Wednesday, January 29, 2014
The Trouble with Sovereignty, Part 3....How Many Will Leave?
I think we can all agree that some Quebecers will choose to move, but there's no accurate way to know how many.
To my knowledge, there's been no real survey polling Quebecers over the issue and even if there was, I can't see it being very accurate because I'm not sure that the majority of people inclined to leave or on the fence have made up their mind with any degree of certainty.
Now those who are working tirelessly towards the goal of Quebec independance have done so with a certain blind faith that things will all work out, all I can say is good luck with that.
The PQ, and other nationalists have never published any sovereignty manifesto in which they outline a formula or plan to make Quebec a financially viable society after the split.
I'll let readers speculate as to why the sovereignty movement has never undertaken such an effort, but suffice to say that sovereigntists probably haven't really given it much thought, leading me to conclude that few have faith in the chances of sovereignty ever happening and hold onto the hope in the same vein as those awaiting the Rapture.
However, of those who are in blindly in favour of sovereignty the details aren't important, and they hope to cross that bridge when the time comes.
At any rate, let us return to the question about how many Quebecers will leave.
It is reasonable to say that in the event of sovereignty, the new country of Quebec will have some serious belt tightening to do, but unlike others, I'm not so pessimistic that it cannot be done, there remains so much fat in Canadian and Quebec budget that the effort is not impossible.
I'm going to write another post later on describing what Quebec can do to remain solvent post Canada and you'll probably be surprised that it is not mission impossible.
I know most readers will be surprised to read that opinion, but let's reserve judgment and leave that discussion until later.
But the fly in the ointment is the number of people who will leave, because if too many leave, nothing but nothing can be done to save the furniture, as they say in French.
I shall leave readers to speculate in the comments section as to how many Quebecers will go, but one thing we should consider is that after the initial exodus of those who won't stay in an independent Quebec under any circumstances, there'll be more who will stay to see how things work out and there lies the drama to be played out.
Clearly conditions in a post Canada Quebec will be a determining factor.
And so I want to draw your attention to a scenario that absolutely nobody dares discuss, the one in which Canada gives Quebec the ultimate shaft, once the negotiations are said and done and Canada and Quebec part company.
First, let us go back to the American war of Independence, where after the colony's victory over the British, a certain number of colonists rejected the newly liberated country of the United States and chose to return to Great Britain or Canada, where over 50,000 people immigrated under generous conditions including a gift of 200 acres of farmland for each family.
These people were given the honorific of "United Empire Loyalist' and their Quebec legacy can be found mostly in the Eastern Townships where many settled and mostly contributed to the Township's English component.
So what if Canada, post independence pulled the same stunt, offering wildly advantageous conditions for Quebecers and more importantly Quebec businesses to relocate to Canada, it would make complete sense, after all, Quebec would now be a foreign country and fair game for a raid.
What if Canada eliminated dual-citizenship, telling Quebecers to either move to Canada or lose their citizenship?
Let us consider the effect of the threat of the loss of citizenship coupled with generous conditions that Canada would bestow upon Quebecers who jumped ship.
If Canada did as the British did in doting entitlements to the United Empire Loyalists, I shudder to think of the consequences.
What if Canada told Quebecers that they could move to Canada and be free of federal taxes for ten years and what if the provinces did likewise?
It would be a good deal for Canada which could eliminate immigration for a few years in exchange for those productive Quebecers.
Now let us just consider the commercial and business side, where in an effort to lure giant corporations out of Quebec, generous tax advantages and employee re-location plans could wreak havoc on the Quebec economy, regardless of how many actually left.
Bombardier, CAE, CGI, Pratt and Whitney, would be be the first targeted, gutting Quebec's high tech industry.
The much vaunted video-game industry wouldn't be that hard to pry away with the right incentives.
Quebec would be in the unenviable position in having to match the offers, but it would mean a disastrous drop in taxes.
Every company which would leave for Canada would force employees, even those not inclined to move to Canada, to make a difficult choice, that is, to remain in an uncertain Quebec without a job or or move to Canada under generous relocation conditions.
I shudder to think of the devastating consequences and sovereigntists should face this very likely and thoroughly frightening scenario.
It is a sovereigntist tenet that Canada doesn't and never has played fair with Quebec and has in fact callously stabbed Quebec in the back in the past à la Night of the long Knives, so it's hard for them to pooh-pooh the scenario I've outlined above and pretend that Canada will somehow respect Quebec's integrity and not poach.
And so readers, I ask again, how many Quebecers will leave?
And secondly, at what point will the exodus be fatal?
Posted by Editor on 1/29/2014 09:00:00 AM