particularly in that it doesn't recognize for the sense of distinctiveness many of them feel. Pierre Trudeau fought all his life against that...but as I posted on CKA's sister site Vive Le Canada, Trudeau's efforts had far more impact on other Canadians than they have on the Franco-Quebecois.

That could well be the key to resolving the conflict at some point in the future...

Sources cited:

André Burelle, Pierre Elliott Trudeau: L'intellectuel et le politique. Éditions Fides, 2005. Page 429.

John C. Crosbie, No Holds Barred: My Life In Politics. Toronto: McClelland And Stewart, 1997. Pages 464-465.

Stéphane Dion, Straight Talk: Speeches And Writings On Canadian Unity. Pages 138-149 and 221.

Paul Wells, "Like father, like son: Stéphane Dion's views are surprisingly similar to his late father's." Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, page A1.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:13 am
 


My own reflections include a piece I saw over the weekend on question Period CTV.

Gilles Duceppe talked about using Canadian currency.
He said any one can use Canadian currency. Which really hit me in the reality check zone.

We get all patriotic and sovereign towards our currency and think of it as a bargaining tool in Quebec politics.

But it's not.

Then his take on the passport issue and he talked about how many Canadians own more than one passport.

It's just the entire attitude of the separatists towards Canada.
They want to use everything thats good about being Canadian and not just totally separate.

It's like wanting to live in your mom's basement , not pay rent, and have her cook your meals, for you feel it's good for her.

In any case the Crimea is a case for carving up countries.

If Russia would have stepped back and said , "Ok we will give it a year"
The result would have been the same, and no one could have griped about the legality of it.

Thats the stupid pit ,Putin fell into.

Same with Quebec , this has been going on for decades now.

When it comes down to it I think Montreal and what was known as Rupert's Land would want to stay in Canada.

At the moment ,you cannot find any amount of populace in Quebec city region even wanting to talk about separatism .

It would end up being carved up,and it has to in the end ,for it to be deemed legal.
Why, not all areas of people living in Quebec want to separate.

I put to you this question

Define a Province that never signed on to the Charter of Rights.


From a page here http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/canadian-charter-of-rights-and-freedoms/



As a result, the Quebec government has never signed the 1982 Constitution, although opinion surveys have shown the Charter to be highly popular in Quebec.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:58 am
 


I address this in the essays I wrote on Vive about the "Trudeau Paradox", as I call it. The content of the Charter of Rights is just as popular among Quebecers as it is among the rest of us, but the way it was patriated, contrary to what many Quebecers were expecting based on Trudeau's promises in 1980, was what left such a sore spot, based on all my research.

Writers like Guy Laforest and Claude Ryan, who was leading the provincial Liberals at the time, condemned the way Trudeau patriated the Constitution without a formal recognition of Quebec's distinctiveness. And even though many Quebec MPs voted for Trudeau's patriation plans, the voters punished them for it in the 1984 election, when Mulroney got the biggest majority in Canadian history.

Mulroney tried to fix it with the Meech Lake Accord, but a combination of Pierre Trudeau's interference and his own incompetence (e.g., his idiotic "rolling the dice" admission, not to mention his neglect of the Aboriginal peoples which led to Elijah Harper refusing to support the Accord in Manitoba) torpedoed it. As Ryan later pointed out, this went over very badly with many Quebecers. The sad irony is that Elijah Harper had nothing against Quebec nationalism, but he couldn't in good conscience support an agreement that left the Natives on the outside looking in, as they always had been.

