The Disadvantages of Quebec Separation on Both Quebec and Canada
Quebec is one of Canada’s French-speaking provinces, and it has an impressive role in Canada’s trade and business. The first referendum was held in 1980 proposing that Quebec be independent. The referendum context was to have a new economic and political partnership separate from the rest of Canada. Although, the first referendum was rejected, in 1995, the second referendum which had the same material as the previous referendum held and was rejected again. Two years after second referendum, “the Supreme Court declared Quebec didn’t have the right in law to be independent but if they wanted to do so, Canada would have to negotiate in good faith” ( Keating, 2005). The separation movement of Quebec has an impact on both Quebec and Canada such as social system, economic performance, and military forces.
The economic performance which is one of the fundamental part of Canada and Quebec would affected if Quebec became separate. According to OECD, Canada is one of the best seventh country in economic performance and this is because of unified business of all provinces. Another study shows that “The Report on Bilingualism and Biculturalism of the Royal Commission found noticeable income disparities across all provinces, including Quebec, between British and French Canadians. Those of British origin have always earned higher average incomes […]” (Taucar, 2004, p. 63).
In case of economic separation, custom union was affected. According to the Canadian encyclopedia (2014), “Customs union (free trade) is the general agreement on tariffs and trade between countries.” The existing Canadian customs union has developed in many years because of regional and provincial economies. The existing Canadian customs union has developed in many years because of regional and provincial economies. If Quebec separated, Canada lost access to customs and industrial resources located in Quebec. Therefore, according to the institution of Fraser, ‘Canada must be responsible for all the customs of trading.’ For example, one of Canada’s major economic activities is the fur trade, and in this case, Montreal is the most important center of this trade. If Quebec separated, Canada lost one of the fundamental trade that transformed Canada into an industrialized country. For example, according to Fraser Institute (2000), “In a Canada without Quebec, Western Canada would be more influential in determining national trade policy, which traditionally supports free trade and criticizes how resource industries are treated. In support of manufacturing, Quebec’s departure would break the Ontario Quebec axis.” On the other hand, Quebec loses trade opportunities as defined by Canada, for example, Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement would not automatically apply to Quebec, so it would no longer be part of NAFTA and would have to pay heavy duties on its import and export goods and would have to negotiate its own agreement. In addition many countries may not be interested in entering new partnership with Quebec; as result Quebec become isolated. Because of this reason, it would increase the merchandise prices to solve the problems, but because of the availability of cheaper goods, Quebec would lose the trade ability.
Another reason for Quebec becoming isolated was the disappearance of monetary union between Quebec and the federal government of Canada. According to global news (2014), ‘the Canadian dollar can only run with the Canadian government and Canadian banks, so there is no grant that Quebec may or may not remain in this agreement.’ The bank of Canada has also gained confidence in the international financial community’s stability of the Canadian dollar; however, Quebec should try to gain its own monetary stability. The only way to reach its own confidence is to choose one of Canadian or American dollars. As consequence of that, Quebec can never become independence financially.
The second impairment resulting from Quebec separation on both Canada and Quebec is a disturbance in the Canadian Forces (CF). If Quebec separates, many Francophone face difficulties in choosing between their own new country and the Canadian military. “Francophone is about 28 percent of Canada’s military’ (National Post, 2012) and basically, if they chose Quebec, Canada lost the intelligent and skilled members. Canada would also lose access to the military bases located in Quebec. On the other hand, if Quebec separated, Canada would relocate its CF equipment; therefore, according to National Post (2012), “Quebec would lose its military forces and become vulnerable.”
Finally, the third reason is social system disadvantages. “Perhaps, the greatest challenge facing the survival of the French language and the flourishing of francophone Quebec society was Anglophone dominance of the business world.” (Griffin, 1984, p. 72). From both an economic and a social perspective, it is necessary to have jobs and income for survival and quality of life. The quality of life depends also on the ability to work in one’s own language. A predominance of English in the business world and the need and desirability of learning English would also have led to a significant percentage of Francophone change their language to English. Also, allophones try to assimilate them to English instead to French. Another reason is, if Quebec separated, become isolated due to most immigrants, as mentioned before, attempt to assimilate to English which is a dominant language in business. Therefore, they are not in favor to settle in Quebec which it has French as dominant language. As consequence, the immigrants rate fall down dramatically and as might be expected the birth rate decrease as well. Moreover, half of Quebec’s population is contain aboriginals, who would not be in favor of Quebec separation. The aboriginal leader also stated that ‘Let us be even more clear: Quebec can decide what it wants in terms of its culture, its identity and its development, but it cannot claim sovereignty over a territory which is still, fundamentally, First Nation.’ (CBC News, 2014)
On the other hand, Canada, would face the same problems as Quebec. Canada is one of the world’s bilingual countries, and although Quebec is the only province with French as an official language, it plays an important role in making Canada the first bilingual country. Therefore, if Quebec separated, Canada would lose that position. In addition, there would be a significant decrease in population size. Canada would also lose a specific part of its borders.
In conclusion, as a result of the Quebec’s separation, both Canada and Quebec face numerous difficulties. In the longer term, however, Quebec faces more difficulties in economic performance, military powers, and social systems than the rest of Canada. In particular, Quebec is more dependent on Canada in economic issues, according to Fraser institute “26.5 percent of Quebec’s manufacturers’ shipments went to the rest of the Canada in 1984, compared to only 6.8 percent of the rest of Canada’s shipments went to Quebec.” Moreover, it is impossible to prevent a decline in the economy without a social union. Otherwise, the military forces of Canada become weak without the skillful Francophone members.
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