Canadian National Unity
Canadian National Unity has been a serious debate to all Canadians for close to three decades
now. Starting with French President Charles DeGaulle, who in visiting Quebec told a large
crowd in Motreal, “Vivre le Quebec libre!” or, “Live in a free Quebec.” This one event started
the whole modern separtist movement in Canada, and brought us to where we are now. They
went from one person with an idea then, to 2 provincial parties, and a federal one as well, now.
This is a very serious issue, that could end up in the destuction of an amazing country. It’s not like they’re bluffing, we’ve had two Referendums on this issue (one almost resulting in a Yes vote), and numerous Constitutional meetings to tweak what we live by to be in tune with the wants and needs of many Quebekers, but it hasn’t worked to this point, and has been a long, stressful, but interesting affair to this point.
A little background is needed in order to understand this whole ordeal. The Parti Quebecois is a provincial party in Quebec City. The party was formed by René Lévesque, who was its leader from 1968 to 1982. In that time, the PQ formed the government in Quebec from 1976 to 1982.
The next leader was Pierre-Marc Johnson, followed in 1988 by Jacques Parizeau. Mr Parizeau was leader until 1996. During that period, the PQ formed the government from 1994-1996. There was a second referendum on sovereignty in 1995 (cost $63.5 million): 60% to 40%.
The current leader of the PQ is Lucien Bouchard. The PQ currently forms the provincial government in Quebec City. The Referendum of 1995 saw one of the closest votes possible as the No side squeaked out with a 50.6% to 49.4% victory.
The Bloc Quebecois is a separatist party in the federal Parliament in Ottawa. The party was formed by Lucien Bouchard, who was its leader from 1991 to early 1996. The next leader of the party was Michel Gauthier. After a convention in March, 1997, the next and current leader of the party was Gilles Duceppe.The BQ formed Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in the House of Commons during the last Parliament. However, after the 1997 federal election, after getting 37.7% of Quebec's vote, it lost second place status, and now sits as an official party in the House of Commons.
Prime Minister Chrétien sits atop the Federalist side. The longer Mr Chrétien governs, the closer he seems to hold his cards. A very few advisors surround him, giving him aid and have special tasks in order to save the country as a whole.
Minister Stéphane Dion heads this department, and is also President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada (PCO). He is really the man hired to talk to Bouchard and Duceppe and really save our country from a federal aspect.
Minister Anne McLellan handles the hottest potato of all: the Supreme Court Reference on Quebec secession, which is the hallmark of the Feds' tough-love Plan B strategy. The decision sets the legal parameters for any further secession attempt - a clear referendum question and a clear majority (as opposed to a simple majority of 50% +1) are now the law of the land.
The Quebec Liberal Party pro Canadian with a twist of Quebec nationalism, this party went digital in early 1997. Daniel Johnson announced in March, 1998 that he would step down as leader, and Jean Charest has taken his place. The party lost the 1994 provincial election by only a couple percentage points, but actually won the last election in terms of vote percentage - a big boost for unity. They currently hold 48 National Assembly seats.
Vision Nationale, The new federalist party, led by Jean Briere, will take a stand against any sovereignty referendums, while promoting bilingualism in Quebec. The party opposes distinct society status for the province. Briere wants to tap into the 2.4 million French Quebecers who voted No in the last referendum, and fight a perception in the French media that wanting to stay in Canada is radical, while being a separatist is normal.
Throughout the world, Canada is known as a tranquil, economically prosperous, multicultural society. Yet, in one of its provinces, Quebec, a number of people are