The problem is we're stuck in an impasse where we either have to accept Pierre Trudeau's way of doing things, or we support separatism. This overlooks the efforts of guys like André Laurendeau, Claude Ryan, Léon and Stéphane Dion, and others to try and address Quebecers' own desires while also being very much part of Canada. Note that Ryan's dismay over how the Constitution was patriated did not stop him from also voicing his strong support for the content of the Charter of Rights.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:21 am
 


It can't happen and it won't happen. The ROC (Rest of Canada) is fed up with Quebec, and rightly so. The prevailing attitude among Anglophones is "let them go if they want to leave so badly; and take your share of the national debt too!". Additionally, a whole new generation of allophones (immigrants) has breaded increasing indifference in the ROC. Immigrants born abroad don't have any stake in this issue and aren't nearly as interested or invested in this debate.

But the OP is bang on. Economically its a nightmare all around. It would be YEARS (if not a decade!) to negotiate the terms of a separation. Those years of political turmoil would take quite a toll on both the Quebec and ROC economy. And even with their welfare state and high spending ways, Quebec is still a substantial part of our GDP. We are stronger together at the end of the day.

Additionally, people like myself (I'm 21 and was 3 years old during the 1995 referendum) didn't grow up in this never-ending saga of national unity crises. I don't think my generation really gives a damn. We're borderless, we travel, we don't view things along ethnic and linguistic lines. We all want Quebec to stay likely, but its more of a "rolled eyes" reaction of silly tribalism and nationalism getting in the way of actual issues we need to deal with.

Its all just a waste of time and a giant distraction. If the PQ wins their coveted majority and holds Referendum 3.0, there will be no busloads of federalists coming to Montreal for national unity rallies. The media elite and bilingual establishment of Central Canada don't have the clout they had in 1995. The Western provinces have a larger population than Quebec and Atlantic Canada combined now. The economy has moved West. The West is indifferent and just doesn't care.

This, the debacle with Russia, etc. 2014 is 1984. Its like as much as the world changes, it stays the same with the same old battle of yesteryear.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:23 am
 


Also, Quebec's strategy is clear. The Charter of Secular Values, the language police, the anti-immigrant tones, etc. Its to cause a mass emigration of Anglophones and Allophones to the ROC before the referendum so old stock 40+ Francophones can siphon out their razor thin majority.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:43 am
 


westmanguy westmanguy:
It can't happen and it won't happen. The ROC (Rest of Canada) is fed up with Quebec, and rightly so. The prevailing attitude among Anglophones is "let them go if they want to leave so badly; and take your share of the national debt too!"..

i have to stop you here.
The ROC as you put it ,in this case is like accusing Toronto of being idiots because they all belong to Ford Nation.

Anyone who says let them go is not a patriot and is reading into the situation with the emotions of a child .


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:44 am
 


westmanguy westmanguy:
Also, Quebec's strategy is clear. The Charter of Secular Values, the language police, the anti-immigrant tones, etc. Its to cause a mass emigration of Anglophones and Allophones to the ROC before the referendum so old stock 40+ Francophones can siphon out their razor thin majority.

sigh…again with that broad brush.

It's not Quebec but the PQ


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:52 am
 


I'm not sure Quebec's 20% contribution to the national GDP is as big a deal as it's made out to be. Two questions need to be asked. 1)How much of it is purely domestic, ie: How much of that GDP is from Canadian companies as opposed to those founded by les Quebcois? For example, while not nearly the size of our southern neighbour's, almost the entirety of Canada's pharmaceutical industry was relocated to Quebec. How much of it would remain there if Quebec separated?
How many US companies contribute to Quebec's GDP and how many would remain?

The second question is, once the above is taken into consideration, how much of a "Quebecois" based GDP does the province have and is it worth the federal transfer payments?

The fact that idiots like Marois are once again trying to peddle sovereignty-association tells me they have no real economic plan once they've separated.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:00 pm
 


JaredMilne JaredMilne:
The problem is we're stuck in an impasse where we either have to accept Pierre Trudeau's way of doing things, or we support separatism. This overlooks the efforts of guys like André Laurendeau, Claude Ryan, Léon and Stéphane Dion, and others to try and address Quebecers' own desires while also being very much part of Canada. Note that Ryan's dismay over how the Constitution was patriated did not stop him from also voicing his strong support for the content of the Charter of Rights.


