Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Quebec Separatism: Dion, Pratte Weigh In (and I Rant)

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In the world of Canadian politics this week, Stephane Dion and Andre Pratte were interviewed by 940 AM here in Montreal a day or two ago. The two noted French Canadian federalists, one a former Environment Minister, the other La Presse's Editor-in-Chief, weighed in on Quebec separatism. This was in light of the recent decision by the European Union to require a minimum 55% approval rating in a referendum to recognize Montenegro's (a small ex-Yugoslav republic) independance.

Stephane Dion was concerned that Quebeckers should not be tricked into separating, and that there should be an undeniable majority voting to separate. He said: "The only reasonable solution [for Quebec to separate from Canada] is to follow the Clarity Act." Dion added that it would be an "absolute mess" if Quebec separated in questionable circumstances.

Pratte, for his part, discussed the logistical difficulty of separation. "There is no universal rule when a state decides to separate," Pratte said (though he, or one of his colleagues at La Presse, recently noted that other states that recently obtained their independance via a vote had approval ratings in the mid to high 90s). Pratte added that France, in particular, would be in a quandary. "It would be very hard for France to recognize Quebec with 51% when it just imposed 55% on Montenegro."

IMHO Pratte raised the really important point, which Dion only alluded to. Who in the world (literally) would recognize Quebec with a thion majority? Especially considering all the vote stealing and mess-ups that happened last referendum, and again in the most recent Montreal municipal elections?
Also, it's a geographic minefield if Quebec separates. How do the Maritimes and the West communicate? Also, what happens if most of Montreal votes against separation? I see us having a referendum to separate from Quebec and rejoin Canada, but Mayor Tremblay might prefer to become a head of state (yeah, like that makes any sense).

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Related:

French Leaders Debate Notes
Education Politics in Quebec
Language Issues in Quebec
The real problem with Option Canada (sarcastic humour)


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