Wednesday, 5 September 2012
Quebec is Not Going Anywhere
Separation is not going to be easy. It will require a lot of hard work and sacrifice for Quebeckers to build a new republic. A country is more than language and culture. Some things will be easy. The Republic of Quebec could adopt the Canadian Criminal Code along with rules and regulations from federal departments.
Other things will not be so simple. They would need their own customs and immigration service. There is a big border with the US they would need to cover. A department of foreign affairs would need to be set up. Embassies and consulates would have to be opened all over the world. Trade treaties would need to be negotiated.
A new currency would have to be created unless they wanted to keep using the Canadian dollar. Not a simple proposition as Canada would basically control their monetary policy. Ask Greece, Spain and Italy how effective sharing a currency with other countries is.
Further economic woes surround resource rich norther Quebec. The native population there will never accept being part of an independent Quebec. Quebec is also saddled with a very high debt. Tack on top of it their share of the national debt and that number grows. Quebec would also lose generous equalisation payments from wealthy Canadian provinces.
Then there are general societal concerns. Quebec, like most of the developed world, has an ageing population. An ageing population that expects to retire at age 65 and have the government support a comfortable lifestyle for another 20 years. Not to mention the further strain on the health care system. You you would then have an inevitable brain drain. Many high demand professionals like doctors will be quick to leave an independent Quebec to avoid the economic decline. Even some Francophone professionals will be ready to bolt as there are plenty of French speaking communities in Ontario and New Brunswick that would love to have them.
Citizens of an independent Quebec would find themselves working a lot harder for a lot less. Cheap university, dirt cheap daycare and generous EI would be almost impossible for at least a few decades. Socialised health care would even be difficult to manage.
How many Quebeckers will vote for such a future?