Let’s get the first fact out of the way: separatists are the government in the province of Quebec.
Now that that’s on the table let’s disband any fear of a referendum by stating some facts upfront: the Bloc Quebecois is less then a shell of it’s former self in the House of Commons, leaving little federal recognition to a separatists party that has dominated Quebec for most of the last 20 years on the federal scene. Next, a recent poll by CROP put the support for sovereignty at less then 30% and that on top of the 32% support Marois’s PQ received shows me that her and her party have a fine line to walk if they want to stay in power. Her main opposition party is a Federalist party that has powerful allies in the Federal Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party of Canada, all parties that don’t support separatism and would fight hard if a referendum were ever called.
All the hullabaloo I’ve heard leading up to, during and following the provincial campaign is based on fear. Fear that ignores the fact that there aren’t any, ANY, winning conditions for separation in Quebec. Tempers flare and emotions become heated when talk of separation comes up and yes, many in Canada are of the mind that if Quebec were to opt for separation, that the new “country” should be let go. I think both the fear in the first hand and the rejection of Quebec in the second are both over the top, emotional responses to a condition that hasn’t arisen and shows no signs of emerging. In this case I think that Stephen Harper will likely come down strongly on Marois, seeing that she has a weak mandate and a populace that isn’t remotely hungry for another referendum campaign.
To the question of what this new government means for Thomas Mulcair? I don’t actually think it means as much as some in the media make it out to be. Mulcair has fought in two referendums, is a strong federalist and would be a bold and courageous supporter of Canada if such an event were to take place. Sit back for a second and imagine a possible NO campaign led by Harper and Mulcair: WOW! How could such a thing not survive?
So no, don’t be frightened about separation. Look at the current situation in Quebec as I do: a leftists government has been elected to a minority that will push a left wing progressive agenda and whose separatists sympathies will be kept in check by the minority it holds in the National Assembly. A referendum isn’t coming anytime soon!
Cross Posted at Sister Sage’s Musings