Most attempts to placate Quebec through accords revolve around guaranteeing them, in law, disproportionate power and influence in Canada. Quite understandably, the rest of the country has issues with this.

Why should we give them "alpha dog" status in Confederation?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:04 pm
 


PublicAnimalNo9 PublicAnimalNo9:
I'm not sure Quebec's 20% contribution to the national GDP is as big a deal as it's made out to be. Two questions need to be asked. 1)How much of it is purely domestic, ie: How much of that GDP is from Canadian companies as opposed to those founded by les Quebcois? For example, while not nearly the size of our southern neighbour's, almost the entirety of Canada's pharmaceutical industry was relocated to Quebec. How much of it would remain there if Quebec separated?
How many US companies contribute to Quebec's GDP and how many would remain?

The second question is, once the above is taken into consideration, how much of a "Quebecois" based GDP does the province have and is it worth the federal transfer payments?

The fact that idiots like Marois are once again trying to peddle sovereignty-association tells me they have no real economic plan once they've separated.


Taking Quebec's contributions to equalization out of the picture might have a much bigger impact than we realize, given that Quebecers pay into equalization as well:

$1:

Equalization is paid by the federal government to provincial governments and does not include any sharing of provincial revenues among provincial governments. Equalization funding is paid out from the federal government’s general revenues. The general revenues are the revenues the federal government collects from a wide variety of sources including: the federal personal income tax paid by all taxpayers in the country, the federal corporate income tax paid by all businesses in the country, GST revenue, revenue from customs and duties, etc.

Provinces keep all the money they raise from resources and all their other tax bases. No provincial government funds go to support equalization. There is no special “equalization tax” or levy paid to the federal government by richer provinces such as Alberta, and even if the equalization program were cancelled tomorrow, this would not affect how much money the federal government collects from individuals and businesses in the forms of taxes, duties, etc.

This can’t be stressed enough: no province “pays into equalization” – all individual taxpayers and businesses pay into the federal government’s general revenue fund, from which equalization is just one of many programs funded. So in answer to questions such as, how much money does Alberta transfer to Quebec or how much money does Alberta pay to equalization, the answer is simply “$0.00″. No province transfers any money to any other province. Individuals and corporations transfer money to the federal government.



http://thoughtundermined.com/2012/04/24 ... nceptions/

Note also that Quebec actually gets far less on a per capita basis than Manitoba and the Maritimes. The only current province that gets less per capita is Ontario.

And then there's this, coming from one of my favourite Western Canadian think tanks...

$1:


First, Ottawa charges people the same taxes regardless of where they live and puts all the money into a big pot called general revenue. Assuming a balanced budget, all federal program spending, including on transfers like equalization, comes out of that same pot. As such, federal taxes raised in Quebec help fund farm subsidies in Alberta. Taxpaying New Brunswickers contribute to Employment Insurance payments in Saskatchewan. And yes, federal taxes raised in Alberta help pay for equalization in Quebec.

...

It is also untrue that equalization allows Quebec to afford services that are impossibly generous for Alberta. The equalization formula tells us that the Alberta government could collect twice as much revenue as Quebec (including its equalization payments) if both provinces had identical tax rates. In other words, Alberta could easily afford tuition rates lower than those in Quebec, and plenty more besides, if it was willing to pay for them.

...

But are we just confusing the issue? Do Albertans not contribute more to federal coffers compared to people living in other provinces? Of course we do. And Canadians across the country benefit from that contribution. But this is not the result of some elaborate plot to drain wealth out of the West and give it to welfare recipients in the East. It’s simply because our economy is strong. The “problem” is that wages and employment rates in Alberta are much higher than anywhere else in Canada. More of us have jobs and earn higher incomes, so we end up paying more in taxes.



http://cwf.ca/commentaries/are-albertan ... l-programs


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:09 pm
 


saturn_656 saturn_656:

Most attempts to placate Quebec through accords revolve around guaranteeing them, in law, disproportionate power and influence in Canada. Quite understandably, the rest of the country has issues with this.

