COLUMN: Duhaime – English Canada grows tired of Quebec

- May 17th, 2012

Thrill is gone in Canadian marriage

by Eric Duhaime

Are English Canadians on the verge of kicking Quebec out of the Confederation?

The person responsible for the National Post opinion editorial must have been flabbergasted at readers’ responses to this issue in the last few days. More than 60% of the paper’s respondents said it was time to let Quebec go.

Even if the survey has no scientific grounds and covers a very small sample, the results show the malaise that currently exists in the country. While the separatist option is becoming less popular in Quebec, it surprisingly seems to be gaining popularity in the rest of Canada.

There might never be a referendum in Canada asking voters if they want Quebec to go, but in the current context there won’t be another love-in like the one organized in Montreal in 1995 to keep Quebec in at all costs.

Although we live in the same house, we certainly don’t sleep in the same room anymore. Our romantic days are long gone. Quebec and the rest of Canada have grown apart. Young Quebecers have no appetite for constitutional quarrels, although they define themselves more and more as Quebecois and less and less as Canadians. They have even invented the word “decanadianization.”

Conversely, English-Canadians are becoming more and more fed up with paying for Quebec, which receives more than half the money given through the so-called equalization program, the equivalent of $8 billion a year.

The solution might not be to ask Quebec to become an independent nation but to become less dependent on its neighbours and more fiscally autonomous. To calm English Canada down, the equalization formula — which will be reviewed before 2014 anyway — could be modernized.

Canada has evolved over the years. The need for interprovincial welfare is not as necessary as it used to be. The principle of redistribution is part of our Constitution but could focus exclusively on funding very essential social programs, which wouldn’t include $7-a-day daycare or a fully subsidized year of parental leave after the birth of each child.

On the other hand, to appease Quebec, the federal government needs to give it as much autonomy as possible. Stephen Harper has been very good at not exacerbating the tensions between the two solitudes. His decentralist approach makes the slow estrangement less painful.

Quebecers do not like radical changes. Our revolution half a century ago was “quiet.”

Will our separation from Canada also be “quiet?” Or do we simply need some distance so we can better figure out our true feelings?

We’ll see.

Anyway, the real question for now should be: Is there an alternative? The federal Liberals’ attempt to centralize the federation was a fiasco. It almost led to the breakup of the country 17 years ago and gave us a bankrupt welfare state.

We should salute this new refusal by English-Canadians to compete with the separatists to buy Quebecers’ votes.

If Canada is to survive, it needs to come from our willingness to stay together. Period.

Categories: Politics

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6 comments

  1. Laurie Branchaud says:

    Yes, it is definately time to let them go! They are never happy….always pushing for more more more. It’s to the point of total discrimination against the English and all other languages. They are taking over Ontario which isn’t even a bilingual province for 4%!!!! We are sick and tired of it. Goodbye Quebec….you have pushed too hard and squeaked too loudly….now we will take back what is ours!!!!!!!

  2. Jessie says:

    Fully agree with Laurie. Quebec is pitiful. The rest of us are being denied job after job for speaking the majority language. Won’t miss your whining at all Quebec, good luck on your own!

  3. Sidney says:

    We can’t afford them, they don’t deserve us, they will still live in the same nieghbourhoods. Why should we subsidize every thing from cheapest daycare and university tuition fees in Canada to Anti English language police while we pay billions a year (over a trillion in forty years) for forced never voted on bilingualism every where but Quebec. What have they ever done for the rest of Canada? Which “Was” English Canada till prime ministers from Quebec manipulated every thing. They have not done much at all for us really. They can keep thier poutine and Wendy’s can make it the national dish of the nation of Quebec, and they can find eight billion dollars a year some where else while they pay thier share of the current national debt. While your at it we could use the military assets and other gifts like Bombardiea or the equivilent of, that used to be in Winnipeg. We could go on and on about the unfair and under handed political deals that have gone on but it’s only a comment. Maybe a politician can translate this into French for them. Have a nice Victoria Day long weekend before they change that holidays name too.

  4. Thomas_L...... says:

    I “saddened” my French Canadian sister in law a couple of years back by saying, if Quebec had another referendum AND if they really, really wanted to leave confederation, they should just let the entire country vote on it. Pauvre petite.

  5. Jen says:

    There is always Mulclair’s France to help out Quebec. In truth, Quebec needs to be on its own to find out what reality truly is.
    I frankly don’t think that the ROC will give a dam if Quebec separates. The sooner the better.
    Although quebec is a beautiful it is very ungrateful selfish arrogant province.

  6. Kenneth T. Tellis says:

    It really is time to kick the Metis Nation of Kebec out of Canada and make it on its own. The Metis (Kebecois) have long believed that they are owed something by English-speaking Canada which is certainly not true.

    The source of this fairy tale was Abbe Lionel-Adolphe Groulx of Vaudreuil, Quebec who could be well compared with Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Gobbels. Groulx was a Catholic priest who wrote absolute drivel, but he had a following somewhat like the Pied Pper of Hamelin, who believed his every word. The Kebecois were mesmerized by his words and swallowed everything he write as God’s truth.

    Much like Nazism, Groulxism will take more than a hundred years to remove completely.

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