Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Quebec and backwards thinking

Political science "experts" are warning that Quebec won't much like it if the federal government goes through with a plan to add parliamentary seats in suburban Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. Notice anything missing? That's right, Quebec.

So MY question is twofold - what did they expect Quebec to think, and what does Quebec expect will eventually happen, seriously.

The fact of the matter is that Quebec's population has largely been outgrown by other areas of Canada, in the past 5 years gaining an average of 1/2% per year of population while Ontario (.8% per year), BC (1.1% per year) and Alberta (2.1% per year). This in itself lends to Ontario, BC and Alberta being underrepresented in Parliament. It also shows that the "West of Canada" is growing much faster than Quebec is, meaning that if this trend continues, the West SHOULD gain more political strength and voice to the detriment to Quebec and Atlantic Canada (which also is overrepresented and has largely shown negative growth over the past 5 years). This shouldn't be surprising to Quebec that it will lose power if it loses ground to the rest of Canada in population growth.

The second question is largely a political one. This country was ruled by a Quebec native for the better part of 4 decades. It has pandered to Quebec separatists, it has given Quebec everything it asked for and then some. For my entire lifetime, the prevailing opinion was that all majorities included a substantial contingent from Quebec. If this plan goes through, then it makes it much easier for a majority government to be formed without substantial representation from Quebec, and that will surely scare the hell out of Quebecors and the Bloc Quebecois the first time they find out that they have become irrelevant, not because they aren't a substantial caucus in Parliament, but because they aren't represented in a majority government.

The day that Quebec does not have substantial representation in a federal government will spell the death knell for the Bloc Quebecois. Think of it. A prime minister who can tell Quebec to "get bent" the first time that they cry for more, more, and yet more. Mr Harper has tried to appease Quebec. He has tried to win them over, but the fact of the matter is that they aren't buying what he's selling, and as such this plan will allow him to make decisions for the good of Canada without having to worry about what Quebec thinks. They've largely brought this on themselves.

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