October 27, 2005

Quote of the Day

"Because of Quebec, modern Canada has never had a Reagan, a Thatcher or a Menzies. And now we don't have a Bush, a Blair or a Howard. I have come to realize that we are paying too high a price to keep them part of the family. I have much more in common with my American, British and Australian cousins than I do with them."

By Michael J. Smith, in comments to this post below.

Posted by James C. Bennett at October 27, 2005 04:25 PM

Our English cousins will tell us Canada is better off without a Blair. But the larger point is well-taken.

Posted by: Lex at October 27, 2005 07:35 PM

Blair has his problems but he's not a Chretien or a Martin.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at October 27, 2005 08:58 PM

Thanks, Jim. I'm honoured for winning the daily quote contest. Anyone who knows anything about Canadian politics, knows that no party can form a majority federal government without winning the province of Quebec. This has always been a major problem for Conservatives from English Canada who do not share Quebec's tradition of pacifism, government largesse and state intervention in the economy. And so what you invariably get is a monopoly on power by the Liberals who are the only federalists able to win a substantial number of seats in Quebec, and therefore the only party to convincingly play the national unity card outside it. It's what I would call the triangulation of power, where the federalist left is able to permanently hold at bay both the Quebec separatists and the federalist right from winning government. Only Mulroney had the skill to put together a coalition of Quebec nationalists and federal conservatives, and that little experiment ended in complete disaster in 1993. I'm afraid there is no political solution to this quandary short of a national breakup.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at October 27, 2005 10:31 PM

BTW, as far as Blair's strengths and weaknesses go, I believe this post here called Blair's Folly puts him in the proper light.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at October 27, 2005 11:19 PM

The triangulation you describe is the answer to the question of why Canada is an outlier in many mappings of Anglosphere national positions. Mark Steyn's description of Canada as a "semi-detached member of the Anglosphere" is just a more comedic way of saying the same thing.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at October 27, 2005 11:57 PM

On the whole most countries are better off without Blair, if for no other reason (and there are plenty) than because he is taking this country further and further out of the Anglosphere.

Posted by: Helen at October 28, 2005 03:05 AM

Hi all:
Well don't worry. Gievn Qubec's demographic collapse it'll no longer have the same influence as in the past and then the province can be safely ignored.


Posted by: xavier at October 28, 2005 07:56 AM

Quebec will always be the centre of attention for as long as the Liberals enjoy their juggernaut on power. Even with a declining population, they are guaranteed to keep all 75 of their federal parliamentary seats.

As Mark Steyn said, Canada has one foot in the Anglosphere and one foot out. As long as federal politics means catering to Quebec's needs, I'm afraid this will always be the case.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at October 28, 2005 09:35 AM

Speaking strictly as an Anglospherist -- Yes! It's an "-ism"! -- I say to Quebec, along with Gen. De Gaulle: "Vive le Québec libre!" And as a Chicagoan, I add, "... and don't let the swinging door hit your *ss on the way out."

Posted by: Lex at October 28, 2005 09:54 AM

The Quebec situation reminds me a bit of the Czechoslovak situation -- the Slovak politicians kept asking for more benefits under threat of secession, then one day the Czechs called their bluff. This has worked out to the benefit off the Czechs, and perhaps ultimately to the Slovaks as well. I think many Anglo-Canadians are coming around to the attitude that they don't really care whether Quebec goes or not. This will be a significant change in Canadian politics.

The other interesting development would be a realistic outreach by Quebec sovereignists to anglophone Quebeckers. This group has been solidly, even desperately Liberal at the polls for decades despite the fact that many of them would probably vote conservative in other circumstances. The PQ has had nothing to offer them except an unappealing sort of dhimmitude. If they were to move toward more of a Swiss confederal model for Quebec rather than a French Republican one (with, ironically, anglophones in the position of Swiss francophones) they might actuually get some interest.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at October 28, 2005 10:31 AM

I should also point out that Same Sex Marriage would never have become law in Canada without Quebec MP's voting as a block. Canadians are actually much more conservative than they are given credit for. Even Ontario, that bastion oasis of Canadian Liberalism, gave neo-conservative Mike Harris back-to-back provincial majority governments between 1995 and 2004. Conservatism can win big in Canada minus La Belle Province.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at October 28, 2005 10:41 AM

The federal Librals re nothing if astutue politicians, if Quebec can no longer guarantee its lock as the dominant part, the Liberals will jettison the province very quickly. Watch the part suddenly become very interested in Western alienation.

I remember he had dicussed this in the past. I'm in favour of it but given the volkisch notions that the PQ members subscribe to, they'll won't
Look at the current micro controvery about Michaelle Jean's husband and his complaints of being a 'traitor' to the separatist cause.
The PQ leadership since Levesque has been mediocre to downright awful.

The Americans and the Anglo Canadians would recognize Quebec separation but not before stripping the province of the St Lawerence seaway, Churchil Falls and a few other places that the JCPC awarded to Quebec. Hence my deep distrust of the separatists as they never thought through the consequences of separation; The Americans who would act as the super power acting in its own interest (as its should) and the rest of Canada would succumb to a sanctimious well you're gone but it'll cost ya attitude.

Posted by: xavier at October 28, 2005 12:38 PM
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