Presently I will take the metro and head out for a look at the St. John Baptiste parade. Despite the lovely sunny weather and all the fleur des lis fluttering in the wind, this 2007 version cannot be a happy time for die-hard separatists.
The Bloc Quebecois in more irrelevant by the day and its leader has never recovered from his aborted attempt to run for the P.Q. leadership. The P.Q. is in third place in the National Assembly. Its raison d’etre, independence, is in the tank. A poll last week showed that 81% of French Quebeckers do not think there will be a seperate Quebec in the next 10 years. The hoary beards like Parizeau and Landry are well over the hill and young Quebeckers are focussed on their careers while enjoying the best economic times in the province in the last 30 years within the federal system.
There is also some anecdotal evidence that, even in solidly French areas, separatism is on the wane. I have just come back from my first visit to the Gaspe. Would you believe there are more Canadian flags flying there than there are Catholic churches. And almost always the maple leaf is given pride of place over the fleur des lis. I found it both astonishing and heartening.
It’s true that Quebec Liberals, unless they change their leader, will lose the next election. In my view, the ADQ and the P.Q. have an equal chance of winning and forming the next government. However, if Pauline Marois were to win her main platform would be to provide good government, not to push separation.
It’s also true there will always be a separatist element in the province. Happily that element is at low ebb and destined to stay that way for the foreseeable future.