According to the latest polls, the separatist Parti Québécois (PQ) are leading with Pauline Marois at the helm. Marois advocates "sovereigntist governance" and the PQ platform states that a referendum might be held. Bernard Drainville, a prominent PQ member, recently explained the separatist strategy: "I don’t see how we can lose. If Quebec wins, it becomes stronger. If Quebec is rebuffed, the demonstration is made that there is a limit to our ability to progress in this country."
So there you have it. Either they win, and the federal government bends over backwards to appease the separatists or they lose and.... well the federal government continues to bend over backwards to appease the "distinct culture" of the Québécois.
I agree with Jane Jacobs. Quebec should separate. If the PQ win and hold a referendum where the "oui" vote
captures the majority, then I can see the future of Quebec heading in two directions.
The first direction is obvious: socialism. I believe that Quebec will never separate simply because they can't afford their socialism without equalization payments from the wealthier provinces. Although the Supreme Court has ordered a fair share of the pie if separation becomes a reality, the gross inefficiencies of socialism will plow through this money in no time.
In the long-run Quebec politicians will have to resort to either higher taxes or printing money. In the short-term they can borrow, but eventually this turns into a situation similar to Greece. A central bank separate from Canada will still only have one tool: print money. Quebec is better off to abandon the Bank of Canada and replace it with nothing.
A separate socialist Quebec will only worsen the problems the province is facing.
Provided that either a) the beliefs, attitudes and values of Québécois individuals change drastically or b) the PQ establish a benevolent dictatorship, a separate Quebec can be a beacon for free market principles. Individual freedom instead of coercion. Mutual benefit through exchange instead of exploitation via taxation and inflation. Mutual harmony and peace instead of war and class conflict. Rational economic calculation instead of calculational chaos. Incentives for production and advancement in living standards instead of capital consumption and regression of wealth.
No longer bound by the Crown, the Québécois people can base their society around voluntary association and exchange. The apparatus of compulsion and coercion known as the State can be limited and eventually dismantled. All the while keeping the "welfare" culture intact. Socialism, if defined by social services provided to everyone regardless of income, is compatible with the free society provided that the non-aggression principle is respected.
Quebec could be the first nation in the world to fully embrace the works of Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard and (to a certain extent) Jane Jacobs. Quebec could be the world's only free nation.
The odds of this happening? About as slim as Quebec separating from Canada this September.