Recently Michael Fortier proposed an idea to hold a referendum in Quebec every 15 years. At first glance you have to wonder on which side of the bed did he wake up on when he voiced this idea. Enough about Mr. Fortier and let’s examine this a little further.
The first thing that comes to mind when I first heard this idea was there goes the real estate market in Quebec and more specifically in Montreal. Could you imagine the years prior to a referendum, say two years before the actual vote? The speculation on which way the vote may go alone, will drive people to start looking at their options. Which of course is not only limited to the population packing their bags, but more importantly investment in this province as a whole and knowing that we have to do this all over again fifteen years later. We can only look at what the threat of separation does to this region and the country as a whole every time the separatist party is elected and surprise, here comes another referendum.
What can be accomplished with this? Well from a separatist party point of view (Parti Quebecois) they would have to shift their attention to the real issues of everyday life that affect the population (not a bad thing), or disappear from the political scene. Furthermore the so-called Federal Liberals of Quebec, who are currently in power, get a good chunk of their votes from a population that is terrified. If they don’t vote for the liberals, they risk a chance of breaking up the country, and the Liberals know that, hence they take that chunk of the electoral vote for granted. The Liberals also wouldn’t like the idea for another simple reason which is they would lose most of their bargaining power every time they knocked on the door of the federal government to get what they want. They would no longer hold a gun in their hands, at least not a loaded one. From this perspective both these parties I’m sure, really don’t want to go there. Then again they can still spin this, just prior to such a dateline the government in power could still use the threat along the same lines however with a little more caution.
However from another perspective this idea would open up the doors for more parties to be heard and of course, this would give the population a real choice, forcing not only the current major parties to evolve but the political scene in Quebec as a whole.
For argument sake if they were to go ahead and hold a referendum every fifteen years, I suppose it would be okay to continue this trend even after a yes vote. Maybe in the next vote they can vote yes to joining the Canadian Federation again? I mean come on, when is enough, enough. We have had two referendums already, when will it be put to rest? after three, four, seven referendums? I suppose we can start the process all over again to reverse the last decision.
I think there are better events and things to focus on, every fifteen years. Maybe we can upgrade our medical facilities or our schools, hold a major campaign to attract more people here who can invest in our economy, or even hold a referendum on what freedoms can be given back to the people of Quebec.