Rejection of Sovereignty in Quebec

By  Mario Melidona


Screen shot 2021-05-30 at 11.09.01 AM.pngWhat an election Canada had on May 2nd, 2011. We saw two political parties crumble before our very eyes; the re-instatement of our Conservative government with a majority and the decimation of the, often referred as "sovereign political party" in the Bloc Quebecois". Based on the 2011 Federal Elections of Canada, the majority of Québec voters have rejected ideals of sovereignty by the Bloc Quebecois in favor of more cohesive participation in federal politics. What is also being called a "political earthquake" by many all across Canada is the sweeping power of the NDP (New Democratic Party) almost entirely replacing the Bloc Quebecois and what is being held as the "death of the Sovereign movement in Québec". These changes are nationally important to see in detail because these political shifts state the intentions of the voting public.

Image source: Flickr.


One can understand the perspective of political leaders in Québec having a sovereign stance to gain the independence of their land, but Canadians (those in Montreal and outside of Québec) aren't out to get the French population. We're seeking an integration of bilingual laws, in the province of Quebec, because it's beneficial to everyone. Once you start limiting accessibility to language, one tends to alienate those around you. For example, many tourists avoid Quebec because of its French language laws forcing signage to be in French. Having a bilingual stance (both French and English) would open up tourism to countries that are predominantly English speaking. A culprit of this problem stems from Bill 101, where publicly funded institutions should be oriented around (and only towards) the French language. This law would be a bastardization of culture in Montreal (and most likely those in Quebec) that limits exposure from the USA, our most prominent economic and culture partner. What's also important is that parents wish their children can learn both French and English because  the more accessible a language is can only benefit their exposure to travel, live and work in foreign countries. What Bill 101 does is limit the population to French based countries and strains ties with English-dominant speaking countries. This is not an ideal many want represented in politics.


Many voters have made it prominent that they no longer see the subject of sovereignty serves them purpose on the federal level of politics. This was seen by Quebec's voting public making drastic changes by reducing the Bloc Quebecois' seats to just a handful (from a prominent 40 plus seats). This decision to vote for the NDP (now Canada's official opposition party) instead of the Bloc sends the message that those ideals of an independent Quebec are long behind us. The consequences of this act have been numerous and, as some may argue, beneficial. Based on federal election results, there's major debate on whether the Bloc Quebecois can be stripped of its status as an official political party at the federal level. There (possibly) ends the sovereign's ideals of Québec on the national level of politics in Canada. Giles Duceppe, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, has been reduced to a punch line at this year's federal elections. His stances have long been repetitive and re-used at many of the recent past federal elections showcasing no new progress or changes. An ideology growing stagnant and losing momentum, the party was often regarded to provide interesting sound bites and nothing else.


During the leaders' debate, Duceppe stated many idioms that trended on Twitter and published in newspapers, they all but reduced his intentions as laughable and degrading as the public representative of his party's sovereign ideals. Duceppe even quit his job as leader of the Bloc Quebecois during his cessation speech as the federal elections came to a close because, the vision they wanted as no longer what the people of Québec wanted. This vision would render Québec's involvement with federal politics inconsequential and would make demands no Prime Minister would ever grant. Instead, we voted for the NDP in hope that they would bring our ideals to Parliament and represent our current ideals of preserving our unique culture in Québec, provide an increase in jobs, stabilize our economy and keep providing public funding towards our public institutions in schools, hospitals and public spaces. Sweeping our (hopeful) message of change, the NDP represented the change we think is necessary. It quickly alarmed and alerted our federal government, now a conservative majority, that we want change and that we'll be expecting it, that sovereign ideals are no longer a topic of discussion and no longer our political crutch.


What's my message? Is it that we need to rid ourselves of the Bloc Quebecois and their sovereign ideals? Well, yes and no. It's great that we don't wish to be muddled by the rest of Canada's vision of culture and legislation because; we wish to protect our values and political importance. In Quebec, Montreal has a great French and English culture, of festivities and camaraderie that seems to make everyone living here content, but it seems that Montreal and Quebec don't want to co-exist. Connect these two sentences in terms of logical flow. For example, this might work as a transition: This political atmosphere is changing. Quebec has all but unanimously said to the Bloc Quebecois (and indirectly to the Parti Quebecois on the provincial level) to stop with the "Sovereignty" and begin with a vision of Quebec politics working as part of Canada's Parliament.

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