Monday, April 07, 2014


I wonder if this marks the end of a serious Quebec separatist movement. For a while I thought an independent Quebec would inevitably happen eventually. I thought that because separatism had close to a majority support in the province and the policy seemed to be that Quebec should hold a binding referendum on independence, with a majority of "yes" votes meaning independence and a majority of "no" votes meaning they would wait a little while and then have another referendum. Given how close the votes were in 1995, it just seemed like a matter of time that simple simple fluctuations in turnout would eventually deliver a win for the ouis.

But I'm not sure if that's true anymore. Canadian immigration policy has made Quebec much more diverse than it used to be. Instead of an electorate divided between people with deep Franco-Canadian roots and the descendants of Anglos who moved in later, there are now a lot of immigrants and children of immigrants who decided at one point to moved to Canada because of its stability and prosperity. Unlike the french speakers whose roots go back generations, immigrants, even francophone immigrants, are not as moved by Quebec nationalism.

Independence just isn't that popular anymore. Even the Parti Québécois knew it. That's why they ran on a promise not to have another referendum anytime soon, notwithstanding the fact that the purpose of the party was originally to pursue independence.