Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Sleeping Giant Awakens

The Globe and Mail reports upon the good work that the sponsorship program has done to burnish Canada's image in Quebec:
Quebec — Support for sovereignty in Quebec has broken through the 50-per-cent barrier to its highest level since 1998 amid growing controversy over the sponsorship scandal. A new poll shows 54 per cent of decided voters would support sovereignty in a referendum that offered an economic and political partnership with the rest of Canada -- the same question asked in the Oct. 30, 1995, referendum.

Polls over the past year asking similar questions showed support of between 44 and 49 per cent for sovereignty.

The survey, conducted by Léger Marketing for The Globe and Mail and Le Devoir, comes as a new controversy erupted in Quebec after Michel Robert, the province's Chief Justice, said separatists should not be appointed to the bench.

That's the bad news. Here's the worse news:

This survey, conducted April 21 to 24, shows 76 per cent of voters felt betrayed by the actions of the former prime minister and the Liberal Party of Canada after the 1995 referendum on sovereignty.

That opinion was shared by a majority of federalists regardless of their political allegiance, according to the poll.

"The sponsorship program, which contributed to undermining support for sovereignty between 1997 and 2002, is now having the opposite effect," said pollster Jean-Marc Léger. "In fact it is helping rebuild the sovereignty movement."

The survey found 37 per cent of respondents said the scandal and the allegations at the Gomery Commission motivated their decision to support sovereignty. Even among those who described themselves as federalist, 13 per cent said the inquiry would motivate them to vote for sovereignty

Betrayal and humiliation have been common themes exploited by the separatist movement over the past 40 years, to good effect.

Federalist Quebecois have been betrayed by the Liberal Party and their confreres in the movement; all of them now will be seen as corrupt swindlers in it not for the good of Canada but for what they can milk from Ottawa's teat.

All Quebecois, indeed, now feel that les maudits anglais see them either as crooks out to steal their money or idiots who can be bought off with a few cheap baubles.

The federalist forces in Quebec now no longer have a strong, respected leader or organization. The federal Liberals have been utterly discredited amongst the Quebecois, and are now reduced to a largely anglophone and allophone West Island rump. The provincial Liberals are likely to meet the same fate under a leader who has never really been regarded as a real Quebecois. The Conservatives may as well not exist as this point.

The separatists, on the other hand, have never had a more effective and respected leader than Gilles Duceppe. He has not become a polarizing figure within Quebec, and he also enjoys great respect in the rest of Canada--an achievement that even Rene Levesque was never able to accomplish.

Secession will almost certainly come to pass if there is a referendum within the next few years.

The irony is that it will have come about because of two initiatives to prevent it: the Clarity Act, and the sponsorship program.


Warwick said...

Are these the same Liberal A-holes who tell us that only they can represent the federalist option in quebec?

If so the country should break up.

Luckily enough, the Liberals are lying (as usual.) The ADQ has endorsed Harper and other Quebecers will do so once there is critical mass (which will be soon.) The Conservatives will replace the Liberals in Quebec (if the Liberals haven't cost us the country already.)

The one consolation prize in the loss of our country is that most of the worst Liberals are from Quebec and they'd have to keep them.

deaner said...

"A new poll shows 54 per cent of decided voters would support sovereignty in a referendum that offered an economic and political partnership with the rest of Canada..."

So What?

That isn't what they are going to be voting on, is it? No doubt, in the world of intentions and looking ahead to a continuing fractious relationship between Quebec and the rest of the country, this is bad news - but this is not on offer, despite the BQ/PQ's hopes and dreams and no matter how any referendum question is put, so there is no point in chasing it.

I don't know why Leger (et al) keeps reporting (and conducting) this sort of poll - if I was asked if I would vote for PMPM if it meant a permanent exemption from personal income tax and a new Bimmer every third year (with all the trimmings, thanks), I would say "yes," too. If asked if I would vote for the Libs in the real world, my answer would change, as might those Quebec residents who were questioned for this poll. The real question is "would you vote in favour of secession, knowing that Quebec would have to re-negotiate all economic and political relationships with Canada and the US, including the determination of what territory is part of a separate Quebec?" - and if the "yes" responses to that question start to increase, then we know the country is gone.



Loyalist said...

There's always been an assumption that a good many Quebeckers vote for sovereignty while thinking that it means Quebec will still be part of Canada.

This claim, I think, grossly underestimates the intelligence of the Quebec electorate.

It doesn't require a degree in political science or international law to understand that what the secessionist movement in Quebec wants is an independent country.

Whatever they may call it, the end result is the same.