Sunday, April 1, 2007

Building a better Canada, without Quebec

The constant threat of Quebec separation has, for decades now, forced this country down a path that weakens both Canada in general and the province of Quebec in particular, and like many Canadians, I have long despaired of ever seeing an end to the ongoing demands of its political elite.

In my view, the Clarity Act of 2000 was a cop-out. Instead of trying to legislate the nature of The Question and what constitutes a majority decision, our federal politicians would have better served the interests of all Canadians (Quebecers included) had they tabled an act – call it the Clarity Act if you will - which recognized Quebec for its contributions to Canada and expressed a strong desire for it to remain a part of this great country, but which also outlined, in clear, unambiguous terms, the terms under which the relationship would continue, the most important of which would be that Quebec would no longer be treated as first among equals – no special powers; no international presence; no political “arrangements”. The province and its people would be entitled to the same rights and the same privileges accorded to every other Canadian and every other province - no more, and no less.

Part II of that Act would outline the manner in which Quebec’s secession would be affected in the event that Part I was unpalatable to the majority of people in the province – a very distinct (pardon the expression) possibility.

While discussions surrounding The Quebec Question in the ROC (Rest of Canada) often elicit exasperated responses such as “Let 'em go, the sooner the better." or "Here’s the bill, please pay the cashier on your way out.”, there has been little in the way of cogent, public analysis of the results of such an action – until now. Reed Scowen’s book Time to Say Goodbye: Building a Better Canada Without Quebec offers exactly that – a calm, rational case for a Canada without Quebec.

I have just started to read this book but I have to say that the number of “right on” moments in the first 50 pages indicates that this is a book that every thinking Canadian should read and consider.

There is a better, more prosperous Canada out there, but it may not include Quebec.

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