After the devastating Parti Quebecois (PQ) defeat last April, some people thought that the party ran on sovereignty, and that sovereignty had lost. Mario Beaulieu would disagree, but Bernard Drainville, former PQ Minister of Democratic Institutions (also known as the guy responsible for the Charter of Values), thinks that sovereignty was exactly the problem with the PQ.
Except, his objection isn’t so much with the concept, it’s with the branding. On his blog, he wrote, “je préfère, pour ma part, le terme indépendance à celui de souveraineté,” (I prefer the term indepenance to sovereignty). The words are essentially synonymous, but don’t tell that to Bernie.
“L’indépendance, c’est le contraire de la dépendance.” (Independence is the opposite of dependence). Riveting stuff. And no one would ever accuse Quebec of being dependent. After all, next year, the Quebec government will receive $19.6 billion in transfer payments from the government. This compares nicely to Ontario, who will receive $19.2 billion. See, we’re pretty much even with the province that has 5 million more people than we do!
Drainville, in a line that surely made a bald eagle shed a single tear of freedom, praised the ideological similarity between Quebec and the US. “On réfère à l’indépendance américaine,” he said (we refer to American independence), and suggested and that we need to stop being timid and use a bolder word.
He then commenced the airing of the usual grievances. To put it briefly, there are those who wish for Quebec to be a Canadian province (just like all the others)! These people want us to submit to unilateral decisions from Ottawa with regards to gun control, financial regulation, and judicial nominations. They want to force us to allow pipelines carrying bitumen to cross our land. They enjoy the status quo, where we submit without fighting back, and they wish us to remain subjects of the British Crown (“il y a […] ceux et celles qui souhaitent que le Québec demeure un sujet de la Couronne britannique”). There are those who wish us to submit to Ottawa, and submit to the decisions of another nation.
Yes, this is the rhetoric of the guy who announced, in the same blog post, that he’s preparing to run to be the leader of the PQ.
He finished off by declaring that the burden of proof is on the people who want to remain in Canada to show that staying is better than leaving. In the classic French methodology, those who don’t want to change anything have the harder task. Luckily, TNT already put together a handy infographic to show why it’s a poor idea. You’re welcome, Bernie, here ya go.