While it’s an event that happened outside of Cumberland County, many residents here and across the country are probably breathing a collective sigh of relief knowing that the instability that always comes along with the debate about Quebec’s place in Canada will be on the shelf for at least another four years.
On Monday, voters in Quebec overwhelmingly rejected any thought of holding a third referendum on the province’s future in the country when they gave a significant majority government win to the Liberals – just 18 months after they were turfed from power amid claims of corruption and incompetence.
When PQ Premier Pauline Marois called the provincial election several weeks ago, it appeared as though her party would cruise to a majority government. Her party was popular and the electorate did not appear ready to forgive the legacy of Phillipe Couillard’s Liberal Party.
Unfortunately for Marois, her party’s controversial values charter and renewed talk on the next referendum – not to mention media baron Pierre Karl Peladeau’s raised fist and bellicose stance on separation – soured Quebecers, who quickly turned to a party many thought would be left in the political wilderness.
Quebecers are not unlike Canadians in many ways. Sure their language and culture sets them aside as a distinct society, but most are more worried about their jobs, their families and their communities than they are about entering into any constitutional debate about the future of their province within the Canadian federation. It’s not a debate they want to engage in at this moment.
Saying that, it will be imperative for the rest of Canada to avoid the urge to gloat over the PQ disaster because the sparks of Quebec nationalism are still simmering under the surface waiting for the right moment to ignite.
Thankfully, we won’t have a return to 1995 when the instability caused by Quebec’s referendum – and the resulting close call at the ballot box - affected the economy, not to mention the national spirit of togetherness.