Finally, the secret is out. After sixty years Quebec has come out as a Nation within Canada. What began with the loss of power and influence of the Catholic Church in Quebec and the nurturing of greater Quebec powers by Liberal Premier Jean Lesage and the ‘Quiet Revolution’ of the 1960s, has flowered. After Lesage, momentum surged under Rene Levesque and the Parti Quebecois in October 1968. Their focus — an independent ‘Nation’ of Quebec.
In 1980 the Parti Quebecois held the first the first Quebec referendum on separation. Quebecois were asked to support negotiations with Canada on separation and form a sovereignty association. Although the referendum failed, the idea never disappeared.
In June 1995, the Parti Quebecois leader Jacques Parizeau held another referendum on sovereignty association. More than 90 per cent of the eligible population of Quebec voted. Those who wanted separation got 49.4 per cent of the vote, almost a majority. Parizeau resigned and blamed failure on the ‘ethnics’ of Montreal.
Although the referendum was ‘lost’, almost half the voters wanted sovereignty association. The movement to build a Nation quietly continued.
Now, in May 2021, with Quebec Bill 96, Quebec Liberal Premier François Legault put the final, finishing touches on 60 years of the Quebec Separation Movement. The ‘Nation’ of Quebec will have a single official language, French and will probably look to negotiate ‘Sovereignty Association.
Quebec has reached Levesque’s 1968 objective of becoming a Nation.
No one noticed. No one said anything. As Quebec took greater and greater control of Government Institutions Canadian politicians said nothing, fearing the loss of Quebec votes.
It took NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh to state the obvious. Quebec is an independent Nation.
“Sovereignty Association’ means the formation of an economic association with Canada where there is free trade, standardized tariffs on imports and a common currency. That exists now.
Footnote: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney suggests Quebec as a Nation is a great idea and seems to suggest it will help the ‘West’ achieve separation. Why separate? As an ‘independent nation’ Quebecois will not be voting in Canadian Federal Elections or sending politicians to Ottawa or getting transfer payments.
All that is left is final negotiations and the paper work.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.