Quebec is not Scotland.

A week from now we will have the results of a close referendum in Scotland. And the ‘No’ side is worried. Sorry guys, it is too late now to recognize the problems. While we still expect a narrow margin for the ‘No’ side, it is emotions that seem to be running away with the day. And as much as the separatists in Quebec would like to equate it with their situation, there is less of a lesson for Quebec than you would think.

We have made the point before that Scotland is a country with thousands of years of sometimes rocky relationships with those who live to their south. Quebec has never been and is not a country. It is an integral part of Canada. Scotland does not have to separate. It can actually have as much autonomy as it wishes or needs. And the realistic Scot recognizes that Scotland benefits more as part of the larger empire. The only problem is Scottish nationalism is emotional and you best not discount it.

Quebec nationalism is tribal and held together by language. That has always been the most destructive of motivations. While the sporadic resentment is promoted by the fluently bilingual elite of notables, it plays havoc with the less educated Québécois, promoting bigotry and resentment of the ‘square-head’ English. They ignore the strengths of English and French working together that created this country. They dishonour the relationship that brought commerce and opportunity to Quebec. They need to remember that it was the combined strengths of the English and the French that built Montreal into the business centre of Canada but that leadership was lost to Toronto as the English were driven from their Quebec homes in an increasingly volatile environment promoted by ignorance in two languages.

In a shrinking world, those who pander to a false nationalism are out of step with reality. In a world banding together to promote trade and economic growth, we need new alliances and new levels of trust. We all seek to be part of a larger reality.

Scotland has built a solid position as part of Great Britain. It has a large share of the benefits. While it has the right to self determination, it would be foolish to withdraw from a winning combination that has been built over centuries.

Quebec, on the other hand, would win no benefits from a jilted Canada. In independence, the province would be isolated and alone as a quaint anachronism in a modern world. Quebec cannot grow if it cuts off its Canadian roots.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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