Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Federalisme Rentable: Landry signs up

This Magazine Staff

Reading up on a bit of Quebec history a while ago, I came across an interesting comment by an old-school hard-line separatist named Pierre Bourgault. He denounced most Quebecers, including most of his fellow PQ supporters, as being not really committed to sovereignty for Quebec, despite an apparent rise in support for sovereignty.
“I don’t believe it,” said Bourgault. “They still care too much what the rest of Canada thinks. When you are a true sovereignist, you no longer care what they think.”
I’ve always liked this comment, and I thought about it yesterday as I read in the local papers that support for sovereignty was back up to around 50%. Yet in that same paper appeared a bizarre article, in which PQ leader Bernard Landry denounces Jean Charest for causing a breach in the Canadian federation.
Commenting on Ontario’s newfound sense of grievance, Landry said: “Since the Council of the Federation was created, relations between Quebec and the federation have never been so bad, and even between the provinces.”
I find the fact that Landry seems to care how things go in the federation touching, though a bit odd. According to his party’s official platform, he should want things to go even worse for the federation, since the point of secession would be to destroy it. So why the concern?
The answer is pretty obvious. Landry, like 95% of supposed sovereignists, doesn’t really want to separate, because that would spell the end of the billions in bribe money that Ontario’s 75 Liberal MPs force the rest of the country into paying to Quebec. But now Ontario is finally getting pissed off, and Landry is worried.
To paraphrase Pierre Bourgault: A true sovereignist wouldn’t care for the money. In fact, he would make a point of turning it down. But Landry isn’t a true sovereignist — he’s an advocate of profitable federalism, in the Robert Bourrassa mold.

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