Tuesday, April 29, 2014

QUEBEC SOVEREIGNTY AS SEEN BY A GRADE 8 STUDENT

Je me souviens is the provincial slogan of Quebec. 

Quebec is the second largest province in Canada and accounts for one fourth of Canada’s population. It is the only province to have French as its official language. 

Since the 1960s Quebec has gained little bits of sovereignty such as: they are the only province to collect their own income taxes, they run their own welfare program, and they have their own pension fund.

Quebec’s sovereignty or independence is basically the idea of Quebec being its own country separate from Canada. You may be thinking that this idea is ridiculous, but the possibility of Quebec becoming its own separate nation is quite real. Over the last 50 years there have been a number of three provincial polls asking this question. Over 40 percent of Quebecois voted yes to independence with the majority of yes voters being in southern Quebec. The majority of no voters centre in the northeast.

This question has dodged federal politicians for 128 years. What does Quebec want? According to Quebecois they want to be “maitre chez nous” which roughly translates into “masters of our own house,” they have been paying rent for many years and now want to buy the house.

But the real question here is, why would anyone want to leave Canada? 

Canada is one of the most peaceful countries on earth; it is renowned for its educational system and free healthcare. From what I understand the only reason they want to leave is because of the language barrier. What I learned is that Canada as a nation is united by the difference and diversity of our many people. What would Canada be like if we were all the same? 

And besides, if Quebec really did separate who would get a passport? Would they join the UN? Or would they even be able to? And what about the tiny maritime provinces? Just separated from the rest of the country? There are many questions left unanswered. 

Parti Quebecois assures the citizens that these questions are unimportant. And the real goal is just to achieve separation.

For the first time in over a hundred years the map of North America will have to be rewritten and all the globes and maps will become obsolete costing these companies which produce those millions.

What kind of example will we be setting for other countries who are striving for separation or independence such as Hong Kong, Scotland, Tibet, and Macau. If a nation as strong and united as Canada can split why can’t they?

According to other provinces, but mostly in the west, Quebec is already very independent, and treated uniquely and differently than other provinces. They think that Quebec is already a nation inside a nation. But at the same time think that Quebec should be treated equally with the other provinces.

To really understand the Quebecois’ plea, we have to first take a look at the history of Quebec. Quebec was the result of the British winning over the French in the Seven Years’ War. In Quebec this war is referred to as “The War of Conquest.” However, instead of making the Quebecois Anglophones and implementing the Anglican Church, they made Quebec special. Quebec was allowed to speak French, keep the Catholic Church and schools, and using the Napoleonic Law instead of British Law. This was mainly because they did not want the Quebecois to side with the rebellious 13 colonies. The result of Britain’s new found power over Quebec left France with very few colonies and marked the end of the French Colonial Empire leaving France with only a few territories mostly centered in the Caribbean. This left Quebec thinking that it was an accident of history, this is not the case.

Quebec is one of the most historically rich places in North America with a lot of tourism. They have a very significant culture similar to Europe. If you want to go visit a place that is similar to France just go visit St. Pierre and Miquelon.

Finally, for my final point, I would just like to say that Quebec should not leave Canada, even if it is different, because the differences unite us.

Besides, isn’t separation more of a Czechoslovakian thing?