A hollow victory for new Quebec Premier Pauline Marois. Removal of the Canadian flag from the upper chamber was to be expected of the Parti Quebecois. It has been the party’s approach whenever elected to carry out the business of Quebec.
What is telling about this particular decision is that it stirs up little spontaneous anger or frustration in the rest of the Canada. I received not one email either protesting or acknowledging the PQ action. Not one!
Ms. Marois and her entire caucus were required though to swear allegiance to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in order to take their seats in the National Assembly. That shouldn’t be interpreted as some kind of symbolic victory for federalism.
The fact is that for many, if not most Quebecers, what happens outside the boundaries of Quebec is of little or no interest. Quebec is increasingly insular and distant from things Canadian, or for that matter American.
I will be addressing the issue briefly on Saturday’s program and am sure I’ll hear that if the new Quebec government can do without displaying the national symbol in the legislature then it should also be willing to do without the multiples of billions of dollars in transfer payments the ROC annually directs toward Quebec.
The fact is that while Ms. Marois heads a minority government she does not have support for a sovereignty referendum. As distant as Quebecers may be from what takes place in the rest of Canada, they have, according to pollsters little interest in engaging in Sovereignty referendum III.
It is unfortunate really that Ms. Marois immediately felt it necessary to underscore her fundamental opposition for Quebec’s continued inclusion in Canada by removing the national flag. Besides, support for sovereignist parties in Quebec is nowhere near as solidly predictable as in years previous. Just ask Gilles Duceppe and the current federal Bloc Quebecois caucus of two.