Sovereignty that’s easy to swallow

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If at first you don’t succeed, just move the goal posts… or change the rules. Oh yeah, and try, try again.

The prospect of another attempt by the Parti Quebecois for a ‘yes’ sovereignty vote took an amusing turn Wednesday. PQ Leader Pauline Marois dreamed out loud about how an independent Quebec might look if it came to splitsville with Canada.

Marois said Quebec as its own nation would keep the Canadian dollar. Borders would be open to travellers from the rest of Canada. The province would request a seat at the Bank of Canada, since the currency and economies would be closely tied; the PQ leader compared the cosiness to European Union countries and the Euro.

Noteworthy, as the province heads toward an April 7 election, such talk was downplayed Thursday in favour of discussion about the brisk economy and other opportunities envisioned.

Canadians in general have stopped worrying, years after two referendums on sovereignty. Ask the person in the street and they might say the crying’s long over, let them go.

Federal politicians will pay attention. A ‘yes’ vote on their watch would paint a black mark on a governing party’s record.

But one tack the feds might consider, in addition to shoring up rules on clarity, would be to ask how the province wishes to pay for their portion of the federal debt: will that be Visa or Mastercard? Also, are you sure you’ll be OK, now, without those transfer payments?

It’s been a backburner issue for the average Quebecer for some time, since like many Canadians a lot are concerned with economic and quality of life issues.

It’s not likely a separatist government could muster strong support for a yes vote – thus the tendency to tiptoe around questions and never to rush into the next referendum.

Last time, it was a muddy question. Maybe the next approach will be to soften terms to make separation palatable. Then let the hardcore separatists versus the softcore fight to decide if it’s really an independent nation.

Organizations: Parti Quebecois, Bank of Canada, European Union Visa Mastercard

Geographic location: Quebec, Canada

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  • JLM
    March 14, 2014 - 15:50

    Problem is, which federal leader has the will to take a hard stance with Quebec if they choose to separate? It's fine to sit back and opine that Quebec should pay its share of national debt, and get no more transfer payments. But they want to keep our dollar, and have a seat on the Bank of Canada? Sorry, no. If you want to be your own country, set up your own bank and back your own currency.