The wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia, with its own language and culture, held a referendum on Oct. 1 on independence, in defiance of the Spanish constitutional court which had ruled the vote illegal. Immediately upon opening Spanish police descended on many polling stations and violently tried to close them down. The Spanish government, which has no provisions for such a referendum on secession, has now used article 155 of the Spanish constitution that permits the Prime Minister to sack the regional government and call for new elections. The future for Catalans may look promising to them but in reality they will suffer at the hands of “Mother Espania” before independence ever becomes a reality. It promises to be a messy affair.
But what does this say to Canada? Canadians have lived through several attempts at Quebec Independence, one of which came very close indeed. In fact, in view of the subsequent scandals that led to Liberal demise on the federal level would seem to point to a separatist victory had Chretien’s Liberals not cheated. The near loss of the country prompted the Liberals to create the Clarity Act, a piece of legislation specifically geared at giving Ottawa a definite advantage with any attempts at secession in the future. It appears that Canada could only be held together by chicanery and loaded legislation.
The West has been fooled into confederation through the use of promises, force, hopes of “change” and a steady indoctrination of how good it is that we’re all together in Canada. But are we? 150 years of underhanded treatment of the West by successive Prime Ministers from MacDonald to Trudeau masked by platitudes and insinuations that if one didn’t toe the Ottawa line and just smile, salute the flag and carry on, one must be “divisive” or even worse, un-Canadian. This has largely worked because no one wants an interruption of their daily lives for something so dangerous as independence and the right to govern ourselves. We live in a selfish society and as long as tidbits are handed out when Westerners get too uppity, the West tends to forgive and forget.
Not so much anymore.
What would a referendum, by province, mean if successful? Not too much in the short term. Markets might fluctuate but free enterprise being what it is, it would recover pretty quickly. There would be shockwaves in Ottawa. In the 1995 Quebec Referendum the Liberal government used public funds to bus thousands in to stage a tremendous show of affection in downtown Montreal. Where this display of “genuine” affection is now is anyone’s guess. Unlike Spain, Canada has a mechanism for provincial referendums on sovereignty and Quebec’s declaration that sovereignty can arbitrarily be declared by the Quebec government upon the winning of a referendum gives a precedence of sorts. And with the long tradition of a desire for independence by Quebec, Canada is not likely to adopt the same stance as Spain.
Yes, there would be animosity from eastern Canadians and perhaps Canada would impose some sort of punishment on the wayward children but that too would only be temporary. Once negotiations begin and reality sets in it would become business as usual between two countries much like Canada and the US. It is never wise to pay head to fear mongers. Those that do never accomplish anything more than the status quo and this would please eastern elites, American billionaires and Saudi princes immensely.
We are in a new era, one with unlimited opportunity for an independent West. Ottawa and eastern Canada has proven time and again that it cares very little for the West and its people beyond being a source of capital. We can go our own way, it can be done, we have the infrastructure, the talent, work ethics and drive to be successful.
It is time.