The Nature Of Quebec’s Failed Separation Attempts In 1980 And 1995

1941 words - 8 pages

On Monday, October 30th, 1995, citizens of Canada’s largest province gathered to settle an issue which had been plaguing Canada for many years. The province of Quebec, the only French majority province in Canada, held a referendum, which is a public vote on any matter, concerning the issue of sovereignty. This issue has been a recurring theme over the years, since Réné Lévesque initiated the Parti Quebecois (PQ) in 1968. The Parti Quebecois is the backbone of the Quebec separatist movement, it is the most prominent political party in Quebec which reveals the imminent possibility of a Canada without Quebec. In spite of the power of numbers which is supposedly working in Quebec’s favour regarding separation, Quebec’s desire to separate from Canada is simply a show of bravado without substance. Quebec cannot feasibly separate from Canada because the basis of the proposed separation through the referendum, is very ambiguous, furthermore, Quebec is not economically self-sufficient and ultimately, the presence of the large amount of ‘Non’ voters further prevents this fantastical notion of separation from becoming a reality.
The basis of trust in any nation is vested in the clarity with which the government relates vital issues to its citizens. Quebec fails this standard in that the referendum which the Parti Quebecois crafted intentionally conceals the answers to vital questions posed by Quebecers and Federalists alike. Prior to the referendum being held, the Parti Quebecois systematically planned the strategy for the sovereignty referendum and publically revealed it on December 6th, 1994. This strategy has three fundamental elements which clearly reveal the lack of complete honesty within the Parti Quebecois concerning sovereignty. The three components of the referendum strategy are the introduction of Bill 1, which is entitled, An Act Recognizing the Sovereignty of Quebec, consequently, the strategy requires the Bill to be finalized through a referendum and to conclude the matter, public consultation must be sought. Bill 1 blatantly declares that “Quebec is a sovereign country” (Young, 16) based on the sovereignty-association model. The sovereignty- association model is a sham for the sovereignty movement of the PQ in the 1980 referendum. In 1980, Jacques Parizeau emphasised the model of a completely sovereign Quebec which has no ties whatsoever with Canada. The results of the 1980 referendum proved the lack of reception which the PQ’s definition of sovereignty had among Quebecers because “41.5% voted ‘Oui’ to separation, while 56.5% voted ‘Non’” (Kizilos, 56). With this understanding in mind, many Quebecers are confused concerning what the PQ insinuates by the term ‘sovereignty-association’. Some believe the sovereignty-association suggests that Quebec would continue to use Canada’s passports and currency while maintaining separate control over its domestic and foreign affairs. The fact that Quebecers do not fully comprehend the meaning of the...

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