Whenever I scan the pages of vigile.net, Parti Quebecois or other sovereigntist websites, all chock full of posts prescribing the various strategies that will ostensibly lead to sovereignty, I breathe a little sigh of relief at the utter misguided nonsense of it all.
Sovereigntists just don't get.
Like a general preparing for the next war by reliving the last war, sovereigntist leaders believe that if they just tug hard enough on the emotional heart strings of Quebec francophones, as in the 1995 referendum, they will ultimately win enough votes to put them over the top next time.
And just as Dr. Phil asks the losers on his talk show sarcastically, "How's that working for you?," the answer for sovereigntists, is not so well.
For the last seventeen years, leaders of the independence movement have been begging, pleading, threatening and frightening Quebec francophones, in the vain belief that they can recapture the spark of that almost victorious referendum.
The latest variation in this campaign of emotional manipulation is meant to frighten and guilt enough of those very stubborn francophones who are likely to vote NON in a referendum, into changing their minds with exaggerated and alarmist horror stories of language and cultural decline.
The gambit is of course doomed to failure, those who are frightened of English or who harbor disdain for Canada are already on board.
Those who need convincing, aren't afraid of Anglophones or bilingualism and are pretty much immune to these scare tactics.
And so, despite Herculean efforts, the sovereignty movement continues to stagnate and nobody but nobody in the movement can offer a viable plan to get the numbers up.
Frustratingly for sovereigntists, support numbers remain high, but not high enough and if there is anything that the1995 referendum taught us, is that a miss is as good as a mile.
As long as the sovereigntist movement continues to use language and culture as their keystone issue, they are doomed to failure.
Like giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to a corpse, no matter how hard they blow, they aren't going to get any results, yet the movement continues to press on with the same tired theme which reminds me of Albert Einstein's definition of insanity as "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"
Until sovereigntists address the elephant in the room, the one issue that keeps many, many Quebecers from voting 'OUI,' they will continue to remain in no-man's land.
That issue, the one which hangs over the independence movement like a dark shadow, is of course, the economic and financial dependence of Quebec on Canada.
To put it quite simply, many voters will never vote YES because they believe (quite rightly) that a better financial deal lies in remaining within a united Canada.
These are the voters who are the pragmatists and the realists.
They are people who under the right circumstances might vote for independence, but realize that right now, they cannot afford it economically.
They are no different from the woman looking at $1,500 shoes in the window of an expensive store or the man dreaming of himself behind the wheel of a Ferrari, only to have their good sense bring them back down to Earth as they realize that they just don't have the wherewithal to pay for it.
It is not dissimilar to the teenager who wants to move out of her parents house, but is unable to do so because she doesn't have the money, nor the prospects to support herself independently.
In the end, sovereignty will turn on the economic realities of independence, not the emotion of language.
If by chance, during the years since the last referendum, Quebec enjoyed an economic boom similar to that of Alberta, is there is any doubt that a referendum held today would be successful?
Can any reasonable observer contemplate a situation where a wealthy Quebec would remain a willing partner in a Canada where each year, the province would be required to over-contribute billions and billions of dollars of its hard earned cash to the federal coffers, in order to help out the 'poorer' Anglo provinces?
Let's be realistic, "c'est la vrai nature de Bernadette" or as we say in English "the nature of the beast' that precludes this scenario.
"It's the economy, stupid" was a slogan first used during the successful presidential campaign of Bill Clinton, running against George Bush in 1992. I cannot think of a more appropriate phrase to describe the key element in the sovereignty campaign's prospects of success or failure.
So why don't the leaders of the sovereignty movement understand that economic prosperity, not language is the key to independence?
Firstly, the leadership is made up of politicians, unionists, teachers, journalists and artists, people who never have and never will make the connection with wealth creation and success.
Secondly, it is a tough road to hoe and harder to sell.
Making wealth creation a priority means an about face in the entrenched political philosophy of the sacrosanct nanny state.
It means that people will have to work harder and accept less and more importantly it means accepting, that similar to Alberta, natural resources need to be exploited despite the environmental and social objections.
Every time I see Pauline Marois and her cohorts cry out for free university tuition or other entitlements, I realize that the sovereignty option is fading fast as a viable option.
Each time the separatists march against the Plan Nord or the exploitation of shale gas, it represents another nail in the sovereignty coffin.
The poorer Quebec gets, the more firmly attached it becomes to Canada and as long as sovereigntists concentrate on Bill 101 instead of Economics 101, they are writing their swan song.