How to define victory in the struggle for independence is very difficult at the best of times. I get asked directly and see online comments such as, “There’s no point in trying for separation since it will never happen.”
Any ardent separatist understands that it really is a matter of the conditions being just so, and the possibility is that may not happen in the near future until those conditions are met. But we have to look at other examples for inspiration and there is one very close to us…Quebec.
Every Westerner complains that Quebec enjoys favoured status in Confederation without understanding exactly why that is. The Federal government has always dealt with Quebec from a position of fear. Even as far back as the American Revolution, the British Government granted “les Habitant” special rights and entrenched their language in British North America if they would not side with the Americans in the American Revolution. Quebec separatists changed the name of Dorchester Blvd in Montreal to Rene Levesque Boulevard thinking they were striking a blow to the English. But they did so wrongly for it was Sir Guy Carleton, First Baron Dorchester, who saved French Canada from assimilation by the United States. Quebecers would today speak a version of French more like the Cajuns in Louisiana than the French we hear today.
So the trend goes very far back. Agitations by Quebec separatists in recent times have netted gains that mark it far above the rest of Canada. If Justin Trudeau considers Quebecers above other Canadians, he has a point. Where else in Canada can a province create legislation that effectively makes a population sub-group second class citizens and imposes fines and possible jail terms for displaying a sign in anything other than French? It’s as if Canadian law stops at the Quebec border.
All of this has been won by being the perpetual squeaky wheel. Consider what might be gained if Ottawa seriously considered Western independence a very real possibility? What concessions would be made? How would things change?
The elites that govern us in Ottawa know full well that if they regularly give out tokens of their “appreciation” for the West, Westerners will blindly follow and smile as the riches of our lands are controlled by eastern elites for the benefit of everyone but us. It’s the old shell game. The trickster lets you win once so there is hope you’ll win again. But we all know how that works. If a referendum on independence were held in the West and we lost by .5% what would be the outcome?
There are different ways to win. And only by looking at the long term can we expect to gain the level of autonomy we all desire.