With Quebec now facing an election where it looks increasingly likely that the separatist party will not only win a second term, but a majority government to boot, Anglo and Franco relations are being strained like never before. Separatism is poised to make its third great comeback. The question is whether any Canadians will be willing to carry the flag this time.
Quebec's sovereigntists pretend to want independence. Until recently, federal politicians pretended to believe them.
But with the Parti Quebecois poised to return to power after the September 4 election, the old pretenses are breaking down. Separatism is now a hard path, involving great sacrifices, reduced standards of living, more work, and fewer social benefits -- all at a time when PQ supporters yearn to hear a message of no sacrifices, improved standards of living, less work, and more social benefits. Which is precisely why Quebec separatism is effectively dead.
A March Leger Marketing poll found that 45 per cent of Quebecers responded that they would prefer that Quebec become an independent country. If that figure accurately reflects how Quebecers will vote in the next sovereignty referendum, it is 90 per cent of the way to 50 per cent plus one vote.
A majority of Canadians outside Quebec think the country would fare just as well or better without the francophone province, while almost three-quarters feel the province will never be satisfied with...