To begin with, I would like to say that I am not a confrontational person, nor am I hard to get along with. This may seem counter-intuitive towards what my topic of choice is, considering it involves Montreal's complete separation from Quebec. Throughout my life the whole political aspirations of Quebec have affected, which is why I am advocating for Montreal and the Greater-Montreal areas to the border of Ontario to separate from Quebec, becoming the 11th province in Canada. Why this strikes home to me so much is because of how the Quebec separation attempts have affect me and my family, as well as many other people I know. But for the sake of the autobiography, I'll just stick to me.

When I was five-years old, I had my first taste of what sovereignty was and how it affects the population. My family and I were living on the South Shore, my father and mother both working in downtown Montreal. The neighbourhood we lived in was primarily Francophone (a word invented in Quebec to identify the French-speaking population; other created words include Anglophone (English) and Allophone (neither)) but we all got by with our basic French. One of my sisters spoke more French than English, something she had a hard time with later on. In 1993, there was a huge debate about separation and sovereignty, as the PQ government pushed the idea heavily. With all this fear, companies and the population were afraid of what would happen. This is where it affected me, as the company my father worked for was afraid of separation, and being a predominately English company he was transferred to their head office in Toronto. As you could imagine, at the time I knew nothing of why we were moving, only that my life was going through a change that I did not want to go through.

It was easy to adjust, as it normally is when you are younger; I started school, made friends, and grew up in a happy home. My family had similar experiences, as life was slightly easier without the stigma of sovereignty and language separation. It was only later on in life when I returned to Quebec did I begin understanding the sovereignty idea.

After 1995, there wasn't much talk about separation once the PQ was narrowly defeated. Parizeau resigned as political leader, and it wasn't until some woman by the name of Pauline Marois decided to advocate again for a sovereign Quebec. Around this time I was beginning at Concordia University, and teamed with the political tactics played by Ms. Marois came many of the same fears as in the previous two referendums, one of which I was a part of and affected by. This time, however, I was in my twenties and could better understand the implications of a "free" Quebec. The pressure that Marois exerted on the population created a time of anxiety in Quebec that no longer only affected language, but also races and religions.

This prompted people to start taking videos and pictures of occurrences that they deemed ignorant, racist, or Zionist. The outpour of public images depicting these characteristics was staggering at the time. People were disgracing Canadian flags and verbally and physically harassing people in the street while trying create their new country. I dealt with this personally at my job, where on multiple occasions did French-speaking clients remark and complain about my English accent, leading to a few times when the incident became a verbal fight between us. I had heard many times that because it was Quebec, I should not be talking to my co-workers in English while on the job. This is what prompted me to start taking an interest in politics.

When living in Ontario I noticed quite a few things that were different when compared to Quebec, good and bad. Firstly, and most obviously, no second language. Without the need for bilingualism, practically everyone could understand everyone (although bilingualism itself is not a bad thing, but it's not properly enforced in Quebec); there were no confusing signs, no changed names of companies (yes Shoppers Drug Mart/ Pharmaprix, I am looking at you), and no one struggling at cashes trying to figure out what cinquant-cinq was in English. It was easier to communicate, plain and simple.

Secondly, the social aspect was different. People tended to keep to themselves more, were more relaxed, but did have a superiority and racial complex about them in Ontario. In fact, if you were not in the "cool group" it was tougher to make friends, as well as colour issues always seemed more stereotypical (such as crime being committed more by a foreigner or black man than a white person). In Quebec, with a wider variety of immigration, people were (normally) more understanding of different cultures.

Thirdly, the political landscape was for the betterment of not only Ontario, but Canada as a nation. There were no tensions between French and English. There were no protests or rallies to make Ontario its own country, nor were there higher separations of state and nation laws and taxes as there are here. It is sickening to think that when one becomes a certain professional (teachers, social workers, doctors, and the list continues) one can make nearly double there than here, and still be subjected to an overall lower tax on their income. Overall, and knowing what I know now, I have always wanted to go back there and live happily as I did when I was younger.

I am advocating for a "free" Montreal, in the same sense that separatists wanted a "free" Quebec. I believe that we can become a province that shares ties to both Canada and the rest of the world on a political, social, and ecomonic footing. We wouldn't be the smallest province, as P.E.I. takes that spot, but we would follow in New Brunswick's footsteps and become only the second officially bilingual province. Equal importance would be placed on both languages, so people can do business in both languages and be happy in both languages. Immigration wouldn't emphasize the importance of French-speaking, nor would it mainly accept French speakers over other language-based immigrants. These are just some of the factors that I plan to implement and explore throughout my time in this class.

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