For those outside of Canada you may not be aware of the desire of Quebec separatists to leave Canada and become their own country. I remember when Quebec held a referendum when I was in my 20s and I called my friends in Montreal to say please vote no, we don’t want you to leave.

Many things have changed over the last 20 years. The feeling from Canadians outside of Quebec is less concerned or caring. Talking to many people the feeling is …. Be gone.

What I find fascinating is how this is being sold to the Quebec people. PQ leader Pauline Marois says that should Quebec achieve sovereignty at that point it would adopt Canadian monetary policy and keep our Canadian dollar. It also wants a seat on the Bank of Canada’s top decision-making body as part of some kind of economic union. There would be no borders or passports.

It is true that technically a country does not permission to use another country’s currency. Ecuador, Panama and El Salvador use the U.S. dollar, for example.

Attitudes have hardened in Canada towards Quebec.

I heard a great analogy and that is that Quebec who currently receives a large portion of transfer payments from the federal government with little return back to Canada, is like a 35 year-old child who still lives at home, declares their independence yet wants mom and dad to pay for their visa bill, cell phone and entertainment. They want their cake and eat it to. Unfortunately this will not be the case.

I want to share some responses that were printed in the National Post on Monday, March 17, 2014:

“Quebec is not Canada’s Crimea. Almost all Canada’s major financial institutions and large companies have removed their head offices from the province. Nor do we have a large naval base in Montreal. Why do we even care about Quebec wanting to secede? These referendums will always be hanging over the heads of all Canadians, until Quebec actually leaves the country.” Arthur, Toronto, Ontario

“No one wins in a divorce. Quebecers should be told that they will lose $4-billion in transfer payments, will not get to keep their Canadian passports and will not be able to continue using the Canadian dollar. There should be no sharing of armed forces, trade agreements or free piggy-backing of any Canadian services, including foreign embassies and diplomatic representatives. Canadian government buildings on Quebec soil should be purchased from Canada. Quebecers should be aware that a “Yes” vote would mean shooting themselves in the foot. With sovereignty, there’s no gain without pain.” Madelaine, Stoney Creek, Ontario

“If a ‘successful’ referendum leads to Quebec declaring itself a sovereign country, I would be one of many Western Canadians who would offer to help them pack their bags. The economic disaster that would ensue in Quebec would be partially offset by them reneging on their share of Canada’s national debt. Expect to hear, “We didn’t agree to this debt, so we are not paying it!” Don’t say I didn’t warn you!” Bill, Kamloops, BC

“The time has come for the reformation of Canada as one nation and one people with a single official common language from coast to coast. Let us leave behind our obsolete colonial divisions, which are little more than memories of a time of muskets and moccasins, and embrace the true challenges of our times as a single, strong country.” Iain, Spruce Grove, Alberta

Many Canadians are ready to let Quebec go.

I hope that Quebec does not succeed in separating. I say that with the caveat that once they fail that they turn their attention to see how they can be part of Canada. For me, I like that we are diverse and speak different languages. If we lived in Europe we would likely speak 2, 3 maybe 4 languages.

One thing that stood out to me is the feeling I get when I talk to youth about change. The youth want change, demand change, yet sometimes do not have any idea of what this will look like. Quebec believes that they will leave Canada yet reap the benefits from this country. That will not happen. If Quebec truly wants to separate it better take some time and really think things through, come up with a plan that can be executed and bring the success they are looking for. In other words, get off the couch and start being responsible for choices and actions.

Time will tell what will be.

I hope Quebecers take the time to realize with all its faults that Canada is still one of the best countries in the world to live.

For most of us in the Western world we have a lot to be grateful for. This weekend embrace your country and the good that it has to offer.

All my love,

Sandra

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