Quebec Nationalism

This essay has a total of 1729 words and 8 pages.

Quebec Nationalism

The question of whether Quebec will secede from Canada to become an independent nation has
been a hot topic in the country for several years now. It dates back to the abortive
rebellions of 1837-38. In 1980, a referendum to secede was rejected by a 60-40 margin.
Since then though, the numbers of Quebeckers that want to become sovereign has
significantly increased. There is so many questions of what will happen if this does
happen. In this paper I plan to take a deeper look at this situation and try to figure out
what it would actually be like if Quebec was its own country.


The premier of Quebec, Lucien Bouchard has been attempting to separate from Canada for
quite sometime. If he had it his way this topic would be old news by now. His main problem
is the Federalist, English speaking citizens of his province. They have been very vocal on
their stance to stay apart of Canada. They have sent around several resolutions stating
this. It all started in Allumette Island East, which has a population of 458. It has since
spread to municipalities along the borders with Ontario and the United States, and in the
Montreal area. Unfortunately this means very little considering the fact that these
municipalities only represent approximately 6% of the province's population. When the
Parti Quebecois government called for the first referendum on secession in 1980, only 40%
were in favor of separatism. When the party took over control again in 1995 the approval
rose just about 49%. The fear of the PQ is that if several of the floating voters out
there feel that a sovereign Quebec must mean a partitioned, patchwork Quebec, the
separatists might well fall back to 40% if that.

One group of Quebeckers with the strongest-and geographically the widest claims for self
determination, the Cree, Inuit, and Innu who occupy the resource-rich northern two-thirds
of the province. The views of these nations oddly enough seem to go unmentioned. During
the 1995 attempt to secede these three groups all voted by more than 95% to stick with
Canada.

People outside of Canada are baffled at how Canada ended up in such a state of affairs.
Canada as a country has a lot going for it. A high GNP, and high per capita income in
international terms. It is ranked at the top of the list by the United Nations for quality
of life. Canada is also considered a constructive member of the international community.
They take part in just about all international organizations in existence. Don't get me
wrong, there are also many problems within the Country. For instance the rocky
relationship between the majority and the indigenous people. There is also a great
differential of wealth between regions, and inequalities in personal incomes. Despite all
of this, many feel that this is not the reason for Quebec secession.

Quebec has 24 percent of the total population of Canada, and 25 percent of its Gross
National Product. The majority of Quebec's population is of French descent and language.
It reaches approximately 83 percent of the entire province. About 60 percent of the French
voted for secession in the 1995 referendum, at a remarkably high turn out, 94 percent of
the total electorate.

It is noteworthy that of those francophone Quebeckers favoring federalism were the older
group over 50 years of age. However, in the younger age group pro-secessionists had the
majority. The anglophones, allophones, and the indigenous people were all strongly against
secession. The premier of Quebec Lucien Bouchard has in fact stated that there will be
another referendum. Although under Quebec Law this cannot take place until another
provincial election has been held. However, the Government is now more concerned with
rebounding Quebec's struggling economy which has struggled as a result of the political
uncertainty. The drive for secession is currently on the political back burner in the
province for the moment.

Most Quebeckers see themselves as having two identities, first as Quebeckers, and then as
Canadians. The Parti Quebecois has concentrated on the politics of reassurance. Their goal
is to make citizens feel stable if in fact they were to secede from Canada. An independent
Quebec would still be able to continue to use the Canadien dollar, Canadien passports, and
have a mutually beneficial economic association with Canada.

The core argument still remains that the French speaking Quebeckers possess a common
language, history, culture, that they formed a people, and that they could only feel
comfortable if they were to have their own state. There is no doubt that the economy has
been greatly affected by the talks of secession. Unemployment has also increased as a
result of this. Montreal which was once the leading city in Canada, now has an
unemployment ranking of 12%. Its share of private capital formation has dropped to 15%.
Quebec is also in high governmental debt and budget deficits and is now only beginning to
work on these problems. There have been several studies done based on secession. It is
felt that if Quebec did in fact secede from Canada they would suffer in the short term.

If Quebec wanted to enter the NAFTA Trade Agreement several of their economic practices
could be called in to question by the United States. It is thought that if Quebec were to
use the Canadien dollar it would only be for the short term. Eventually they would be
better off with there own currency. Jeffrey Simpson feels that Quebec would suffer for
some ten years or so from separation, but he personally felt that Quebec could become a
viable economic state.

The majority of Canadiens do not want Quebec to leave. However, many feel that Quebec is
the spoiled child of the confederation. Would Canada be able to keep together if Quebec
were to secede? If Quebec secedes, how would the international community react? It will be
interesting to see if the United States would accept Quebec's secession, or would they
wait to see Canada's reaction?

So far in this paper we have seen the effect that the secession of Quebec has had on the
economy. Now we are gonna take a deeper look at why exactly they so desperately want to
secede from Canada. The main fear in Canada is that the separation of Quebec will lead to
Continues for 4 more pages >>




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