Maybe Pauline Marois is telling the rest of us that we cannot do nothing about Canada’s constitutional future forever!

Aug 27th, 2012 | By | Category: In Brief

Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Quebec Premier René Lévesque arrive for dinner at the Government House in Ottawa on January 4, 1979.

[UPDATED AUGUST 28]. Just over a week from now, the people/peuple of la belle province (which is, of course, not a province like the others, because of its beauty and many other things) will be choosing their next provincial government.

It still seems wrong to jump to any big conclusions just yet — especially perhaps with the result of the Alberta provincial election this past April 23 in mind.  (And for this site’s own mea culpa in this regard, see “Big surprise in Alberta .. Danielle Smith not necessary … Alison Redford wins.” We certainly do not want to make the same mistake twice in one year!)

Quebec premier Rene Levesque, right, talks with prime minister Pierre Trudeau during the Sept. 9, 1980 first ministers' conference in Ottawa.

All this having been said, however, the latest Leger Marketing poll “indicated that the PQ [ie the sovereigntist Parti Quebecois, led by Ms Pauline Marois] was headed towards a minority government, though a majority was still in reach.” (AUGUST 28 UPDATE: A CROP poll in La Presse yesterday is also reporting that the “Parti Québécois is now heading for a minority government on Sept. 4.” And see as well “Quebec election: Premier Jean Charest falls to third place in new poll.”)

We continue to stand by the opinion on this prospect posted on this site back on the first day of August 2012 — “Will this Quebec election finally take the rest of Canada by surprise (and/or if it does will anyone care)?” Ie : “There seems at least some anglo central Canadian consensus that, as Lawrence Martin urges in today’s Globe and Mail, in the Quebec election that Prime Minister (Premier?) Jean Charest has just officially called for September 4, 2012, ‘The Péquistes don’t scare Canada now.’”

At the same time, we have noted that at least some wise observers, here next door in the progressive conservative Bill Davis’s sister province of Ontario, have lately been worrying somewhat about just what the perhaps imminent victory of Ms Marois’ party might finally mean for the rest of us.

(See, eg, two pieces by the once again ubiquitous John Ibbitson : “Why a PQ win could give new powers to the rest of Canada” ; and “Why Harper might need Mulcair to keep the country together.”  And see also a somewhat more recent fret by the more youthful Adam Radwanski, “If Quebec moved to separate, would the rest of Canada still care?”)

Pierre Trudeau and Alberta premier Peter Lougheed, toast the new Canada that began with the Constitution Act, 1982.

We continue to agree with Dr. Randall White’s conclusion on this site, this past August 1: “Canada without Quebec is just practically impossible — and vice versa. I believe too that I have some good enough reasons to hope growing numbers of voters in both the rest of Canada and Quebec itself are coming to a similar conclusion. (And I suppose, in the very end, if this is not true, I will probably be dead before the people of both Canada and Quebec actually do indulge in some final crazed moment of insane self-destruction.” Oh, and btw, italics added here, to stress “and vice versa“; ie, Quebec without Canada is practically impossible too!)

Still … as we get closer to the actual prospect of at least some kind of victory for Pauline Marois and the Parti Quebecois (that still does claim to believe in the virtues of insane self-destruction, after all), the possibility that the last few years of the current Harper majority government in Ottawa may be quite different than anything anyone has been expecting so far suddenly does start to weigh on one’s mind!

Pierre Trudeau, celebrating his comeback in 1980!

What all this finally suggests to us is that the strategy of letting sleeping dogs lie on the dangling loose ends of Pierre Trudeau’s Constitution Act, 1982, still apparently endorsed by so many sages of the ancient Canadian confederation of 1867,  just may be rapidly approaching its best before date.

Like so many others outside Quebec, we too are becoming terminally discontent with the current fate of living in a country that could vanish at any moment — depending on the whims of someone like Pauline Marois, who apparently cares nothing for the seminal struggles of her own ancestors to establish the Canada we are all so fortunate to live in today. And there is no question that for some more constructive dialogue to begin, enough people of Quebec must somehow communicate to the rest of us that they are still interested in a Canadian future. (As they already have, perhaps, in the current federal NDP/NPD caucus!)

Has the Trudeau family anything more to tell us about the future of Canada? Or not?

At the same time, the rest of us must also communicate to the people of Quebec that we are ready at last to actually start building a strong country in which, as Stephen Harper’s own Canadian House of Commons resolution of late November 2006 so nicely put it, the Quebecois are indeed a “nation within a united Canada.”

The best news about what may finally prove to be the result of the Quebec provincial election this coming September 4 just may be that Pauline Marois’ Quebec sovereigntist last stand will finally prompt the rest of us to do what so increasingly obviously needs to be done, to guarantee a vital “free and democratic” bilingual and multicultural Canadian future, for the rest of the 21st century that lies so ominously but also so intriguingly and, in some ways, even hopefully ahead.  So let the people of Quebec decide, as they have so often in the past, to the ultimate benefit of all the people of Canada, from coast to coast to coast!

AUGUST 28 UPDATE: As further confirmation of the current main thrust of even allegedly informed popular opinion in Canada outside Quebec, the Toronto Globe and Mail is running an online poll on “How concerned are you about the possibility of Quebec separating from Canada?” As of 10 PM tonight there have apparently been more than 9000 respondents. And 71% claim they are “Not at all concerned,” 18% “A bit concerned,” and 11% “Very concerned.” A Reuters report reflects a somewhat different international point of  view, among journalists at least. See “Quebec tensions rise as separatists headed for election win.”

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