Why should we give them "alpha dog" status in Confederation?


If you're talking about things like the Quebec Pension Plan and Quebec collecting its own taxes, I'm not so sure how those correlate into more influence for Quebec. If you're talking about Meech Lake, it never even got off the ground-Pierre Trudeau whipped up such a fury that the Accord died before it could be ratified.

And who said anything about 'alpha dog' status? If anything, the provinces all have 'alpha dog' status in comparison to the territories, whose constitutional powers are only delegated by Ottawa and can be retaken if the feds choose to do so.

Besides, just as Quebec MPs have voted on things that don't affect their constituents, so have MPs from other provinces voted on things that don't affect them. Using the logic that Quebec MPs shouldn't be voting on issues that their province isn't affected by, one might wonder what business Saskatchewan MPs have voting on the fisheries, or MPs from New Brunswick have voting on constitutional changes that affect only one province, like the changes made to Quebec's and Newfoundland's educational systems.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:45 pm
 


JaredMilne JaredMilne:
If you're talking about things like the Quebec Pension Plan and Quebec collecting its own taxes, I'm not so sure how those correlate into more influence for Quebec. If you're talking about Meech Lake, it never even got off the ground-Pierre Trudeau whipped up such a fury that the Accord died before it could be ratified.

And who said anything about 'alpha dog' status? If anything, the provinces all have 'alpha dog' status in comparison to the territories, whose constitutional powers are only delegated by Ottawa and can be retaken if the feds choose to do so.

Besides, just as Quebec MPs have voted on things that don't affect their constituents, so have MPs from other provinces voted on things that don't affect them. Using the logic that Quebec MPs shouldn't be voting on issues that their province isn't affected by, one might wonder what business Saskatchewan MPs have voting on the fisheries, or MPs from New Brunswick have voting on constitutional changes that affect only one province, like the changes made to Quebec's and Newfoundland's educational systems.


I'm speaking of the accords, Meech and Charlottetown.

You've researched this extensively. I'm sure you know what perks Quebec was offered. The power to select a third of the SC, at least 25% of HoC seats whether their population warranted it or not, etc.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:53 pm
 


westmanguy westmanguy:
It can't happen and it won't happen.


Sure it can. If Quebeck votes for independence you'll have to let them go for a myriad of reasons but the simplest reason is that Canada lacks the military and the will to force Quebeck to stay.

In the USA secession arguments always boil down to a question of if a state or states are willing to go to war for independence...because it's a given that war would ensue over that subject.

To the contrary in Canada, it's a given that war absolutely will not ensue if Quebeck, Alberta, or whoever elected to pursue sovereignty.

Therefore it's more likely to see Quebeck independent than it is that we'll see Texas independent.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:57 pm
 


saturn_656 saturn_656:

I'm speaking of the accords, Meech and Charlottetown.

You've researched this extensively. I'm sure you know what perks Quebec was offered. The power to select a third of the SC, at least 25% of HoC seats whether their population warranted it or not, etc.


As political scientist Rand Dyck noted, many Canadians, when they were polled about the contents of the Charlottetown Accord, often weren't aware of what it actually entailed. Many of them thought that their own elites had not bargained hard enough, or were so disgusted by everything that was going on, including the state of the economy, the deficit, etc., that many of them voted against Charlottetown simply to send a message to Ottawa.

Charlottetown contained a number of things that other Canadians had been wanting to see for a while-self government provisions for Aboriginals a Triple E Senate, etc.-but many people also rejected these provisions in the Accord.

As for Meech Lake, like I said before a combination of Trudeau's opposition and Mulroney's own ineptitude caused it to crash and burn before the public ever even got to vote on it.


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